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New Insights and News Shared at 16th Triennial Heartworm Symposium

New Insights and News Shared at 16th Triennial Heartworm Symposium
The American Heartworm Association held their 16th Triennial Heartworm Symposium. Topics included new insights on heartworm transmission, prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Photo Courtesy: Sue O'Brien.

New Orleans, La. — From presentations on heartworm prevalence and pathology to sharing the latest research on heartworm diagnostics, prevention and treatment protocols, the 2019 American Heartworm Society (AHS) Triennial Symposium covered an unprecedented range of topics in its mission to better understand heartworm disease and reduce its impact. The conference, which featured 62 speakers and poster presenters, was held September 8–11, 2019, and was attended by an estimated 400 scientists, veterinarians, veterinary students, veterinary technicians and industry representatives from across the U.S. and at least 12 other countries.

“Heartworm disease remains one of the most challenging diseases faced by the veterinary profession,” stated Dr. Marisa Ames, co-chair of the 16th Triennial Heartworm Symposium program. “Whereas heartworm disease was once considered a problem confined to areas such as the Southeastern U.S. and Mississippi Delta, it is now recognized as a nationwide problem in the U.S., as well as a growing threat in many other parts of the world. This elevates the importance of understanding of heartworm disease and discovering new strategies for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.”

“Scientists are approaching the prevention and management of heartworm disease from many angles,” said incoming AHS president Dr. Chris Duke, adding that the AHS will be sharing information from the symposium via its website, its publications and its social channels, including FacebookTwitter and YouTube. A proceedings will be published at a later date in the journal Veterinary Parasitology.

Highlights of the three-and-a-half-day conference included:

  • The role of climate, microclimates severe weather events, animal transport, mosquito feeding habits and other factors in heartworm transmission
  • New research on products to prevent heartworm in dogs and cats
  • Discussion of the critical role of the immune response in heartworm prevention
  • New studies and insights on heartworm antigen and microfilaria tests, as well as strategies clearing antigen/antibody immune complexes
  • New insights on heartworm treatment, including a study on doxycycline vs. minocycline and additional strategies for managing dogs with severe disease
  • Practical insights on compliance for canine and feline heartworm prevention

AHS heartworm symposium

Changes to the AHS board

During the triennial business meeting held during the symposium, 2016-2019 AHS president Dr. Christopher Rehm of Mobile, Alabama, turned over leadership of the AHS board to incoming president Dr. Chris Duke of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Assistant Professor of Parasitology Dr. Lindsay Starkey of Auburn University and Dr. Angele Bice, a practitioner in Summerville, South Carolina, also joined the AHS board. Dr.  Stephen Jones of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, and retired Kansas State University veterinary parasitologist Dr. Patricia Payne both moved off the board.

Meanwhile, Dr. Brian DiGangi of the ASPCA was appointed editor of the AHS Bulletin and Triennial Symposium proceedings, Dr. Elizabeth Clyde of Mattoon, Illinois, was voted in as secretary treasurer, Dr. Tom Nelson of Anniston Alabama, took on the newly created role of AHS research chair and Dr. Doug Carithers of Boehringer Ingelheim assumed the role of AHS Vice President.

About the American Heartworm Society

The mission of the American Heartworm Society is to lead the veterinary profession and the public in the understanding of heartworm disease. Founded during the Heartworm Symposium of 1974. The American Heartworm Society aims to further scientific progress in the study of heartworm disease, inform the membership of new developments and encourage and help promote effective procedures for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of heartworm disease.


Check out other articles and news items on heartworm/parasitology in our archives.