Heartworm Disease
Heartworm disease is a serious and growing health threat to dogs throughout the United States

Heartworm is as horrible as it sounds. Through a simple mosquito bite, worms infect an animal, travel through the bloodstream, and take root deep inside the pulmonary arteries, heart, and lungs. The worms can grow to be anywhere from 4 to 12 inches long, multiply to populations in the hundreds, and ultimately can lead to the death of their host.


Heartworm disease is spreading up the Mississippi River Valley. The incidence of heartworm cases is increasing in most states, including Michigan. According to the American Heartworm Society, Michigan sees 6-25 heartworm cases per veterinary clinic each year.

Map of U.S. Heartworm Incidence 2007

From the time an animal is bitten to the time a blood test can accurately detect the presence of the disease, the heartworms are given five to seven months to grow, reproduce, and take up residence in the most vital organs of the animal. 

While heartworm is treatable if caught, it is an expensive, extensive, and difficult process. Extra stress is placed on the sick animal as it is given painful muscle injections for one to two months, often with an accompanying hospital stay.

Recently, the medication to treat heartworm disease has been in limited supply, making prevention even more important.

But there is good news....

While heartworm is potentially fatal, it is 100% preventable - one pill a month of heartworm preventative will keep your pet protected.

Heartgard Heartworm PreventativeHeartworm medication is safe, inexpensive and easy to give - especially compared to the financial and emotional cost of going through heartworm treatment, or losing your dog to heartworm.

Additionally, many heartworm preventatives also treat for other parasites such as hook-worms, roundworms and whipworms.

In providing your pet treatment for heartworm, you’re helping to fight against other preventable ailments. Yearly heartworm testing is required in addition to monthly preventative. Pets as young as six weeks of age can be started on heartworm prevention.

Heartworm preventative starts as low as $8 a month.

To purchase heartworm preventative, get a heartworm test for your pet or if you have any other questions, please contact your nearest MHS veterinary center location:

Rochester Hills: 248-852-7424

Detroit: 313-872-0004

Westland: 734-721-4195


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Low-cost feline spay/neuterHeartworm DiseaseMarch for AnimalsThe New Detroit Animal Care CampusGet 10% off your next purchase at shopmichiganhumane.org


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