Today's Veterinary Practice

JAN-FEB 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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17 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 ● TVPJOURNAL.COM ESSENTIALS PREVENTIVE MEDICINE There are several options for medical prevention of HWD in ferrets ( TABLE 2 ). The use of ivermectin 0.05 to 0.2 mg/kg PO every 30 days, milbemycin oxime 1.15 to 2.33 mg/kg PO every 30 days, or selamectin 6 to 18 mg/kg topically every 30 days is described. 8,10,20 In one study, a combination of 10% imidacloprid and 1% moxidectin 0.4 mL/ferret (up to 4 kg) topically every 30 days was a successful preventative. 21 In addition to medical prevention of HWD, housing the ferret in a mosquito-free environment is highly desirable. 1 D immitis resistant to macrocyclic lactones have been described in the US Mississippi Delta. 5 Therefore, patients receiving macrocyclic lactones to treat HWD should be screened annually for circulating microfilariae. 3 However, since circulating microfilariae are not always present in an infected ferret, this screening method must be used with caution. SUMMARY The diagnosis and management of HWD in ferrets is not as straightforward as in dogs and cats for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, there are fewer data available for ferrets regarding management of this life-threatening disease, and we hope more data will become available from cases managed in different clinics across the country. As with other pets, prevention of HWD is recommended. Although the vast majority of ferrets are housed indoors, a preventive approach should be implemented year-round, especially in endemic areas. TABLE 1 Heartworm Treatment Options for Ferrets THERAPY MEDICATION PROTOCOL HEALTH RISK Conservative: Slow kill adulticide Prednisone 0.5 mg/kg PO q12h Ivermectin 0.05–0.2 mg/kg IM every 30 days Low Conservative: Slow kill adulticide Moxidectin 0.17 mg/ferret SC every 30 days Low Adulticide Melarsomine dihydrochloride 2.5–3.25 mg/kg IM on day 0, day 1, and day 31 High Surgery Transvenous extraction of adult heartworms High TABLE 2 Heartworm Preventives For Ferrets MEDICATION DOSAGE Ivermectin 0.05–0.2 mg/kg PO every 30 days Milbemycin oxime 1.15–2.33 mg/kg PO every 30 days Selamectin* 6–18 mg/kg topical every 30 days 10% Imidacloprid + 1% moxidectin 0.4 mL/ferret (up to 4kg) topically every 30 days *Selamectin is considered a very safe preventive; even at a high dose of 35 mg/kg, no side effects have been reported in ferrets. 19 Leonie Kondert Leonie Kondert, DVM, served as a Zoo and Exotic Medicine intern at the University of Georgia. Dr. Kondert received her DVM from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria and successfully completed the ECVFG exam. She also completed one year of training in Zoological Pathology at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology and worked three years with small animals in private practice. Her research interests include small mammal medicine and surgery. Joerg Mayer Joerg Mayer, DVM, MS, DABVP, DACZM, received his doctoral degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Budapest, Hungary. He moved to the United States for an internship in zoological medicine and surgery at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Mayer then attended the Royal Veterinary College in London, England, to study for his master's degree in wild animal health. After 10 years at Tufts University as the head of the clinical service for exotic animals, he became an associate professor in zoological medicine at the University of Georgia. He lectures regularly at national and international conferences on all aspects of exotic animal medicine, and he has published many scientific articles and book chapters, some of which have been translated into French, Spanish, and Portuguese. To see the references for this article, please visit .

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