Friday, August 12, 2011

Urgent Post - Immiticide Unavailability - AHS Recommendations

Updating this 8/18/11 with information copied/pasted from the links.

The link above has all the information and recommendations from the American Heartworm Society - thanks to Mary Ann and Lisa for these links for the blog!  is the article from the Veterinary Information Network - check out WHY this is happening here.
Immiticide availability has been shaky since early last year, when Merial, the animal health arm of Sanofi, reported that its U.S. supplier could no longer obtain the product’s active ingredient, and the FDA was hesitant to allow Merial’s overseas supplier to fill American orders. As a result, Merial stopped allowing veterinarians to simply order and stock the drug in an effort to conserve U.S. supplies and implemented a “restricted distribution program.” Translation: Veterinarians treating only severe cases of heartworm disease could access the drug on a case-by-case basis with approval from the company.

In an email exchange with the VIN News Service, Mahanes noted that Merial’s latest Immiticide supply problems are not tied to the troubles of 2010. Rather, it is “a new and separate manufacturing challenge," she writes.

“This situation is related to technical issues providing finished product to us. The finished product is made by a manufacturing company in the U.S.," she explains. "… We are working diligently to mitigate this situation, and there is a possibility that an alternate source of supply may be identified."
We will be calling Mila's vet to make sure that her second treatment is still set. (it is!)

Also - this is the why of the activity restriction when they are diagnosed - I don't think I've ever seen it put so clearly:

4. Restrict ALL activity of the dog! Limit ALL exercise!
• The severity of heartworm disease is directly related to the activity level of the dog.
• As physical activity increases, pathology associated with adult heartworms increases.

From that urgent alert and recommendations from the AHS (American Heartworm Society):

While the unavailability persists, heartworm-positive dogs should be managed to achieve three primary goals:
1. Reduce potential pathology from the infection.
2. Maintain the health of the dog until it can be appropriately treated.
3. Prevent additional heartworm infection of the dog.

These goals may be achieved by strict adherence to the following - basic overview:
1. Limit the activity level of the dog to reduce pathology. (Really important! More activity makes the dog SICKER FASTER)
2. Carefully place the non-protected dog on heartworm prevention. (see the PDF)
3. Administer doxycycline to reduce pathology and infective potential of heartworms.
The doxycycline protocol would be 1 month on, 2 months off, 1 month on, 2 months off, etc.

All the details to review with your veterinarian are in that PDF. You should probably print and bring the whole PDF with you so they can see the source of the information and all the footnoting stuff.

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