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Heartworms in Dogs

Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) are nematodes (roundworms) that are spread by mosquitoes, which act as the intermediate host. Heartworms are most commonly seen in dogs but can also infect cats, ferrets and in rare cases, humans.

As mosquitoes are not a major nuisance in the UK, the frequency of reported cases is lower than other countries such as the USA.

The heartworm is a small parasitic thread-like roundworm. The name "heartworm" comes from the worm’s behaviour; during the adult stage of its lifecycle the worm lives in the dog’s heart where it can survive for many years. Symptoms of heartworms in dogs may take 6 months to many years to develop and include coughing, weight loss, loss of breath and fatigue.

Veterinary professionals can perform a blood test or x-ray to evaluate worm burden and the extent of respiratory damage in infected dogs. Preventative treatment is available on prescription from you veterinary professional, treatments include topical applications such as Advantage and oral treatments such as Milbemax. Preventative drugs are considered as highly effective when used regularly.

Should you be concerned that your dog may be infected with heartworms, do not hesitate in seeking veterinary advice.

Before administering any product, please ensure you always read the pack information and any additional leaflet provided. If in doubt, consult a veterinary professional before using the product.

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