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Animals and Science in the Classroom

Gain tips on animal husbandry, animal related activities, games, events and careers!
heartworm socieity

teaching students about heartworm, helping them care for their pets

Heartworm disease (Dirofilaria immitis) is a preventable but serious and potentially fatal disease. It is caused by a parasitic worm that primarily infects members of the canid family including domesticated dogs and wild canids such as coyotes, wolves, and foxes. The infection is not limited to dogs as it has been documented in other mammals as well, including cats, ferrets, raccoons, opossums, seals, sea lions and rarely humans.

Teaching students about heartworm and taking care of their animals at home may be a great way of engaging those children that love animals and hope to have careers working with them. In addition, it's a great opportunity for students tostart using research tools, such as the internet and journal articles, which are search skills they will use for life!The American Heartworm Association has a section 'just for kids' where youth can learn about the importance of heartworm prevention. It includes interactive games, puzzles and coloring activities. Below is some key information about heartworm to start you off.

  • The first published case of Heartworm disease was noted more than 100 years ago.
  • The earliest case of heartworm disease in cats was documented in the early 1920's.
  • Heartworm are transmitted by mosquitoes
  • The worm has been found in mammals in all 50 states as well as countries throughout the world
  • In an infected dog, microfilaria (juvenile worms) can be seen moving in a blood sample through a microscope
  • Heartworm is easily prevented by using regular doses of FDA approved preventative usually distributed by your vet

The link for 'Just for Kids':
To read more about heartworm copy/paste or follow link:

photo above is from American Heartworm Association 'Just for Kids' page

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