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Heartworm Resistance and Treatment Scarcity

by Dr. Chris

Heartworm preventatives (like Heartgard, Interceptor, Sentinel) are becoming less effective due to increased resistance from the parasite that causes heartworm disease, Dirofilaria immitis.


The two main organizations when it comes to heartworm in the United States are the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) and the American Heartworm Society (AHS)

Due to increased concern from pet owners, both organizations recently released a joint statement with some key recommendations which are...

4 Key Recommendations:

1. Most heartworm preventatives are still effective when used properly.

2. Be sure to follow the product's label for proper dose and frequency.

3. Be sure to give the heartworm preventative ALL year long.

4. Make sure your veterinarian follows CAPC and AHS heartworm testing guidelines.

Heartworm Treatment Shortage

Unfortunately for those dogs that are heartworm positive, the medication used to treat them is in very short supply and is unavailable.

(Treating heartworm and preventing heartworm is two different things)

Immiticide, the heartworm treatment medication is very scarce due to a manufacturing problem.

Because of this, the main aim for heartworm positive dogs is to prevent further infection by maintaining them on heartworm preventatives.

It is also recommended to give these dogs doxycycline restrict ALL activity.

***The goal is to try and keep these dogs healthy until Immiticide becomes available again.***

The shortage is so severe that people are trying to get FDA approval of some European products to treat heartworm positive dogs.

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