Heartworm disease is affecting more dogs and cats in more parts of the country than ever, in part due to the long-distance transport of shelter animals. Here’s what you need to know to educate your veterinary clients.
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 [email protected] or call 319-231-6129. All other inquiries, please email: [email protected]
News & Alerts
By Dr. Ken McMillan
DTN Contributing Editor
I give my dog heartworm preventive every month, but my vet told me he's seen cases where consistently-treated dogs still develop heartworms. How is this possible? I've been told we are to use this preventive every month of the year, but I wonder if that can actually cause resistance in these worms? Using antibiotics too often can create resistant bacteria, so why doesn't heartworm preventive do the same thing? Please explain the difference.
SAN MARCOS, Texas -- While mosquito bites may be a nuisance to us, one bite could potentially be a death sentence for dogs if they become infected with heartworms and go untreated.
- More dogs get heartworms in spring, summer
- Higher abundance of mosquitoes
- Treatment costs a lot of money
The spring and summer months in Texas bring a higher intake of heartworm-positive dogs to area shelters due to the amount of mosquitoes transmitting the disease.
SAN FRANCISCO – As if this year's storms, floods and heat waves weren't enough to worry you, some experts fear climate change is also expanding the distribution of diseases that can sicken or even kill dogs, putting more pets at risk for diseases their owners have never had to deal with before.
Southern New Mexico is facing more insecticide-resistant mosquitoes, and epidemiologist Michael Landen with the state Department of Health recently warned, "with climate change, New Mexico will increasingly be seeing mosquito-borne disease."
Heartworm is a nasty, potentially fatal disease caused by parasitic worms living in an animal’s heart and blood vessels. It’s a bad deal. Fortunately, Banfield Pet Hospital’s 2016 State of Pet Health Report found a 33.1 percent decline in the number of confirmed heartworm cases in their hospitals between 2011 and 2016. Woo! This trend has a lot to do with proactive prevention on the part of pet owners. Here are three simple things you can do to protect your dog from this horrible disease.
All 50 states have had confirmed cases of heartworm since the disease’s discovery back in 1856. However, since mosquitoes are responsible for transferring the parasite from dog to dog, some areas do pose a higher risk than others.
According to the American Heartworm Society, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Tennessee are the top five worst states when it comes to heartworm diagnosis, in that order. In fact, in a 2016 AHS Incidence Survey, 10 percent of canines in Mississippi tested positive for the parasite. That’s…a lot.
FARMINGTON — Local animal shelters are reporting a high number of heartworm cases this year, but in Farmington the rise was traced to a group of dogs that came from another state.
Aztec Animal Shelter Director Tina Roper said five dogs at her shelter have tested positive for heartworm this year.
"It's a little high," she said. "We don't usually see this many so soon."
Farmington Regional Animal Shelter currently has nine heartworm positive dogs and recently had one adopted.
“We usually have anywhere from two to four at a time,” Shelter Director Stacie Voss said.
All the drugs you need to fight heartworm are at your disposal. Now it’s time to educate and advocate.
Conscientious pet owners understand they must be on the lookout for a host of issues that can affect the health and well-being of their pets. One such issue is heartworm disease.
What is heartworm disease?