In honor of American Heart Month, the Washington Humane Society (WHS) is reminding pet owners about the importance of preventing heartworm disease in pets by providing a monthly preventative, available through a prescription from a veterinarian. Heartworm disease is very common in the DC region due to the high numbers of mosquitoes which spread the disease from affected to unprotected animals. Dogs who become infected with heartworm can have several hundred worms in their lungs, heart, and blood vessels. Left untreated, these worms cause severe heart damage and ultimately, death.
WHS tests every dog who is made available for adoption at its adoption centers, and there has been an unusually high incidence of positive tests in recent weeks. However, thanks to WHS’s willingness to invest the resources—up to $1500 and countless staff hours—necessary to treating heartworm disease, all of these dogs have the potential for long, healthy lives ahead.
In the past year alone, seven dogs in the care of WHS have received treatment for heartworm disease, been cured of the disease, and have successfully found adoptive homes. Billy, an eight-year-old Rottweiler mix who was seized by Humane Law Enforcement after being found living outside in unsanitary and inhumane conditions, underwent treatment for heartworm disease and was adopted in October, 2014.