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. In 2005, the American Heartworm Society (AHS) published guidelines for the diagnosis, prevention and management of canine (and feline) heartworm infection, which have been taken as a reference herein. In the subsequent years these guidelines have been revised regularly.
Humans are not ideal hosts for heartworm but infection diagnosed by serology does occur commonly in areas where heartworm is endemic.
- Current Canine Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Prevention and Management of Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) Infection in Dogs (revised January, 2012), Executive Board of the American Heartworm Society (AHS)