It's summer and pet owners know what that means: it's heartworm season. Technically there isn't a special "season" for heartworms; they can infect pets throughout the year. Heartworms and their carriers thrive in warm and moist weather, so during the summertime infections tend to increase dramatically. A lot of pet owners know that they need to give their pets preventative heartworm treatment to protect their pets, but they don't know a lot about the parasites themselves. Knowing the facts about these common and potentially deadly parasites can help prevent future problems. Take some time to learn the facts about heartworms, and be sure to tell your pet loving friends what you learned so you can help them protect their pets.

The mosquito is the only known organism that can transmit heartworms.

Your cat won't get heartworms from nosing around the trash, and your puppy can't contract heartworms from walking in a dirty patch of ground. Your pets can only get heartworms if they're bit from an infected mosquito, or if they manage to ingest an infected mosquito. Your pets with heartworms won't be able to infect other animals, so you don't have to worry about keeping the separated from others. There's also virtually no way to be able to tell if a mosquito is infected or not, which is why many vets stressed the importance of preventative treatments.

Dogs have a higher infection rate than cats, but cats can still get infected with heartworms

Dogs are far more susceptible to heartworm infection than cats. It's estimated that 61%-90% of cats exposed to infective larvae contract heartworms, but almost 100% of all dogs exposed to infective larvae will get heartworm disease. Even though dogs are more susceptible than cats to heartworm infection, the consequences of the infection can still be very serious.  

Heartworms are best treated with preventative treatments
 
Heartworms have a very long life cycle. Once the larvae are in the host's body it can take 5-7 months for it to develop into an adult worm. After they mature they travel to the heart, lungs, and other vital organs and cause significant damage, and once owners start to notice the physical symptoms of heartworm infection the infestation is already in its advanced stages. Scores of heartworms could be in your pet's vital organs, and once they're lodged in them treatment gets much more difficult. Preventative treatments help stop the problem before it starts, and once the problem starts treatment options can become more expensive and the risk to your pet's well-being is greater.