Responsible pet owners give their dogs one of several different available brands of monthly heartworm preventative. The preventatives are made by several different pharamaceutical companies and each one is marketed for a particular, unique quality. The important quality common to all of these products, however, remains the fact that they prevent heartworm disease, a common and potentially fatal infection.
Like all aspects of medicine, heartworm disease is a changing entity. Over time we discover new information about the parasites themselves, how they interact with our pets and how we can best protect our pets from the disease. Recent news reports have included alarming mentions of heartworms that may be resistant to our preventative medications. We have known for decades that different strains of heartworms exist, and new drugs to prevent their spread are constantly being developed. While studies are still ongoing, at this time there is no definitive evidence that any heartworm strains are immune to available preventatives. Because this is such an important health matter for our beloved companions, it remains an ongoing mission of the veterinary medical profession to develop new and better ways to protect our pets from heartworm disease.
Currently our preventative medications, when given at appropriate doses and time intervals, are still effective in preventing the vast majority of heartworm infections. Even if we find that their efficacy is declining and new medications are needed, our current best medicine is to continue giving our pets these trusted preventatives, keeping them safe from heartworm disease. Management of our pets' health is a neverending pursuit of the knowledge and means by which to do what is best for each of our beloved companions. Therefore as veterinary and pharmaceutical research continues to look forward to new solutions, we remember to value the excellent care options already available to our pets.
Danielle Irving, DVM, is an associate veterinarian at the Richmond SPCA. To read the biographies of our regular bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires a first and last name to be used as your screen name.
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