For all our clients with canine companions, we wish to inform you of the latest protocol for heartworm testing & prevention. We are now using a test that checks for Heartworm, Lyme Disease, and two less common tick- borne diseases called Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis. The current recommendation is to test dogs in heartworm-endemic areas once every two years instead of annually, with the monthly preventative medication (Heartgard or Interceptor) given all 12 months of the year rather than the traditional 7 doses recommended previously. We anticipate that this will result in greater convenience for you and your dog since you will not be required to return for an extra visit each spring for heartworm testing. From now on, the blood test for heartworm disease will be done with every other annual vaccination, regardless of the month, and you will be offered a year’s supply of the preventative medication. In addition to receiving optimal protection against this blood-borne parasite, your dog will also be provided with monthly year-round parasite control against some of the most common intestinal worms. We still recommend an annual fecal sample examination since not all internal parasites are controlled by heartworm prophylaxis.
We now will start testing all dogs once they have reached 7 months of age, regardless of their birth month, and will test them every two years thereafter as long as each of their monthly prevention doses has been properly administered. However, if your pet misses a few doses during the course of the year, our doctors may recommend an additional blood test to assure your pet’s safety.
Remember to use the reminder stickers on your calendars to help you give your pet his or her monthly dosage. Please ask our staff for assistance if you have any questions about the new recommended protocol, and rest assured that we strive, as always, to provide the best care for your four-footed friends.