Why heartworms are now harder to treat
Had I cast a vote in the recent Wayward Dogs Magnet Contest, it probably would have been for handsome Berkley. I’m a real sucker for black and white photography, and he’s just gorgeous.
Berkley is a rescue dog. At the time his owner submitted his photo to the contest, he was on the waiting list for heartworm treatment.
Heartworms are always an issue for the rescue community because so many surrendered and stray dogs come into shelters and rescue organizations already infected. Our golden retriever, Luke, is a prime example. He was undergoing treatment for heartworms as Zach applied to adopt him through The Animal Rescue Alliance a couple of years ago.
Luke was “cured” with the help of Immiticide, which kills adult heartworms. According to the American Heartworm Society, Immiticide is the only “approved” drug for this purpose. Without it, Luke probably wouldn’t be alive today.
This August, Merial, the manufacturer of Immiticide, announced a shortage of the the drug. A link to an “urgent” message about how to treat infected dogs during the shortage remains on the American Heartworm Society’s homepage.
This means that it is more important than ever to ensure that dogs take a monthly heartworm preventative, such as Heartgard or Interceptor. Because our dogs recently switched from the former to the latter, I was able to donate about two and a half packages of Heartgard to Missouri Pit Bull Rescue last week.
I urge anyone else who can to support their favorite rescue organization or shelter in this way, too. Heartworms suck.