Midges spread the larvas of the heartworm and the evolved parasites can be even 15-centimetre-long and overrun the lungs, the heart and the veins. The infection is more and more frequent, and the later it is spotted the lower chance the dogs have to survive the disease.
According to 24.hu, thanks to the warmer climate of Hungary more midges and ticks can survive the winter and are starting to multiply in spring. Furthermore, more species indigenous to more temperate climates occur in Hungary that spread diseases so far known only from the newspapers. Midges are responsible for the spread of the West Nile fever while ticks distribute the Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever. Not only humans are in danger but also the animals living together with us.
one of the new, insidious parasites is a heartworm
that produces symptoms only at a later phase of the infection when the animal is already in critical condition. Midges spread the larvas of the parasites and 24.hu asked Dr Krisztián Olaszy, a heartworm specialist in the veterinary polyclinic of Rákosliget, about the disease.
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The name of the worm is Dirofilaria immitis which is indigenous in the Mediterranean parts of Europe but from 2010 on more moved to Hungary because of the warming climate of the country. As a result, Mr Olaszy said that until this May they treated as many animals with heartworm disease as they did in 2019. The evolved parasites live in the huge veins of the lungs where they keep wandering until they reach their final form. Moreover,
they can multiply in the lungs
so midges can transmit their larvas to another dog.
If they are big enough, they can baulk the flow of the blood, or they can reach even the heart of the animals. Interestingly, the parasite cannot be detected after the bite of the midge for 6-8 months. Symptoms like coughing or being tired are tough to spot, but in the first two phases of the disease, there is a very good chance for recovery. Of course, recuperation is not hopeless even in the third or fourth phases, but chances are significantly lower. However, the expert said that
prevention is essential
because that is how other dogs can be saved, as well.
Furthermore, prevention costs only thousands of HUF while the treatment bill for an already ill dog can reach hundreds of thousands of HUF. The heartworm is not dangerous to us but a close relative of it, the Dirofilaria repens can cause unpleasant symptoms even in humans. The bad news is that the Korean midge spreading unstoppably in Hungary spreads it.