How cats get heartworm

Infection occurs when a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites a cat. The larvae enter through the bite and then develop in the tissues.

The immature worms enter a blood vessel and are carried to the arteries in the lung where they cause an inflammatory reaction.

Most worms die at this stage, causing additional inflammation. The worms that progress to the adult stage may live undetected for a couple of years. But, when the adult worms die, the inflammation can be severe enough to cause death.

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