Heartworm Disease Kills Dogs and Cats, and It’s Preventable


with Dr. Michael Dryden

Veterinary parasitologist Dr. Michael Dryden of Kansas State University is bugged about mosquitoes, and explains that they transmit a disease called heartworm to dogs and cats. A half a million to a million dogs, he says, are getting heartworm disease. What’s totally sad about this is that heartworm is nearly 100 percent preventable. And the numbers of dogs and also cats infected by heartworm is on the rise. One reason is apparently more heartworm disease, combined with the other reason – that pet owners aren’t protecting their pets.

Dryden says 12-inch worms in the pulmonary systems doesn’t sound good, and it’s not.

This is heartworm

In dogs heartworm is uncomfortable or worse, and is expensive to treat. Certainly prevention makes common sense.

Many more dogs get heartworm than cats. Still cats do get heartworm, and in cats heartworm is difficult to diagnose and near impossible to treat. Heartworm is the second most common explanation for sudden death in cats, and can lead to a chronic illness called heartworm associated respiratory disease or HARD, which is expensive to treat. Though HARD can be treated, the underlying heartworm disease in cats can’t be treated. Prevention, says Dryden, is the key word.

Learn more from the American Heartworm Society.

More on protecting dogs from heartworm.