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How We are Helping Others Treat Heartworm

| September 17, 2021

Toronto Humane Society has years of experience with heartworm – its challenges and its treatments.

This experience has allowed us to develop a highly effective system to care for and treat animals with the disease. We estimate that we’ve treated more heartworm cases than almost any other veterinary clinic in Canada.

The challenges of treating heartworm

Heartworm is a serious disease in which parasitic worms live in the arteries of the lungs, and sometimes also in the heart. It can be fatal if left untreated.

The standard treatment is slow, expensive and occasionally dangerous. It involves an antibiotic, a heartworm preventive, and three injections of a medication called melarsomine. It is no walk in the park, quite literally, as strict exercise restriction is an essential component of the treatment process.

What complicates matters further is that some animals have bad reactions to melarsomine. This can prevent it from being used altogether or completed. In many other cases, usually due to financial constraints, melarsomine isn’t a viable option for families, and in some countries, it isn’t available at all.

Sharing alternative treatments to save more lives

Working with the industry’s leading experts in animal welfare, we used our experience to publish the first comprehensive review of alternative heartworm treatments, a relatively recent combination called “moxi-doxy” (for moxidectin and doxycycline). The review demonstrates that there is enough evidence to show that moxi-doxy is a safe and effective alternative when melarsomine is not possible.

Not only that, but the review also serves as a guide for veterinarians, detailing doses, duration, and how to test to ensure the treatment has worked. It will serve as a go-to resource for veterinarians all around the world to provide pet owners with more options and save more lives.

Read the full review here!

Help us publish more reviews like this one

We believe in providing accessible care to all animals and their caregivers. That is why we published this review as Open Access, which means anyone can read it without having to pay for a subscription. But Open Access publications are very expensive for us.

By supporting us with a donation, or by joining a growing number of Humane Champions, you can help us continue to accessible care to animals in need.