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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

American Heartworm Society provides guidance on heartworm protocols during COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented disruptions in veterinary practices and animal shelters, making it challenging for many professionals to deliver wellness care, as well as certain medical treatments, to patients.

As veterinary practices and animal shelters strive to provide the best possible care for their patients, questions frequently arise about heartworm prevention, testing and treatment.

A Selective Summary of the 2019 Triennial Heartworm Symposium

Marisa Ames
DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)

The Heartworm Hotline column is presented in partnership between Today’s Veterinary Practice and the American Heartworm Society ( The goal of the column is to communicate practical and timely information on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heartworm disease, as well as highlight current topics related to heartworm research and findings in veterinary medicine.

Heartworm disease prevalence, pathology, and management protocols headlined the 16th American Heartworm Society (AHS) Triennial Symposium, held September 8-11, 2019, in New Orleans. Given the challenges heartworm disease continues to present to the veterinary profession, discovering new strategies for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment is vital to reducing its impact.

An unprecedented 62 speakers and poster presenters were featured in the symposium, focusing on topics that included:

  • Heartworm vectors and transmission
  • Heartworm prevention
  • Heartworm pathology
  • Heartworm diagnosis
  • Wolbachia and heartworm treatment protocols
  • Following are brief, question-and-answer summaries of presentations on these topics at the 2019 symposium.

These abstracts were published in the proceedings of the 16th Triennial Symposium: Understanding Heartworm Disease: From Science to Solutions, available to American Heartworm Society members at Several abstracts have been published (see Published Abstracts). Many of these abstracts will appear in an upcoming special edition of Parasites and Vectors.

Practical Advice About Heartworm Preventive Lapses

The Heartworm Hotline column is presented in partnership between Today’s Veterinary Practice and the American Heartworm Society ( The goal of the column is to communicate practical and timely information on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heartworm disease, as well as highlight current topics related to heartworm research and findings in veterinary medicine.

Better heartworm data? AHS needs you

Every three years, the American Heartworm Society (AHS) releases new data on the incidence of the parasite’s dreaded disease in pets. And right now is when the organization is asking for your help to get the best sample size to analyze.

Veterinarians now have the opportunity to submit their clinics’ data for the 2019 AHS Heartworm Incidence Survey. Options include filling out a printed survey that was mailed to veterinarians in late January (the completed survey can be scanned and emailed to the AHS) or simply completing the survey at The deadline to submit survey data is Feb. 29, 2020.

luismolinero /

Facing the hard truth: You can’t please all of your clients

When the going gets tough, stick to the basics of good communication and kindness to help improve the bond between you and those difficult clients.

By Shana Bohac, DVM

Have you ever walked out of an exam room and wanted to bang your head against a wall? (Hand raise, right here!). Stubborn clients, whiners, complainers and those who think they know more than you are by among the most frustrating issues veterinary teams deal with on a daily basis. Can I get an amen?

But know this: You will never make everyone happy. I repeat, you will never make everyone happy. (I’m repeating this for myself, too!)

Buy the dozen

Persuading clients to purchase a 12-month supply of preventives gets easier if you explain the benefits well and price your products competitively.


Do you get frustrated when trying to convince clients that flea, tick and heartworm prevention is not just a seasonal issue? We know that pet owners need to give preventives year-round to maintain efficacy and ensure pet health. But clients still walk out the door without purchasing products. Or they buy one to six doses and neglect to come back when they run out.

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 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.

Get a handle on heartworm disease

Having a solid understanding of the heartworm life cycle—and the damage this disease can do—is the first step in getting pet owners on the right track with treatment.

Heartworm hotspots: When pet travel is the trouble

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.

Ask the Vet Heartworms a Year-Round Danger

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.

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