What is heartworm?
Heartworm is a severe, often fatal, disease spread from host-to-host by mosquito bites. It can affect dogs, cats and foxes. In Western Europe, heartworm is particularly prevalent in southern France, Spain, Italy and the Mediterranean.
Symptoms take many months to several years to develop and include a cough, lethargy, weight loss and loss of condition.
What causes heartworm?
Heartworm is caused by a parasitic roundworm called Dirofilaria immitis which is spread from dog to dog by mosquito bites. The parasite travels through the bloodstream and in the final stages of its lifecycle, resides in the heart of its host. The parasite can kill its host through congestive heart failure.
Unfortunately, treatment is often costly and complex, so preventative measures are advisable if you're travelling abroad with your pet. For further information, contact your vet.
A variety of preventative treatments are available to help avoid mosquito bites and eradicate heartworm. For further advice and information, contact your vet.