The Niagara Falls Humane Society had a real strange occurrence… the simultaneous arrival of four different dogs that were all victim to heartworm. Only two being related, it’s very strange that these animals all happened to be affected, especially when you realize what heartworm is and how it’s spread.
Okay, so what is heartworm?
Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that lives mostly in the lung arteries, but can migrate into the heart as well. Look up some photos if you want to get really squeamish (seriously, ewww).
This disease can only be caused by a mosquito bite. What does that mean? It means that dogs (and other animals) cannot spread this condition to each other. So that’s some good news!
So what does the NFHS do with this motley crew looking for treatment? Well, the fine folks over there treat them of course! Some shelters will just set dogs up for adoption and tell prospective owners that the dogs are sick and you’re going to have to pay to fix them up. Not the Niagara Falls Humane Society! With some creative thinking and help from Merial (the animal health company that manufactures a medical treatment for heartworm), these dogs are now in top shape and looking for new homes.
They’ve had a really long road though. Do you know what a dog goes through during treatment? It’s a tough battle not easily fought.
After receiving medication, the worms begin to die. As they are breaking up in the body (which takes months), the dog MUST be kept isolated, quiet, and calm. Exercise can cause the worm bits to block the pulmonary vessels and kill the dog. It’s a very tough situation and requires a lot of patience to manage a dog going through treatment.
So how are the dogs now? You tell me…
Residing at the shelter since November, these dogs have almost become family to the staff. Dan and I got to play with three of the dogs (one has already been adopted). It was a glorious day full of dog kisses and belly rubs.
As an incentive for adoption, Merial is generously supplying a stack of Heartgard for heartworm prevention for each of these three newly heartworm-free dogs — Rosie, Havoc, and Kramer.
For the future proud owners, you’ll be happy to know that as fully treated and heartworm-free dogs they will live perfectly normal and full lives. Their condition is healthy and this bump in the road will have no impact on the future.
But, and this needs to be emphasized for ALL animal owners, heartworm prevention is necessary. Some vets are recommending year-round treatment (and not just six months). Purchasing prevention medicine is much more affordable, not to mention easier on your pet, than treating heartworm. All it takes is a single mosquito to transfer the disease. Just one. Think about your pet’s life and happiness. And please think about all the doggie kisses and belly rubs.
Niagara Falls Humane Society
The Niagara Falls Humane Society helps find loving homes for unwanted and mistreated animals, as well as trying its best to reunite lost pets with their rightful owners.
The NFHS provides a safe haven for pets in limbo, before they are placed in a new home. The Society tries to alleviate the suffering of all animals and to eliminate euthanasia as a method of population control for pets. At the NFHS, no healthy adoptable animal will ever be euthanised.