Heartworm disease affects pets and is brought on by foot-long worms (heartworms) that reside in the heart, lungs, and blood arteries nearby. These worms cause heart failure, severe lung disease, and harm to other body parts. While heartworms can infect dogs, cats, and ferrets, they can also be found in wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions, and, in rare cases, people. Wild animals like foxes and coyotes are major disease vectors because they frequently reside close to urban areas.
In the United States and many other countries across the world, heartworm illness in pets is a serious and potentially fatal condition.