Dirofilaria immitis is the basic cause of the heartworm disease, worm-like parasites that are better known as heartworms. The disease may occur in your pet dog or cat. It is a very severe disease. Heartworms interfere with the normal flow of the blood from the right side of the heart to the vessels serving the lungs. If left untreated, heartworm disease can reduce your pet's quality of life, cause congestive failure of the heart and other organs, and ultimately lead to death.
The life cycle of the heartworm.
The tiny immature heartworms are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. At frist, the parasite move into your pet's tissues, eventually they occupy the heart and blood stream. When other mosquitoes bite your pet they pick up these new immature worms and transmit them to the next dog or cat that they bite.
Your pet may become listless, tire easily after exercise, develop an occasional to persistent cough, and become anemic. In advanced cases, pets often suffer congestive heart failure, complcations may develop in the liver and kidneys. The blood supply to the lungs and other major organs may become blocked.
The treatment of heartworms is expensive. The best method is preventive medicine to prevent an infection. You should take your pet to a veterinarian for examination and recommendation for the proper preventative medicine.