Heartworm Life Cycle in Dog’s and Humans

Important information from the CDC regarding Heartworm Disease in Dogs:

It is important to reiterate that humans are not a natural host for heartworm disease. In rare cases, heartworms have infected people, but it does not complete its life cycle. The heartworm will migrate to the lung and cause a round lesion that looks like a tumor. In fact, according to recent research, “most reported cases of  heartworm (D. immitis) infection in humans have been in persons with no symptoms. People with symptoms can have cough (including coughing up blood),chest pain, fever, and pleural effusion (excess fluid between the tissues that line the lungs and the chest cavity).”(1)

Dr. Sarah Kalivoda

Mountain View Animal Hospital & Holistic Pet Care

Reno, Nevada


(1) Centers for Disease Control, February 8, 2012 (Global Health, Division of Parasitic Diseases)