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?