What Is or Are Heartworms?

Heartworms are just that, worms, that affect the heart. They also happen to affect the lungs as well. When infected, the worms multiply from larvae and grow as they travel through the bloodstream to the heart and lungs. Here the heartworms begin to take over the host’s heart and lungs.

The risk is blocking blood in veins and arteries and causes heart failure, pulmonary embolisms and much more.

Here is a quick 3 minute YouTube video to help you better understand Heartworms In Dogs.

What Can I Do To Prevent Heartworms In My Dog?

Prevention is affordable and easy. There are heartworm shots that last a year – ask your vet about this. Easy to do and not forget. The second easiest method is with Heartworm preventative treats. These come as a monthly dosage in pill form that your dog eats.

Heartworm prevention medicine, shots, chewable and more are regulated items, they must be purchased from a licensed veterinarian, and you want their guidance before administrating them to your pet.

Although you need to contact your vet for heartworm preventative care, we can show some options for other items that affect your dogs, like Fleas & Ticks, check out our article on Fleas and Ticks Here.

Here are some options for Flea and Tick Control, if you need these as well, that you can pick up from Amazon.

How Does My Dog Get Heartworms?

Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes (not all of them, just certain ones).

Let’s dispel a myth right away, your dog cannot get heartworm from other dogs.

For heartworm to spread, a mosquito must draw blood from an infected dog, that happens to have baby heartworms at the present time. Then, bite an uninfected dog (your dog) within a certain time period before those baby worms die off. If your dog gets bitten before the babies die off in the mosquito, it then takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms.

This is a long process for sure.

How Likely Is My Dog to getting Heartworms?

This is a tough question and there are many factors. However, living in certain states puts your dog at higher risk.

  • Most Likely States For Dogs To Have Heartworm – Tropical and coastal states/areas in the eastern US. Louisana, Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, Georgia, Alabama, South & North Carolina.
  • Least Likely Place For Dogs To Get Heartworms – Colder northern states and areas, The Dakotas, New York, Wisconsin, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington.

So How At Risk Is Your Dog?

Check out a Parasite Prevalence Map Here thanks to PetsAndParasites.org
Overall, the rate of infection for the whole US is 1.26% or 1 out of 80 tested dogs.


As always if you have a concern or reason to believe your dog has heartworms, make sure to visit your veterinarian and have your dog tested!