heartworm

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Di·ro·fi·la·ri·a im·'mi·tis

a species of filarial worms; primary hosts are dogs and other canids in tropical, subtropical and temperate climates, adult worms are found chiefly in the right ventricle and pulmonary arteries of dogs; sometimes a serious pathogen of racing and show dogs, especially in the southern U.S. where mosquito vectors are most common; Dirofilaria immitis and its canine host have been used to test chemotherapeutic agents, and an extract of Dirofilaria immitis may be used as a nonspecific intradermal antigen in the diagnosis of human filariasis and in complement-fixation tests.
See also: Dipetalonema reconditum.
Synonym(s): heartworm

heartworm

/heart·worm/ (hahrt´wurm) an individual of the species Dirofilaria immitis.

heartworm

(härt′wûrm′)
n.
1. A parasitic filarial worm (Dirofilaria immitis) that is transmitted by mosquitoes and infects the pulmonary arteries and often the right side of the heart of dogs and other canids and sometimes other mammals, including cats.
2. The condition resulting from infection with heartworms, characterized by respiratory symptoms and fatigue.

heartworm

the common name for dirofilariaimmitis.
Enlarge picture
Heartworms. By permission from Darke P, Kelly DF, Bonagura JD, Color Atlas of Veterinary Cardiology, Mosby, 1995

heartworm dermatitis
cutaneous dirofilariasis; a variety of skin lesions have been seen in dogs infested by Dirofilaria immitis, including hypersensitivity reactions, pyogranulomas and seborrheic dermatitis.
heartworm disease
the syndrome of pulmonary artery disease with hypertension, heart failure (primarily cor pulmonale), and occasionally liver failure and interstitial, tubular and glomerular renal lesions caused by infestation by Dirofilaria immitis. Many species may be infected, but dogs are most commonly affected by chronic cough, weight loss and ultimately congestive heart failure. Infestation by the parasite, and the disease, can be prevented with appropriate prophylactic chemotherapy. Called also dirofilariasis. See also occult heartworm infection, caval syndrome.