More than 1 million pets in the United States have heartworms, according to a recent American Heartworm Society survey.

Michael Morefield, marketing and communications director for the Arizona Animal Welfare League, said this disease can cause cardiovascular collapse, as well as kidney or liver failure without proper treatment. Heartworm can be transmitted through a single, infected mosquito bite, which leads to foot-long parasites infecting the heart, Morefield said. He added that the Arizona Animal Welfare League has seen cases of heartworm infections in the Valley. Four years ago the organization rescued dogs with heartworms from its partners in Texas and southern states. Two years later Arizona Animal Welfare League rescued such dogs from partners in other areas of the state.

Last year the organization rescued animals around the Valley that are positive for heartworm and it expects to take care of more dogs this year that are infected. Heartworm is deadly if untreated but it can easily be prevented, Morefield said. After receiving a negative test from a veterinarian’s office, you can start giving your pets chewables once a month or other treatment options to prevent heartworm. To learn more, visit



Hello, North Central neighbor — thank you for visiting!

Sign up to receive our digital issue in your inbox each month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.