In this Cone of Shame episode, Dr. Andy Roark has some unexpected and interesting facts about heartworm. From the incredibly long lifespan of a heartworm to the shocking array of animals that can be infected, these 5 tidbits of trivia will help you impress your friends.*

*Disclaimer: Your friends will only be impressed if they also work at a vet clinic. The rest of your squad wants to be able to eat their spaghetti without you telling them it looks like a parasite.

1. They live long lives.

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  • After heartworms are transmitted to dogs or cats by mosquitoes, it takes 6 months for those worms to become adults.
  • The test veterinarians use to test for heartworm only detects adult worms.

2. Cats can get heartworm.

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  • Felines are an atypical host for heartworm, meaning most won’t reach the adult stage in a cat.
  • Signs of heartworm in cats include: Stumbling, seizures, fainting, fluid accumulation in the abdomen & more.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about prevention, as there is no way to treat heartworm in cats.

3. Heartworms have other hosts.

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  • Heartworm isn’t just a concern for cats and dogs! Other animals, from ferrets to sea lions, can get heartworm.

4.It’s everywhere!

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5. Testing is important.

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Want to learn even MORE about heartworm?

Watch this full episode of Cone of Shame below to discover even more about heartworm disease. Be sure to subscribe to Cone of Shame on YouTube so you never miss an episode!

Danielle K. Lambert Archer headshotDanielle is a veterinary practice manager and the founder of, a website dedicated to teaching veterinary hospitals to use social media effectively. You can get her 5 favorite social media tools here, or follow her on social media to see excessive photos of her Brussels Griffon. She’s @DanielleSnout on Snapchat, Instagram & Twitter.