Can humans get Heartworm? Yes…and No.

Human pulmonary dirofilariasis is caused by the transmission of infective third stage larvae of the canine heartworm, Dirofilaria immitis, during blood-feeding by several species of infected mosquitoes.

Since humans are not primary hosts and cannot support the parasite’s life cycle, infective larvae die after migrating to the pulmonary vascular bed, where an initial sub-clinical inflammatory reaction is typically followed by a single pulmonary granuloma.

The resulting nodular granuloma is described radiographically as a “coin lesion” that resembles a neoplastic lesion, which must be ruled out by invasive lung biopsy.

Dr. Sarah Kalivoda
Mountain View Animal Hospital & Holistic Pet Care
Reno, Nevada