Top States for Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats

Based on Pet Health Data

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Top States for Heartworm Disease In Dogs and Cats
Based on information from The State of Pet Health by Banfield’s Applied Research and Knowledge Team

What is Heartworm Disease?
Dogs and cats are susceptible to heartworm disease, which is a serious but preventable condition. Heartworm disease is caused by long, slender, parasitic worms that migrate to the blood vessels of the lungs and to the right side of the heart. Heartworms can affect dogs, cats and ferrets. The disease is transmitted from one pet to another by mosquitoes, thus indoor and outdoor pets are at risk for the disease.
 
When is Heartworm Disease Most Common?
Canine and feline heartworm disease is more common during the warmer months, as that is the time of year when mosquitoes are most abundant and temperatures favor mosquito breeding. However, Banfield Pet Hospital's Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK) team has found that heartworm disease is a year-round condition that has been diagnosed in every month and in every state where Banfield has a hospital.
 
Where is Heartworm Disease Most Prevalent?
Banfield's research tabulated the most common occurrences of heartworm disease in pets to create the top states with the highest prevalence of positive heartworm tests. See our list below:
 
  1. Mississippi – 1 in 26 canine heartworm tests were positive
  2. Louisiana – 1 in 28 canine heartworm tests were positive
  3. Arkansas – 1 in 31 canine heartworm tests were positive
  4. Alabama – 1 in 60 canine heartworm tests were positive
  5. South Carolina and Texas – nearly 1 in 70 canine heartworm tests were positive
How to Prevent Heartworm Disease
Preventing heartworm disease is important for every pet owner, and if proper steps are followed prevention can be very simple to achieve. Follow these two steps to keep your pet healthy.
 
  1. Get your pets tested for heartworms annually.
  2. Give your pets preventive medications available in monthly topical or pill forms, or for dogs, as a twice-yearly injection.
Medications interrupt heartworm development before adult worms can reach the lungs and spread to cause the disease. These preventive medications should be provided year-round to ensure your pet is protected.
 
The American Heartworm Society has deemed these measures extremely effective, and when given properly on a year-round schedule, heartworm disease can be prevented.
 
Other Ways to Protect Your Pets
Another preventive measure is to keep your dogs and cats out of mosquito-infested areas, and your pet's living area mosquito-free. But please remember, mosquito control is not a substitute for heartworm prevention, as it only takes one mosquito to infect your pet with heartworm disease.
 
Have Questions?
If you have further questions about heartworm disease and prevention including details on medications and treatment, please contact your neighborhood veterinarian or refer to our Heartworm Lifecycle Handout for additional information.
 
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