The adult heartworms – which can occupy the heart, lungs, and blood vessels – are killed with an adulticide. Melarsomine dihydrochloride, an arsenic-based poison, is sold under the name Immiticide. For the treatment, dogs are given a series of three injections of Immiticide, administered by a veterinarian. It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the .
Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. Heartworm disease is usually diagnosed with a simple blood test. There are two main tests for detecting heartworm infection; one test detects adult worms and the other detects microfilariae. Testing for Adult Worms: The American Heartworm Society recommends using the Heartworm Antigen Test as the primary method of testing for adult heartworm infection. This .
Heartworms are a type of parasite that invade the heart and surrounding large blood vessels. These worms are microscopic during the phase of their lifecycle when they are transmitted by mosquitoes, but can grow up to 14 inches long in your pet’s body, causing major impairment of heart function and even death. Fully mature adults at months after infection reach lengths of cm ( in) for males and cm ( in) for females. Canine hosts typically demonstrate microfilaremia 6 to 7 months after infection. Heartworms live approximately 5 to 7 years in the dog.