Heartworms, Dirofilaria immitis, were recovered from 17 out of 24 (71%) coyotes, Canis latrans, 38 out of 46 (83%) coyote × red wolf hybrids and all of 8 (100%) red wolves, Canis rufus gregoryi, collected from the Gulf coastal prairies of southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. Intensities of infection ranged from 1 to 176 () worms per host. There was a significantly (P<0.05) higher intensity of infection in red wolves. Prevalence of heartworms increased significantly with increasing age. There were no significant differences between coyotes, hybrids and red wolves or between different host sexes in terms of prevalence. The female to male ratio of heartworms was close to unity (1.2:1) and was not correlated with worm burdens. Nematodes were primarily localized in the right heart, frequently extending into the pulmonary artery and the pulmonary arterial tree in the lungs. In 13 instances, 1–4 adult heartworms were recovered from the venae cavae. Pathological responses in the right heart were variable, depending on the intensity of infection. In severe infections, there were small areas of infarctive necrosis with mild to severe interstitial edema in the myocardium. Lesions in the pulmonary artery and pulmonary arterial trunk varied from mild focal hyperplastic intimal changes to extensive exudative villous endarteritis. The latter was characterized by a hyperplastic collagenous stroma with numerous histiocytes, plasma cells and eosinophils. Lung pathology varied from patchy to extensive areas of congestion, edema, hemorrhage, interstitial pneumonitis and infarction. In cases with heartworms in the venae cavae, hepatic changes were minimal and associated with liver changes such as passive congestion and centrolobular necrosis seen in cases without adult worms in the venae cavae. In heavily infected animals, hemosiderosis of the liver, spleen and kidneys was pronounced. A microfilaremia was noted in 46% of the infected wild canids. Microfilariae were observed in tissue sections of the myocardium, lungs, liver, kidney, spleen, lymph nodes, pancreas and appendix. Wild canids from this area are regarded as natural definitive hosts and primary reservoirs for heartworms and it appears that this infection is an important factor in the morbidity and mortality of these hosts.