Course For Veterinarians In Puerto Vallarta

Pets and Vets
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A Course and Workshop for the Challenge in Diagnosis and Treatment

On June 7 at 7 PM, a Course and Workshop for veterinarians will take place at UMA, focusing on two crucial topics: "The Immunology of Vaccination and Heartworm Disease." These two topics represent a challenge in the diagnosis and treatment of animals.

The immunology of vaccination is a crucial field within medicine and biology that focuses on how the immune system responds to vaccines. Vaccines work by introducing weakened, inactivated pathogens or fragments of them (such as proteins or inactivated toxins) into the body, allowing the immune system to recognize and remember the pathogen without causing the disease. This process of "teaching" the immune system is vital for the prevention of infectious diseases.

Heartworm disease (dirofilariosis) is a parasitic disease caused by the nematode Dirofilaria immitis, commonly known as "heartworm." This disease primarily affects dogs, cats, and other mammals but can occasionally infect humans. The parasite is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes, making its prevalence closely linked to the presence of these vectors.

The lifecycle of Dirofilaria immitis begins when a mosquito bites an infected animal, ingesting microfilariae (first-stage larvae) present in the blood. Within the mosquito, these microfilariae develop into infective larvae (L3) in approximately 10 to 14 days, depending on environmental conditions. When the mosquito bites a new host, the L3 larvae are transferred and begin their migration towards the heart and the large pulmonary blood vessels. In the host, the L3 larvae mature into adults over a period of 6 to 7 months. Adult worms can live for several years and reach lengths of up to 30 cm. In the heart and lungs, adult worms can cause significant damage, including inflammation, blood vessel obstruction, and heart failure. Clinical symptoms in dogs include coughing, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and in severe cases, collapse and death.

Heartworm disease in cats is less common than in dogs but can be more severe due to cats' smaller lung capacity and greater inflammatory reaction. Infected cats may present symptoms such as coughing, vomiting, weight loss, and difficulty breathing. In some cases, the disease can be asymptomatic until an acute crisis occurs. Diagnosis of heartworm disease is performed by detecting Dirofilaria immitis antigens in the blood, as well as through imaging techniques such as X-rays and echocardiograms, which can reveal the presence of adult worms in the heart and lungs. Microfilariae can also be detected through microscopic blood tests, although their absence does not rule out infection, especially in cats.

Treatment of heartworm disease in dogs includes the administration of medications to kill adult worms, such as melarsomine, and adjunct treatments to control inflammation and prevent thromboembolic complications. Prevention is essential and is based on the use of monthly prophylactic medications that kill the larvae before they can mature into adults. These medications should be administered year-round in endemic areas. In cats, treatment is more complicated due to their greater sensitivity to medications used to kill adult worms. Therefore, prevention is even more crucial in cats, using prophylactic products similar to those used in dogs. Managing mosquito exposure through the use of repellents and environmental control measures is also an important part of heartworm disease prevention.

Heartworm disease is a serious condition that can have devastating consequences for affected animals. Prevention through prophylactic medications and mosquito control are the best strategies to protect pets. Awareness and education about this disease are essential to ensure that pet owners take the necessary steps to prevent this severe infection.

Be part of the immunology of vaccination and heartworm disease course-workshop for veterinarians. We look forward to seeing you this Friday at 7 PM in the UMA multi-purpose room. Don't miss it!