Nevertheless, one of the most important takeaways for veterinarians is that no state is heartworm-free. Heartworms can move into new areas when reservoirs of infection are present and heartworms can be transmitted wherever environmental conditions make it possible for mosquitoes that carry heartworms to survive and breed. That’s why it’s important for veterinarians to conduct routine testing for heartworms, educate clients about the importance of heartworm prevention, and treat heartworm-positive dogs.
Q. Was there any hopeful news from the survey?
A. We did see a decrease heartworm cases in some parts of the country—in particular in the West and Southwest. While droughts are never welcome, dry conditions in these areas likely contributed to decreases in mosquito populations, limiting heartworm disease transmission. There’s hope. Veterinarians and pet owners have the power to change the trajectory of
heartworm disease. We have more heartworm preventives for pets than we did three years ago and these products are highly effective. If we can convince clients to use prevention year-round and on time, we could see a very different map three years from now