Date on Honors Thesis



Pre-veterinary Medicine



Examining Committee Member

Dr. Laura Ken Hoffman, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Dr. William Dewees, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Ms. Dean Ann Provine, Committee Member


Dirofilaria immitis is a common and largely preventable mosquito-borne parasite that causes dirofilariasis, or heartworm disease, in a number of animal species. The necessity of heartworm prevention in the canine patient is undisputed and well-known among veterinary professionals, yet there are still many dogs not protected from this fatal parasite. Heartworm prevention traditionally requires a once-a-month administration of medication; therefore, its efficacy relies on owner compliance. The barriers to canines receiving heartworm prevention were assessed using a survey targeted at pet owners whose dogs have seen the veterinarian in the past year. The main barriers identified were inadequate client communication and understanding, expense of prevention, and forgetfulness. The goal of this research is to establish the barriers to pets receiving monthly heartworm prevention so that veterinary professionals can be made aware and work to address them in order to reduce the number of dogs infected.