Heartworms

Dear Pet Owners of Oxford,

I recently moved to Oxford to practice veterinary medicine and it has been a pure joy! Our town is full of wonderful people and lovely pets. There seems to be some confusion over the ideal treatment plan for dogs that test positive for heartworm disease; specifically, confusion regarding the “Slow Kill” method of heartworm treatment.  The Slow Kill method is not recommended by the American Heartworm Society (AHS).  The good news is that the treatment protocol recommended by the AHS is very safe and effective when performed correctly.  There is no reason for dogs to die or have their lives cut short due to heartworms; there is a readily available cure! Clients are usually surprised at how affordable the recommended heartworm treatment is. The American Heartworm Society has a great website that answers any and all questions about heartworms and heartworm treatment: www.heartwormsociety.org

If your dog is diagnosed with heartworms, the first step is to have a direct smear performed.  This allows the veterinarian to look for microfilaria (baby heartworms). Next, it is important to have a second (and different type) test performed to confirm the heartworm infection. If your dog is confirmed to be heartworm positive, treating the heartworms is not difficult!

hw tx guidelines

The American Heartworm Society no longer recommends the “slow kill protocol”. The following is an excerpt from their recommendations regarding the slow-kill protocol that is being recommended in and around our area:

Alt Therapies

Mississippi is a hotbed for Heartworm disease.  Heartworms are the biggest killer of dogs in Mississippi. This is very disheartening considering heartworms are a preventable and treatable disease.

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Heartworms are spread from dog to dog by mosquito bites. Here is the link to an extremely informative video: Heartworm Basics

If you have a dog, or are considering adopting a dog, please make sure your pet is on a monthly heartworm preventative year-round.  If you have a dog that has been diagnosed with heartworm disease and you have been advised to treat them using any methods other than the treatment protocol recommended by the American Heartworm Society, please consult with your veterinarian on the proper treatment for your pet or seek a second opinion.  To many of us, dogs are family members, and to lose a family member to a treatable disease is both heartbreaking and unnecessary. Visit the American Heartworm Society webpage to learn more.

Thanks for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth Crump, DVM
Paws Animal Hospital