What is heartworm disease? Heartworms are a deadly parasitic blood disease spread by mosquitoes. It is a relatively new phenomenon in Southeast Idaho. The mosquito is the only known vector for transmitting heartworm. While the incidence is low, the number of positive dogs reported increases in our state every year. There were over 20 heartworm positive dogs reported in Idaho in 2009, the majority in the Ada/Canyon county area, only 4 of those in the Pocatello/Idaho Falls area. Dogs that travel are at higher risk, but they don’t have to travel very far to increase their risk of exposure. Dogs that travel without heartworm prevention will increase the spread of disease at home. Even dogs that never leave home are at risk for contracting heartworm disease. The disease is much easier to prevent than to treat. The American Heartworm Society (AHS) estimates that only 55% of dogs in the U.S. are currently on a heartworm preventive, leaving 27 million dogs at risk of acquiring heartworm disease. Once contracted, the parasite will cause damage to the heart and cause heart failure. Idaho Veterinary Hospital stresses that prevention is much easier than treatment! Call our office to see about getting your pet’s heartworm medication for the season before it’s too late!