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Heartworm protection that lasts 6 months

January 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Dogs

Proheart-6-logoWould you be interested in protecting your dog from a devastating disease caused by worms blocking blood flow in the heart by our giving an injection once every six months as opposed to trying to remember to give a pill once a month and then having to remember to pick up refills?  What if it cost the same and we reminded you with a postcard or email when it was due?  You would?  Good, we can help.

Heartworm disease is a prevalent disease in the Kansas City area and exists anywhere that mosquitoes breed.  The mosquito carries the baby heartworm to the next dog.  A dog must be bitten by a mosquito to get heartworms.  For many years veterinarians have been preventing and treating heartworms.  In the early years medications had to be given daily.  Later new drugs were developed that could be given once a month.  In recent years a new product, ProHeart 6, became available as injection that works every day for six months.  A once a year product is now being developed.  Studies have shown that less than 50% of those dogs receiving monthly preventives receive their medication on time.

When ProHeart 6 first came on the market, many of our clients chose this product as an improved method of preventing heartworms.  Our hospital found the product as safe as or safer than most medications or vaccines.  Less than a handful of our patients had some soreness at the injection site.  Unfortunately, a few well-intended pet owners around the country blamed ProHeart 6 for many sad situations that were caused by other disease processes.  The product was voluntarily taken from the market by the manufacturer in 2004.  Additional studies over the next few years found the product to be as safe as it had been originally reported and it was brought back on the market.  You may view a PDF file on ProHeart6 at  http://www.proheart6.com/docs/client_info_03_09.pdf.

Due to the fact that the dog owner compliance in giving monthly heartworm preventives is poor, veterinarians recommend that dogs be tested once a year.  When ProHeart 6 is given every six months, the possibility of a heartworm infection drops to essentially zero.  Therefore, after any dog has been on ProHeart 6 for twelve months and then tests negative for heartworms, future annual testing is not required, as long as the injections are given on time.  This makes ProHeart 6 a less expensive alternative in the long run to oral preventives and provides more effective and continuous protection.

Below is a video of heartworm microfilaria visible on a blood smear:

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