Heartworm infection (dirofilariosis) is a serious and potentially fatal disease in dogs, and to a lesser extent (approx. ten-times) in cats. It is caused by the larval and adult life stages of the nematode Dirofilaria immitis. The American Heartworm Society (AHS) publishes and regularly updates guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis, and management of canine (and feline) heartworm infection, which have been taken as a reference herein.
Humans are not ideal hosts for heartworm, but infection diagnosed by serology does occur commonly in areas where heartworm is endemic.
Treatment and Prevention
Situation in Cats
References & Further Reading
The nematode Dirofilaria immitis, commonly called heartworm, is an important canine and to a lesser extent feline endoparasite. It is classified as a member of the suborder Spirurida and within that of the family Onchocercidae. The main representative of the genus Dirofilaria is Dirofilaria immitis, but another closely related Dirofilaria species, Dirofilaria repens, is also known to infect dogs and cats (subcutaneous dirofilariosis).
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