Zoetis Awards Grants for New Heartworm Research

June 8, 2018
Kerry Lengyel

No region of the country is immune to heartworm disease, which means more research is needed with regard to prevention and treatment.

With incidence rates on the rise and input being sought on how heartworm preventive studies should be evaluated, the need has never been greater for more research in this area.

“Heartworm disease is a debilitating and potentially fatal condition, particularly in dogs and cats,” Debra Woods, PhD, research director and head of parasitology global therapeutics research at Zoetis, said. “New therapies are likely to be required as heartworm resistance to current therapies develops over time.”


  • Heartworm: Where Are We Today?
  • Disease State Watch: Parasitology

For this reason, Zoetis has awarded a total of $200,000 in research grants to 3 teams of scientists. Each team is focused on a project that will help advance the understanding of the fundamentals of heartworm disease and explore potential novel interventions to increase prevention.

Members of the 3 teams receiving the grants include:

  • Sean Forrester, PhD, associate professor of biology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Guilherme G. Verocai, DVM, MSc, PhD, DACVM (Parasitology), assistant research scientist in the Department of Infectious Diseases and director of the Parasitology Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Mostafa Zamanian, PhD, assistant professor, and Lyric Bartholomay, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine

The research grants were awarded by a committee comprised of leaders across divisions and disciplines, with external oversight from an independent expert reviewer.

“We were impressed with the caliber of the innovative research proposals we received,” Dr. Woods said, “and selected 3 that will augment our internal research and development and could lead to new scientific insights in parasitic disease, in particular, heartworm disease.”

Understanding and preventing heartworm disease is critical now more than ever, and educating clients about this problem is one way to decrease the number of heartworm-positive cats and dogs, nationwide.