This unavailability is even making the news: http://articles.kspr.com/2011-08-12/heartworm_29882623 (snipped some - so not direct quotes below)
"If the dog is already sick from the disease it will be a big deal." It takes a dog two years from when the infection is contracted to show symptoms. So now, more than ever, Hale is pushing regular testing and preventative measures. At Hale's practice only 40% of the regular patients use some kind of heartworm prevention and if you include all the dogs he sees for just emergencies that statistic drops to 20%. "It's not all due to cost. A lot of it is they don't understand or don't know."
But unlike the past there's no back-up plan.And as always, our poor shelter dogs teach us the lesson in the harshest ways:
If you are in the Greensboro, NC area though, you can help by fostering or adopting a HW+ dog and starting to follow the AHS recommendations linked at the top of this post.
GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP)—A shortage of the fastest treatment for heartworm medicine has led some Triad animal shelters to euthanize dogs with the condition.
Guilford County Animal Shelter director Marsha Williams said she has enough doses to treat two dogs. However, as she recently took in 21 dogs that had the condition, she said she is left with no choice but to euthanize them.
"It's devastating for us," Williams said.We were going to talk about the types of treatment in this post - that will be another time. We are going to hope that the Immiticide unavailability ends in the next few months. Everyone hope together for that.
But right now, there is a situation with the unavailability of Immticide, so it is even more important for all of us to be telling people about preventing this disease. That's the education part the vet above is talking about.
We can be part of that. (you can like this post on Facebook, Twitter, your own blogs, etc, below, at the bottom of this post - help to educate with a simple click) You can copy and paste our materials too if you would like, just link back to the blog.
Also as that vet said in the first news article, in this economy, people are understandably looking for ways to cut costs. The yearly heartworm test and the purchase of prevention medicines could be one thing to go. This is one thing though that may cost much more in the long run - to the pet's health, and to the owner in terms of money.
Lots of times it looks like people are buying their whole year supply of heartworm meds all at once at the vet office, and that's a bigger expense in one bill for sure. If you are close enough to make it cheap enough, you can also purchase them every month, so it fits the budget better.
People also often look at, but really need to be careful with, the cheaper online medicines. These are not always real meds! Whole Dog Journal recommended that you look for a VIPPS pharmacy: http://nabp.net/programs/accreditation/vet-vipps/find-a-vet-vipps-online-pharmacy/ which you can do right there - we are all about making things easy on this blog!
Check to see if these pharmacies will pay for heartworm treatment if your pet should become HW+ even if you give the meds every month. Vet offices may do so - ask them too while you're out asking so many questions! Side note - make sure if you give Heartgard that you break it up or that your dogs will chew the medicine.
Anywhooo, cost of prevention is pretty cheap compared to cost of TREATING heartworm disease. The money part and the whole wear and tear on the body part as well, obviously! No one wants to feel like they are in heart failure, that's for sure, and that's what heartworm disease is good at doing as it advances.
But let's talk money! Where we are, heartworm treatment for a medium sized dog costs about $700, if you get a good deal. In other areas of the country it can be much higher.
When we started this blog, we had 4 heartworm positive dogs. Now there are 7. Let's not do that math.
So 4 HW+ dogs = approximately $2800
$2800 = 336 large dog Interceptor heartworm prevention pills at current costs.
That's enough for 28 years of heartworm pills for one dog, if given year round. Obviously a silly thought!
Or 7 years of heartworm pills given year round per dog at prices found from a reputable online pet pharmacy.
So the this or that between prevention and treatment once again makes prevention the better choice.