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Heartworm 2020 Aims to Boost Number of Protected Dogs

Heartworm 2020 Aims to Boost Number of Protected Dogs
Heartworm 2020 aims to get half a million more dogs on year-round heartworm disease prevention. Photo Credit: Courtesy Boehringer-Ingelheim
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Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, maker of Heartgard Plus (ivermectin-pyrantel), issued a challenge to veterinary practices: Protect 20 new dogs in your clinic by Jan. 1, 2020.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health issued the challenge after a recent report from the American Heartworm Society (AHS) showed a 21 percent rise in heartworm incidence in three years. The campaign, announced at the 2019 VMX conference in Orlando, Fla., aims to increase the number of dogs receiving heartworm prevention in 2019.

“If every clinic does their part to get 20 new dogs on prevention, that means 583,240 more dogs will be protected from this potentially deadly disease in 2019 than were protected in 2018,” says Sarah Cloud, Heartgard brand director, in a release from Boehringer Ingelheim.

The AHS Report

Given the highly preventable nature of heartworms, prevention practices are the cornerstone of any practice’s heartworm management program, says Chris Rehm, DVM, President of the American Heartworm Society in an AHS release. “Unfortunately, the latest AHS survey found that incidence has been trending up rather than down, with the number of infected dogs per clinic rising by 21 percent in the U.S. and its territories between 2013 and 2016.

“Heartworm disease is a complex disease, and there are no shortcuts to appropriate treatment,” Rehm emphasizes, noting that the AHS protocol was designed to kill adult worm infections with minimal complications while stopping the progression of disease. “Skipping any one of these steps can affect both the safety and efficacy of heartworm treatment.”

The Heartworm 2020 Contest

To help clinics meet the Heartworm 2020 goal, the company is providing heartworm disease education tools and incentives for pet owners. Clinics will also receive tracking tools and educational resources for team members. Starting in March, each clinic that participates can enter the Heartworm 2020 contest for a chance to win prizes for the clinic and for veterinary team members.

“There is still a perception that heartworm disease doesn’t impact certain regions of the country or that dogs are only at risk during the summer months, and the AHS data indicates that just isn’t the case,” says Zach Mills, DVM, head of U.S. Pet Veterinary Professional Services for Boehringer Ingelheim, in the release. “Heartworm 2020 will help educate pet owners on heartworm disease so that they understand why prevention is so important.”

More information about the Heartworm 2020 initiative is available at heartgardclinic.com or from company sales representatives.

Educate Your Clients

Want to help educate your clinic’s clients? Download and print our handout on heartworm disease.

Do you have a client who will be traveling or relocating with their dog? Read Have Dog, Will Travel for important information to give them.

Learn More

To access the complete set of AHS canine and feline heartworm guidelines, visit heartwormsociety.org.