Heartworm disease is caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis, better known as heartworm. The parasites are long, hair-like worms that live in the right ventricle of the heart and the pulmonary artery, which is the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. Dogs become infected when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. If left untreated dogs can develop heart failure. Studies have shown a prevalence of heartworm in stray dogs in Romania.