Heartworm-Positive Cases

Heartworm-Positive Cases

One of the most reputable and popular veterinary laboratories in Ontario reported heartworm-positive rates increased almost 1700% from 2012 to 2017! No, that percentage is not a typo and, yes, you’ve read that correctly. That’s a terrifying number considering there are many more pets that go undiagnosed every year! One of the factors that contributes to this is the growing number of international adoptions from heartworm-positive endemic areas in the United States. Rescue agencies are often in such a hurry to place these pets in forever homes that proper testing and health screening is not fully completed. Ticks have also received a lot of public attention for their disease-spreading potential, so a lot of the focus has moved away from heartworm disease. Interestingly, with more and more people preventing tick-borne diseases, we are seeing rates of Lyme disease plateau and, conversely, seeing heartworm disease rates steeply increasing. For those of you new to the wonderful world of dog ownership (or those that just want a refreshment), please refer to more on heartworm disease, what it is, what it does and signs you may see, and how to avoid it from infecting your critter here.

heartworm pic

Last year, our clinic diagnosed two heartworm positive cases; one of which required intense treatment (thankfully, she’s alive and well now!). In both positive heartworm cases, the families were absolutely shocked by the diagnosis. After all, neither of our two patients were showing any outward signs of the disease. Unfortunately, this is typical until two to four years after becoming infected, which is why annual heartworm disease testing is so important. In one of the two positive cases, our patient was sent home with veterinary-grade heartworm prevention (which is shown to be 100% effective), so how did he become infected? Sadly, his fur-mom admitted she indeed missed a few months of heartworm prevention. This case highlights how important it is to ensure you’re administering prevention every single month, starting June 1st to November 1st, without missing a dose. If you miss a dose, please administer the next dose as soon as you remember. For those of you who travel with your pets to warmer climates from November to June, please make sure you’re letting us know so we can help protect your furry family members. Every moment our pets are left unprotected, they are vulnerable to infection. Please contact us now for annual screening and to discuss prevention options!

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