Heartworm cases on the rise in Rockford pets

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- Rockford is not immune to heartworm prevalence. The city ranked second on the Companion Animal Parasite Council's top 10 cities heartworm report for July.

Heartworm in the stateline

"I haven't heard about that statistic, but it is kind of concerning," says Wednesday Jordan, who owns two dogs. "I do bring my dogs out, especially to brewery patios to be outside."

The CAPC recommends annual testing and year-round protection using medicine. The disease is spread through mosquitos, and although Rockford has an abundance, the disease does not discriminate by location.

Mosquitos can live across the nation in sewers, alleys and crawl space areas. Judy Anderson, who lives in Rockford and Arizona, says she wasn't sure if her dog, Millie needed prevention medication due to Arizona's climate.

"I know she's due for her shot, and we'll be getting it," she says.

Symptoms include fatigue, coughs and weight loss. It can lead to heart failure if left untreated.

"There's always a concern, but you try to do what you can," says pet owner Patrick Seger. He says he thought Rockford wouldn't be that high on the list, but does give his dog medicine regularly.

Debbie Miller and her husband own a lab-mix, and also care for their son's beagle since he is in the Army. They are concerned about the statistics, and say it's important to them to get their furry friends in to the vet soon for guidance.

"It would be bad, so now I'm really concerned. We're going to have to go to the vet and see what they recommend us do," she says. "They take care of everything for us there."