Recent data published from the American Heartworm Society showed that the incidence of canine heartworm disease has continued to spread. Heartworm disease is caused by foot long worms that live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of infected pets. Presence of the worms causes heart failure, lung disease and other organ damage. The immature form of the parasite that causes heartworm disease is spread by the mosquito. Dogs are the natural host for heartworms and every dog is at risk for contracting this serious and potentially fatal threat.
Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states and incidence of the disease continues to rise, even in northern states. Climate variations, wildlife carriers and relocation of infected dogs (such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast) are all factors that help spread heartworm disease across the country.
Treatment of heartworm disease is expensive and can be dangerous. However, heartworms are extremely easy to prevent.
The first easily administered heartworm prevention was sold as a daily tablet called Filaribits. This medication contains a drug called diethylcarbamazine, and was discontinued years ago in favor of other, better preventives. DEC is still highly used in the developing world where humans are at risk from filarial parasites.
Daily medication soon gave way to monthly medication, still on the market under such brands as Sentinel, Iverhart, Trifexis and Heartgard. These preventives are all given once a month. When given as directed, these medications are all highly effective at preventing heartworm infection in dogs.
Human noncompliance is the primary reason for drug failures in both human and veterinary medicine. Statistics show that the average dog actually receives 4.9 doses per 12 months. Reasons for this sad number include forgetting to give the pill, forgetting the refill the package when out, or giving the pill only to discover later that the patient vomited the pill up or spit it out when the owner wasn’t looking. Compliance among veterinary staff isn’t much better. When quizzed about compliance, members of our staff admitted to having forgotten to give heartworm pills to their dogs on at least one occasion. We all live busy lives and compliance for humans taking their OWN medications for conditions is just as poor.
That’s why BSAH is thrilled to offer an alternative to error prone oral heartworm preventives. Proheart-6 is an injectable heartworm prevention, administered at your vet’s office, that lasts for 6 months. No pills, nor forgetting. Proheart works by sustained release of the drug moxidectin and it also removes active hookworm infection.
Your dog is a candidate for Proheart-6 Injectable Heartworm Prevention if:
- Your dog is at least 6 months old and has completed most of his/her growth. Smaller breeds will reach their adult size sooner than large breeds.
- Your dog is an adult dog and has tested negative for heartworm disease.
- Your adult dog is healthy and a normal weight or overweight. Proheart is a sustained release medication that is released from adipose (fat) tissue. Candidates must have adequate body fat, so while overweight or obese dogs can receive Proheart, underweight dogs or dogs with a history of rapid, unexplained weight loss are not candidates.
- Your dog is a collie or a collie mix. Collies carry a common mutation that causes neurotoxicity when they take ivermectin, a common ingredient in some heartworm preventives. Moxidectin, the main ingredient in Proheart, is not affected by this mutation and is safe to use in collies and collie mixes.
Proheart is administered twice a year and is an easy, hands off way to prevent heartworm disease in your dog.