All About Pets: Hot, rainy weather just right for heartworms

The recent rains and storms can give rise to a big surge in the mosquito population that could result in a big threat to our pets: heartworm infection. Heartworms are the common name of Dirofilaria immitis, 12-inch long worms that dwell inside the heart chambers and lungs of affected animals. Although the disease is most prevalent in the hot southeastern parts of the U.S., there have been cases all the way north of the Great Lakes. An incidence map denoting the areas where this infection is most prevalent can be seen at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/veterinary-resources/incidence-maps. Unsurprisingly, Florida is heartworm heaven and there’s a widespread infection that includes not just dogs as victims but cats, foxes, coyotes, ferrets, and other mammals.