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MSettle78 posted:
My friend and I are both about 7 months pregnant . I have 2 dogs both are 3 & 4 and have been on heartworm Meds their whole life and get their yearly shots and are very well taken care of . She recently adopted a year old pitbull and she took him in to the vet to get his exam and found out he has had heartworms. Is this contagious to her and her baby ? Or me since ive been around the dog ? And do I have to now take my dogs to get checked again even though they have not once missed their monthly meds ?
Violets_are_Blue responded:
Heartworms are not contagious in the most common definition. Just being around the dogs does not mean you will contract heartworms. Heartworms are nematodes that are transported by mosquitoes. The mosquitoes suck the larval stage out of an infected dog and carry it and have a chance of injecting it when they find another host. Humans are very low on the list of contracting heartworms as the parasite does not find us as appealing as most canines. While it is not impossible, it is highly unlikely.

Heartworm preventatives do protect dogs from heartworms very well (topical is around 85-90%, oral is around 99%) and it is highly unlikely for them to contract it if they have been on medications every month year round. Taking them in now for a test is a waste of money as most tests look for an immune response present in the blood. This response does not appear until 4-6 months after an infection occurs as that is when the heartworms mature and begin to reproduce.

If you are concerned at all about your health, your child's health, your friend and her child, or your own pets still or something seems to be off about anything, do please contact your doctor or veterinarian.


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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