Heart worm disease. 
This is caused by a roundworm called Dirofilaria immitis. Heart worms are most commonly found in dogs although they can infect a wide variety of mammals including cats , ferrets, sea lions, bears, foxes, wolves, coyotes, cats and even humans. 
Adult heart worms live in the heart and major arteries of the lungs where they can be fatal. They are only transmitted from one animal to another by mosquitoes. Adult worms living in the heart and arteries of the lungs produce microfilariae (small immature heart worms) which are found circulating in the blood of the infected animal, usually a dog.
If a mosquito feeds on an infected dog with microfilariae in the blood, the mosquito will ingest some of these immature heart worms along with the blood meal. Inside the mosquito, the immature heart worms develop to a stage called the infective larval stage. When the mosquito feeds on another dog or a cat, some of these infective larvae will escape from the mosquito during the blood meal. The larvae pass through the animal’s skin through the bite wound left by the mosquito. Once the infected larvae have entered an animal, they will begin migrating through the tissues. They eventually make their way to the heart and lungs where they will mature and begin producing microfilariae.
Check with your vet whether the disease is prevalent in your area and, if so, it is well worth the investment to treat your pet with heart worm tablets from him.

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