What is Wolbachia as it Relates to Heartworm Disease in Dogs?

How Does Wolbachia Affect Dogs?Heartworm disease in dogs is caused by the threadlike worm Dirofilaria immitis that lives in the pulmonary arteries (blood vessels leading from the heart to the lungs) of infected dogs.Wolbachia is a genus of bacteria that lives in the heartworm itself and serves a crucial function for the heartworm’s long-term survival and reproduction. The manner in which Wolbachia interacts with his host is complex and is still being studied.Eliminating the Wolbachia can make the heartworm more vulnerable. Elimination or reduction of Wolbachia prior to treatment of the heartworm organism itself can result in reduced lung inflammation caused by the death of the heartworms.The most common drug used to eliminate Wolbachia is doxycycline. It is most frequently given for 1 month after the diagnosis of heartworm disease. The most common dose used is 5 mg/pound of body weight every 12 hours.For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of this condition, go to Heartworm Disease in Dogs.