The scientific name for a heartworm is Dirofilaria immitis. This parasite is typically found in a dog. It can be transmitted via a mosquito bite. It’s called a heartworm because the worms reside in the heart when there are a lot of them in the host. The host can be a variety of animals. The most common is a dog, but it can be found in foxes, cats, wolves, and in some rare instances, humans.
This parasite is a particularly nasty one to get. The adults will live in the arteries, and if there are enough, migrate to the heart. This congests the heart of the host. If your heart is congested, blood doesn’t flow. When this happens, the next step - unless treatment is sought - is death. The official cause of death will be listed as congestive heart failure.