Today's Veterinary Practice

MAR-APR 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 13 MARCH/APRIL 2018 ● TVPJOURNAL.COM ESSENTIALS The hurricanes of late summer/early fall 2017, which necessitated the evacuation and relocation of thousands of shelter animals and homeless pets, highlighted some of the challenges associated with pet relocation. Whether pets have been evacuated following a natural disaster or are vacationing with owners, participating in professional competitions or moving across country with their families, relocation can be associated with certain health risks, particularly if the pets being transported are dogs infected with heartworms. At issue: Mosquitoes feeding on a microfilaria-positive dog that was rescued or moved from one region to another can quickly become heartworm vectors for other unprotected dogs. Not only is the health of the originally infected dog in jeopardy, but so is that of unprotected pets within flight reach of those mosquitoes. Fortunately, measures can be taken to protect the health of both infected dogs and pets living nearby. To help veterinarians balance their dual role of protecting individual animal health and welfare as well as that of animal populations, the AHS and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) have formulated evidence- based best practices for minimizing transmission of heartworms in relocated dogs ( FIGURE 1 ). These recommendations are applicable regardless of heartworm status and can serve as a foundation for client conversations on basic preventive health care. Full details on the new best practices, as well as references, can be found at heartwormsociety.org and at sheltervet.org . The best practices include the following steps: ■ Testing of all dogs 6 months of age or older prior to relocation to determine heartworm status ■ Relocation delay for heartworm- and microfilaria- positive dogs to prevent heartworm transmission ■ Pre-treatment (eg, administration of macrocyclic lactone drugs, application of an EPA-approved product that kills and repels mosquitoes, and antibiotics effective against Wolbachia (eg, doxycycline) for heartworm- positive dogs when relocation cannot be delayed shutterstock.com/Myronovych Hitting the Road Heartworm-Free Brian A. DiGangi, DVM, MS, DABVP (Canine and Feline Practice, Shelter Medicine Practice) AHS HEARTWORM HOTLINE The Heartworm Hotline column is presented in partnership between Today's Veterinary Practice and the American Heartworm Society ( heartwormsociety.org ). 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.

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