info@heartwormsociety.orgCartSign In
Worms IMG_7639.slice1.jpg

What’s the Protocol?

What it is: Inflammation in the pulmonary parenchyma due to HWD
Cause: Death of microfilaria and/or the presence of adult worms
Common clinical signs: Cough, tachypnea
How to diagnose: Radiographs typically show unstructured interstitial infiltrate
Treatment: Steroid therapy, rest and oxygen as needed

What it is: Thrombus formation from dead and dying worms; thrombi and
worm fragments may stay in place or embolize
Cause: Worm death, which may occur 3-21 days after adulticide administration
or spontaneously
Common clinical signs: Lethargy, shortness of breath, cyanosis and/or syncope
How to diagnose: Echocardiographic assessment for PH, which is usually present (see above);
rarely may see thrombus in pulmonary trunk or branches
Treatment: Sildenafil, rest, corticosteroids and oxygen if needed; anticoagulant therapy when
there is high suspicion of HW-PTE (e.g. cyanosis and collapse 3-21 days after adulticide or
visualization of thrombus) and no contraindications

What it is: PH puts chronic pressure load on the right heart, leading to
right ventricular failure
Common clinical signs: Lethargy, abdominal distension, shortness of
breath, jugular venous distension and/or pulsation, syncope
How to diagnose: Echocardiography shows right-sided heart remodeling;
presence of transudate or modified transudate cavitary effusions
Treatment: Mechanical removal of effusions, diuretic, pimobendan, and sildenafil (to treat
underlying PH); also consider spironolactone and/or angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor

What it is: PH and decreased right ventricular function allow worms to relocate
to the right heart and cavae
Cause: Worms cause disruption of the tricuspid valve and/or cavae, decreasing
venous return to the right heart, reducing stroke volume and cardiac output;
worm mass can also lead to microangiopathic anemia and pigmenturia
Common clinical signs: Lethargy, right-sided systolic murmur, syncope,
collapse, pallor and pigmenturia
How to diagnose: Clinical signs of above in dogs known to be heartworm+
Treatment: Stabilization (IV fluids, vasopressors, blood products), worm extraction, and
management of specific related issues (e.g. pneumonitis, PH or R-HF)

The days are getting shorter, the nights are cooler, leaves are starting to turn, and football season is here. But that doesn’t mean your clients can forget about protecting their pets from heartworms.

To keep this message front and center with your clients, we’re sharing a set of new posters you can print OR post on your Facebook or Instagram page.

  • To save or print a poster, just click on the image below, then click on the “download” button and save the PDF file.
  • To save a poster for use on your social pages, simply open the downloaded poster, then right click on the file and follow the menu instructions to save the file as a JPEG image.

For more client tools, be sure to visit the Resource Center. And if you don’t already, make sure you’re sharing our Facebook and Instagram posts!