Big Dog, Big Heartworm

Foster volunteer chronicles her pup’s heartworm treatment
By Lisa Wogan, August 2011, Updated February 2015

For the past month, I’ve been following a blog about a nine-year-old foster dog named Mila, who is undergoing heartworm treatment. It’s written by Jean, who fosters dogs for Big Hearts Big Dog Rescue in Western New York. Mila is the third heartworm-positive pup to come into Jean’s care.

I’ve never really appreciated the challenges or devastation heartworm, and I’ve never known a dog treated for it. It’s a rare, though not unprecedented, occurrence in my part of the country, where nighttime temperatures aren’t generally hot enough for the heartworm larvae to mature in the mosquito host.

Following Mila’s journey has been an eye-opener—both in terms of the commitment of the caregiver and the challenges of the treatment, in particular, the need to keep the canine patient calm for a month at a time. We’ve asked Jean to check in with us about Mila’s progress.

In the meantime, check out to learn more about Mila, the treatment and some myth-busting about heartworm.


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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of several books including Dog Park Wisdom.