In Australia, heartworm disease is a life-threatening illness that mostly occurs in dogs. It is caused by the parasite Dirofilaria immitis which, despite its name, usually lives in the arteries of your pet’s lungs. Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, not by dog-to-dog contact.
The good news is, that for such a serious disease, it can be easily prevented. This can be as simple as an injection given by your vet annually, or by a medication given to your pet by you every month at home.
It is important to note that heartworm and intestinal worms are not the same and therefore need to be treated differently. Please see the section on pet deworming for information about treating your pet for intestinal worms.