Today's Veterinary Practice

NOV-DEC 2018

Today's Veterinary Practice provides comprehensive information to keep every small animal practitioner up to date on companion animal medicine and surgery as well as practice building and management.

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ESSENTIALS NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 11 Heartworm disease is one of the most serious—and preventable—diseases threatening canine patients. The 2016 American Heartworm Society (AHS) Incidence Survey determined that the number of infected dogs per clinic rose by 21% in the United States and its territories between 2013 and 2016, with almost 1 in 4 veterinarians reporting that heartworm disease was "on the rise" in their respective practices. Environmental and climate change, the relocation of microfilaremic dogs, and the expansion of microfilaremic wild canid territories are all considered contributing factors. Mosquito-borne human illness has followed a similar pattern; a May 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the number of cases of vector-borne human disease from mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks more than tripled between 2004 and 2016. Reducing the transmission and incidence of heartworms is a fundamental goal of the AHS, and the AHS Heartworm Guidelines on prevention, testing, and treatment are among the Society's most important resources. Experts in parasitology and other specialties recently reviewed the latest scientific studies on heartworms and released 2018 guidelines with the following updates. HEARTWORM PREVENTION Veterinarians should weigh the relative risk for heartworm infection in their practice areas when making specific recommendations for heartworm prevention to clients. ■ The AHS recommends nationwide, year-round use of macrocyclic lactone (ML) preventives. The Society also encourages practical steps to reduce heartworm transmission, such as keeping pets indoors at night and eliminating environmental sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed. ■ The use of mosquito repellents/ectoparasiticides to control the mosquito vector should be considered and guided by (1) the prevalence of heartworm- positive animals in a particular region, (2) the Risk Management Approaches to Heartworm Disease Tom Nelson, DVM Animal Medical Center, Anniston, Alabama HEARTWORM HOTLINE The Heartworm Hotline column is presented in partnership between Today's Veterinary Practice and the American Heartworm Society ( ). The goal of the column is to communicate practical and timely information on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heartworm disease, as well as highlight current topics related to heartworm research and findings in veterinary medicine. ESSENTIALS

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