Orange County Animal Services’ Heartworm Treatment Sponsorship Program

Roughly 10% of the dogs coming into our shelter have heartworms. The costs of heartworm treatment can be scary to adopters and is often a deterrent to adopting a heartworm positive dog. We do not want heartworms to be a barrier to adopting a shelter dog. To help increase adoptions and ease the costs associated with heartworm treatment, Orange County Animal Services launched a program allowing local businesses to sponsor treatment for heartworm afflicted dogs. It is the hope of OCAS that in removing the financial barriers, heartworm positive dogs will be adopted based on their personalities, rather than passed over due to financial hurdles.

If you are interested in becoming a heartworm sponsor, email All heartworm sponsorships are $350 and may be applied to specific dogs, if desired. Sponsor a dog with heartworm disease and save a life.

Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. When a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, the transmitted larvae mature into adult heartworms. They then begin reproducing in the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels.

Heartworm disease is treatable if diagnosis is made and treatment is started early enough, but it can be fatal if ignored. It is also highly preventable. Orange County Animal Services recommends proactive care through heartworm preventative medication.

Common Misconceptions

  • Misconception: Dogs can give heartworms to their owners.
    • Reality: People cannot get heartworms from their dogs. It’s a species-specific parasite that affects only dogs and occasionally cats.
  • Misconception: Heartworm is contagious from one dog directly to another.
    • Reality: Dogs cannot transmit heartworms to each other directly. Only a bite from an infected mosquito can transmit the disease.
  • Misconception: Heartworm is inevitable.
    • Reality: Heartworm disease can be avoided by treating your dog with heartworm preventatives either topically, by pill or via injections.
  • Misconception: Once a dog has been treated for heartworm, he or she can’t get heartworm ever again.
    • Reality: A dog can get heartworm disease even after he or she has been successfully treated and cured. That’s why prevention is so crucial.

- If your dog left Orange County Animal Services with Upper Respiratory Infection proceed to use provided 10-day doxycycline as directed for 10 days after pickup.

- DO NOT start the 30 day doxycycline until directed by Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando to begin.

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