Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blog The Change For Animals: Heartworm Prevention

Lucy and I are busy girls today. We're participating in the "Hop On By Thursday" blog hop, and as part of Blog The Change for Animals, we're participating in their blog hop as well! But, we're not too busy to talk about something that is very near and dear to our hearts, heartworm prevention!

About 3 months ago, maybe longer, my next door neighbor met my little boxer for the first time. I knew from the first time that I met her that she was an animal person, they had a dog of their own at the time she met Lucy. But, still I could tell that there was an instant connection between my neighbor and my boxer. Several weeks later, I heard that she had lost her dog, and of course, we felt horrible. Another week went by, and another neighbor told me that she had adopted a boxer!

I was so excited that I could hardly wait to park the car and run right over there to meet the new neighborhood boxer. This new boxer made boxer number 3 on my street. (Not bad numbers considering there are only 5 houses on my street!) Both Lucy and I fell in love instantly with Job. He's a beautiful brindle boy, only about a year and a half old, and ironically, not that much bigger than Lucy.

That evening, Lucy had a romp with Job that resulted in her being covered in mud, and both dogs being exhausted! Both my neighbor and I were thrilled, as I'm sure the 2 boxers were. Several days went by, and I didn't see Job again. Then one night after I had gotten home from work, my neighbor's husband knocked on the door. He had some bad news about their rescue boxer. Job had very advanced heartworms and his prognosis wasn't a good one.

For days, Lucy and I said our prayers for little Job and even enlisted the help of Boxer Vibes on the Boxer Mailing List. I felt horrible that this poor, beautiful boy had obviously been so neglected, the heartworms were all through his amazing little body. I couldn't imagine how something that could be so easy to prevent had so obviously been neglected.

I talked with everyone that I could about heartworms, asking my vet, and the opinions of other boxer owners on the Boxer Mailing List. I was very disgusted to learn that many vets, especially here in Western Pennsylvania, do not believe that heartworms are that big of a problem here, when they are really an enormous problem. I wondered to myself if it was one of those pesky money making issues that I get so fired up about. After all, it costs about $3.00 per month for heartworm prevention, where treating an infected animal is roughly $700. (And don't even get me started about the suffering of the animal and how painful the treatment is to the animal!)

Weeks passed, and I couldn't stop thinking about Job and wondering how many other sweet, innocent animals were suffering from this obviously preventable disaster. I finally marched my little self over to the neighbors to see how Job was doing. I was so relieved to hear good news! As a complication to the heartworms, Job had pneumonia. He responded well to the treatement for the pneumonia, and was beginning his treatment for the heartworms. My neighbor's vet had assured her that Job was going to make a full recovery!

Job is still not well enough to play with Lucy, and they will have to watch and limit the amount of play that he engages in for some time, but in his case he was very lucky! And Lucy and I are so relieved. I spot Job out for a walk with his owner every once in a while, and always grab my shoes and run out to say hello to the beautiful boy! I'm so thankful he's going to be okay!

There are a ton of resources available to explain prevention, and symptoms of heartworms in pets. The American Heartworm Society has more than enough information to educate every single pet owner about the importance of prevention. Please, Please, Please: If your pet is not on preventative medication for heartworms- take your pet to your vet. Have your vet perform the very simple blood test to make sure that your pet does not already have heartworms and get them started on heartworm prevention medications. As I mentioned earlier, I pay $3.00 per month to prevent Lucy from suffering from this very preventable and painful infliction- that's less than a cup of Starbucks coffee!

What Is Heartworm Disease?


  1. I am so glad you posted about this! It is truly so preventable and I don't understand why people won't pay the tiny fee to keep their pets healthy.

  2. Thanks for the post. What brand of heartworm meds do you use? Suzanne (Cult of the Greyhound)

  3. I simply gotta know where you get your heart worm medication for Lucy. Jack's are $70 a year and Jills over $100 a year, because of her weight and she's only 32# (best guess, right now). I have seen what heart worms can do and I keep my dogs protected. What brand do you use? I use Interceptor.

  4. I use Heartguard. And I get them from my vet. She doesn't believe in jacking up prices on medications. I got a 2 month supply the other day, and it was $6.00.

  5. Hey nice to meet you too! Thanks for the great read. I feel we are going to learn so much today :)

  6. Great post! Thanks for the comment - please continue to provide feedback on the blog, I always enjoy hearing what people think. I think this BTC movement is just awesome. You have such a pretty doggie too!

  7. Oh my goodness ... thanks for finding me and introducing me to Lucy! ;) Congrats to Job for pulling through ... that is a pretty serious condition ... my vet back home used to keep a heartworm laden heart in a jar on the counter in his office ... it was pretty gross but sometimes what people need to see is what it actually happening to their pups!

    Btw - Patton and Otto are UBER spoiled ... as they should be!

  8. Stopping by with Be the Change for Animals. Thank you for all you do to help animals in need. Hope you will be able to visit us too.

    Felissa, Davinia, and Indiana

  9. Great post! Heartworms are an issue here in SC year round where the mosquito is our state bird! Good to see you hear on this really cool blog hop. So much to today, it's gonna be a busy one!
    The Road Dogs

  10. Wow. Thank you for writing about heartworm, and I'm so relieved to hear that Job is okay! It's so important to pay attention to these entirely preventable problems and educate pet owners! I recently heard from a woman who had never given her dog preventative... She just never realized it was a problem, until heartworm cropped up in her neighborhood, which is why education is so important. This is the perfect Blog the Change topic!!

  11. $3 a month? What preventative is THAT? I'd love to know because around here it is much more.

  12. Our dear sweet Kodiak came to us Heartworm positive (despite two negative tests - we learned that a dog can test negative for heartworms for up to 6 months after being infected). Fortunately, he came through treatment and is healthy today.

    By the way, you asked about following our blog. Looks like you use Blogger (or Google Reader) to follow blogs based on your blogroll. On either of those home pages, just click add and copy into the input field. We post every day!

  13. Really interesting post, and smart words about the value of prevention. Thanks for blogging about this, and thanks for stopping by I Still Want Puppies - I look forward to reading more about the adorable Lucy!

  14. I'm so glad Job's story had a happy ending. I can't believe there are vets out there that don't push heartworm preventative! That just seems absurd to me. I hope everyone learns from Job's story.

    -Pru's mom, Ashley

  15. This topic is SO important. Some say Heartworm is spreading faster now, in part because people aren't placing their dogs on prevention. If mosquitoes bite the neighbor's infected dog and then yours, you've got a serious problem.

    Did you know that cats can get Heartworm too? Prevention is the only option as they have no cure that a cat can withstand. We have our indoor cats on a preventative because our dogs bring in mosquitoes from outside. If anyone out there wants more info, ask your vet.

    Thanks for Blogging the Change!
    Kim (and Amy by proxy)