Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Heartworm Survey

I received an email from my fellow blogger and dog health advocate Jana Rade. She writes the widely viewed blog DawgBlogger, publishes the DawgBusiness journal, and the daily online paper DVM's daily, and on twitter @DawgBlogger.

She can also be found on twitter @DawgBlogger. If you have any kind of dog query I guarantee she has researched it, published about it, and helped other dog parents with it. 

The question she asked me was;

Question: Have you been seeing heartworm positive dogs in your area? Do you feel that dog owners underestimate the seriousness of the issue?

Your answer can be as long or short as you like. Publishing your answers includes backlinks to your website/blog. Here are links to the past surveys.

Here is my answer;

Hello Jana,

What a great question!

I think that in light of the last few years of a struggling economy and many people being squeezed so tightly to try to make ends meet among a long list of demands from all sides that heartworm disease has become more prevalent.

I have spoken to many clients who have had to choose between "ideal care" for their pet which included flea & tick prevention, heartworm prevention, all recommended vaccines and high end food. For many of my clients their concerns about feeding their family and keeping a roof over their heads meant foregoing the recommendations of me, their veterinarian. I saw heartworm prevention sales decrease, and routine visits followed. I also saw an increase in advanced illness because many people took a "watch and wait approach" which in some cases caused more advanced, expensive, and more difficult to resolve diseases and illnesses. 

Between the decrease in available funds for pets due to the economy and a false sense of safety about the prevalence and consequences of heartworm disease I have seen more dogs test positive for heartworm disease in the last few years.

I do think that many people do not understand how easily and unknowingly the disease is spread, the simplicity and how economically in which it can be prevented, and the expense and danger treating this disease poses to their pet.

It seems that no matter how many times I tell clients about this potentially life threatening disease, the danger and expense of treating it, and the advances of modern medicine in being able to prevent it so effectively. I still see dogs that test positive.

One mention of advice (my twitter hashtag is after all "FreePetAdvice), Please buy your heartworm prevention from your veterinarian. If you do your pet is protected by the heartworm manufacturers guarantee, IF you give it monthly (as prescribed). And please test your pet yearly. If your pet tests positive you need to know ASAP.

I can be reached anytime at "Diary of a Real-Life Veterinarian" or if you ever have a pet question, curiosity, or just want to visit other pet loving people at
Thanks Jana for always asking such great questions, and always educating us pet lovers.

Here is another link to an article on about the cost of treatment for heartworms;

A link to an article on why we recommend annual heartworm testing;

A link to an article on the rise of heartworm disease;

A link to understanding the heartworm cycle;

Did you know that heartworm disease can be found in all 50 states? And that there is no treatment for cats?

Do you think that you can't afford heartworm prevention? Did you know that there are many options for prevention and that some of them are very affordable. Commercially available from about $4 per month. At over $1,000 for treatment and the considerable risk the disease causes, can you really afford NOT to treat?

What are your experiences?

Please share them with us, and please help educate others in the importance of protecting pets from this disease.


Have any questions about heartworm disease? Or heartworm prevention?

Ask us at Always free, always there for you and your pet!


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