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In the News

The American Heartworm Society is the leading resource on heartworm disease, and our mission is to lead the veterinary profession and the public in the understanding of this serious disease. Every year, hundreds of stories are written on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of heartworm, as well as on the plight of affected pets. These stories are an important way of reaching both veterinary professionals and pet owners with information they need to know about heartworm disease.

The American Heartworm Society is led by a board of directors comprised of veterinarians and specialists in the fields of veterinary parasitology and internalmedicine. As leaders in the fight against heartworm disease, they are available as resources and authors of related stories.

Members of the media are encouraged to contact the American Heartworm Society for information, visuals and interviews about heartworm disease. Please contact Sue O’Brien at This email is for media inquiries only. All other inquiries, please email:



News & Alerts

Dogs at higher risk of contracting heartworm disease from mosquitoes in OC, officials say

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (KABC) -- The chances of dogs catching heartworm disease in Orange County are going up thanks to the Aedes aegypti mosquito, officials say.

The pesky Aedes aegypti, more commonly known as the ankle biter, is behind more than the persistently itchy welts on our legs.

The Pandemic Effects on Heartworm Prevention

"At the beginning of spring 2020, many veterinarians saw a drop in wellness visits and heartworm preventive sales," says Kristine Smith, DVM, DACZM, verterinary medical lead (preventives) for Zoetis Petcare in the U.S. "They pivoted quickly to curbside care and, though it was not the same experience with clients in the room with their pets, they still saw patients and got them the care they needed."

The American Heartworm Society (AHS) even offered recommendations in April 2020 to help veterinary clinics navigate the push for minimal non-emergency visits alongside the need to keep pets protected from heartowrm disease and avoid lapses in prevention.

Capt. Ashley Butler (left) and Sgt. Hope Cruse Trevino of the Veterinary Treatment Facility perform a wellness exam on Heidi, a Swiss Mountain Dog puppy. VTF staff perform heartworm disease tests on dogs during annual visits like this. Even still, VTF staff said prevention is more valuable than treatment. Photo by Sam Campbell.

Veterinary Treatment Facility reminds pet owners of heartworm disease risks

Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal disease that mainly affects dogs, cats and ferrets. It is caused by the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis, which infects pets through the bite of an infected mosquito.

In dogs, once the heartworms mature, they travel to the heart, lungs and arteries, then mate and produce offspring, increasing the number of worms that the dog carries over time. These worms cause damage and scarring to these vital structures which can affect their overall health and the quality of life of the animal the longer they go untreated. If left untreated, the complications can eventually lead to heart failure, permanent lung damage and death.

Heartworm cases on the rise this time of year

Experts say prevention starts now

Heartworm can be turn into a deadly disease if not treated properly or soon enough. Thankfully, there are preventative measures you can take to lower the risk of heartworm in your pet.

It's this time of year when the Animal Birth Control Clinic in Waco sees an increase in cases.

Veterinarians need to stress year-round mosquito control

While heartworm is a serious and potentially deadly disease, it is, fortunately, also preventable and often treatable

While once considered a disease limited to the southern United States, heartworm infections have now been confirmed in all 50 states. Canines, both the pet dog and some wild canids like the coyote, fox, and wolf, are considered the definitive hosts. But this parasitic, potentially deadly roundworm in the genera Dirofilaria, can also infect cats, ferrets, and other mammal species, such as raccoons, bears, sea lions, and, in rare cases, humans.


Mosquito season is especially dangerous for pets. Here's how to keep them safe

Keeping your furry friend safe is especially key as a common pest starts to reappear along with the warmer weather. 

According to Orkin Pest Control, North Carolina's mosquito season begins in April and runs through October. Janet Raczkowski, a veterinarian at Adams Farm Animal Hospital in Greensboro, says mosquito season is especially dangerous for pets.

"Our incidence of heartworms is very high. It's over 92 or 93 percent, so if they're not receiving the preventative consistently, there is a very high risk they are going to get exposed to it," Raczkowski says because the condition can be caused by mosquito bites. 

PAWS AND PAGES: Heartworm Awareness Month

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month, providing the perfect opportunity to emphasize the value of heartworm disease detection and prevention within your pets.

Heartworm is a preventable, but serious and potentially fatal parasite that that lives inside the hearts of animals. Heartworm is primarily seen in dogs, cats and ferrets, but it can also infect a variety of wild animals, including foxes, coyotes, pumas, raccoons, opossums and many others.

Udy is about 6 years old and heartworm positive. Do you have room for Udy to hang out for the next two months? Call the Tehama County Animal Care Center at 527-3439 for more information. (Contributed)

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month

More than a million pets in the United States have heartworms. Let that sink in, because it is one of the most horrible statistics regarding our furry friends. Heartworm affects an animal’s health and quality of life long after the heartworms are gone. These creatures are heartless in what they do. The American Heartworm Society ( reports that, typically, most pet owners would not knowingly put their pet at risk to become infected with the deadly disease, but millions of these same owners fail to protect their pet from the infestation. For a disease that is easily prevented, there are no excuses.

Ruth Olsen and Smiles, a Humane Society resident who is being treated for heartworms

Prevention is better than the cure: April is heartworm awareness month

Ruth Olsen is the Operational Manager for the Sumter Humane Society. She provides a healthy home for the pets of Sumter County. As part of providing a healthy home, she wants the residents to know there is one simple act of kindness that could extend the life of a pet by 5 to 10 years. Ruth reports heartworms, primarily in dogs, have become an “epidemic.” A little over 25% of the dogs she meets are infected. Heartworms can cause a horrible death for a dog. It is Ruth’s hope if folks are aware of how simple prevention is, an investment can be made which will extend the quality of life for our animal friends. Local vet, Dr. Kyler Crawford, also agrees with Ruth, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Ruth and Kyler describe the effects of heartworms as being detrimental to both the animal and the folks who love them.

golden retriever

Heartworms and our Pets: What YOU need to know

Did you know? It’s National Heartworm Awareness Month: Indiana continues to rank high (top 12 ) for canine heartworm disease. Tom Dock, BSc, CVJ, Director of Communications Practice Manager, Noah’s at Wheaton, tells us what we need to look out for:

1) Heartworms are parasites that can live in our pets’ heart and/or lungs, can live for 5-7 years and are often up to a foot long in length!

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