Heartworm disease is a very serious and potentially fatal disease in our pet dogs here in Cayman
Heartworm is caused by a blood borne parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Both dogs and cats can get the disease. As mosquitoes enjoy a consistently warm environment here in Cayman, this means our pets are susceptible to the disease at anytime throughout the year.
When an infected mosquito bites a dog they pass on the infection and the heartworm lifecycle begins. Larvae start circulating in the dog’s bloodstream and after going through some life stages they eventually settle in the heart and adjacent large blood vessels (pulmonary system) where they grow to maturity and within two to three months start reproducing and thereby completing the full lifecycle. Adult worms clog the major blood vessels and eventually lead to irreversible damage to the heart and lungs.
Most dogs infected with Heartworms do not show any signs of the disease for up to two years and may prove fatal if left untreated.
Presence of Heartworm is easily detected by a simple blood test that can be performed by your local Veterinarian. Treatment for Heartworm is available but is very costly and your pet may have suffered significant damage to their heart and lungs so it is strongly advised to prevent the infection. If a preventative is not given, it is inevitable your pet will get the disease.
The Heartworm preventatives available today are extremely effective if used consistently and at the correct dose for your pet’s current weight. The most widely available preventative available on Island is Heartgard. This tasty, chewy tablet administered every month will prevent the development of Heartworm in your pet’s bloodstream even if they are bitten by an infected mosquito.
Don’t delay and start prevention today!