Heart Healthy Fund


Heartworm is a serious condition that primarily affects dogs (but can sometimes affect cats and ferrets, as well). Dogs are infected when they are bitten by affected mosquitoes, who may carry the heartworm larva. Dogs can only be infected through mosquito bites – a heartworm positive dog will not affect any other pets in your household. Because heartworm is transmitted through mosquitoes, warm, humid climates like South Carolina are the ideal condition for the parasite to spread – South Carolina is the 5th most affected state by this condition. Once infected, heartworms lodge in the dog’s heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels, and continue to reproduce. The worms can cause lung disease, heart disease, and failure in other organs, if left untreated for too long. Preventing heartworm is easy – dogs should be given monthly heartworm preventative that can be purchased at your vet, or over the counter. Treating heartworm, though, is much more costly and difficult. The treatment, at cost, runs $275, and takes 7 months from start to finish.

At Saint Frances, about 15% of the dogs that come into our shelter each year are already infected with heartworm – between 200-300 dogs each year. At a cost of $275 per dog, treatment would cost the shelter as much as $80,000 a year – a significant price tag for a small, rural shelter with a limited budget! To keep our dogs healthy and adoption ready, Saint Frances relies on the compassion and generosity of our wonderful supporters to help us treat HW+ dogs. Please consider a gift to our Heart Healthy Program, which can be made from our Donate page, to help us treat these wonderful dogs and give them a fresh start in life.