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

(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.