St. Augustine Humane Society and Husky Haven Rescue of Florida partner to treat local dog with heartworm disease

Mosquito season promotes heartworm disease in dogs.


The St. Augustine Humane Society and Husky Haven of Florida will provide heartworm disease treatment for Tucker, a local, male Siberian Husky in the advanced stages of the illness.

Staff Veterinarian Dr. Lauren Rockey and her medical team will treat Tucker through the Humane Society's pet wellness clinic. Executive Director Carolyn Smith will provide foster care for the four-year-old dog. Tucker will be available for adoption through Husky Haven after his heartworm condition is under control and manageable.

“With the rainy season upon us in Florida, mosquitoes are also in abundance, so it’s important to make sure dogs are protected against this deadly sickness,” Smith said. “Heartworm disease is carried from dog to dog solely through the bite of a mosquito.”

Smith believes heartworm disease is easily preventable before the illness is diagnosed with a monthly parasiticide. The Humane Society offers $20 heartworm tests and monthly prevention costs running from $4 - $7 at the clinic.

According to Dr. Rockey, heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal illness that is transmitted by infected mosquitos. Dogs are natural hosts for heartworms, which live inside the dog and can mature into adults and produce offspring. If left untreated, Dr. Rockey added, their numbers can increase and cause lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries. Even after removal, she explained that heartworms can cause lasting damage to the dog's health and quality of life.

As a result, prevention is the medically recommended option and treatment when needed should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible, she said.

The annual cost of prevention, as stated by Dr. Rockey, can be less than $75, but treatment of a dog that already has the illness can easily exceed $1,000 - particularly if complications occur.

“Not only is there the cost of Immiticide injections, the dog must be carefully monitored by a veterinarian,” she said. “The treatment can be very hard on a pet, and Tucker appears to have a heavy burden of heartworms, so his recovery will not be easy.”

Husky Haven will thoroughly screen each new owner applicant before placing Tucker in his new home. Husky Haven is a non-profit based in Clearwater, Florida, that works with the Humane Society to provide support, education and assistance to all owners of Huskies. The organization rescues stray, surrendered and endangered Siberian Huskies, and it provides medical treatment for their rescue dogs.

For more information about heartworms, visit, call the Humane Society at (904) 829-2737 or email