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New Canine Heartworm Guidelines Released


Since our last post was about feline heartworm disease, we thought it only fair to mention canine heartworm disease and stress the importance of treating dogs, too.

American Heartworm Society Presents Important Changes to Earlier Heartworm Standards

WILMINGTON, DE — FEBRUARY 15, 2010 The American Heartworm Society (AHS) today releases new canine heartworm guidelines for 2010. These guidelines are considered the official veterinary industry perspective for epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of the disease and include some notable differences from previous versions.

It is estimated that currently more than 1 million dogs in the United States are infected with heartworms. This potentially fatal disease has been found in dogs native to all 50 states. Even as diagnostic methods advance, preventive therapies improve and disease awareness increases among veterinary professionals and pet owners, heartworm continues to present a serious threat to dogs’ health.

The new guidelines are based on the latest information presented at the 2007 Triennial Symposium of the AHS and were prepared and approved by the executive board of the organization. Important highlights include the following recommendations:

  • Annual testing for heartworm disease in all areas of the United States
  • Year-round administration of prevention drugs to increase compliance, control zoonotic parasites and prevent heartworm disease
  • Use of the alternate three-treatment protocol for symptomatic and asymptomatic dogs; a departure from the recommended two-treatment protocol used previously

In addition to these updated recommendations, the new guidelines discuss potential causes of increased heartworm prevalence and recent reports of possible resistance issues with prevention products.
AHS also presents information for the veterinarian on use of the antibiotic doxycycline in the treatment of heartworm disease.
“This significant disease has cost the lives of far too many of our beloved dogs, and that’s why it is more crucial than ever for veterinary professionals to have access to the latest guidelines,” said Dr. Sheldon Rubin, president of the American Heartworm Society. “One of the most important keys to managing this preventable disease is professional knowledge.”

The 14-page guide is targeted to veterinary professionals and available as a free, downloadable PDF file at the American Heartworm Society website,


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).


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  2. What a terrible disease, particularly with some yearly maintenance may control to a point where the effects are minimal. Heartworms are in particular a concern and the most severe of worms that occur in animals.

  3. Oh how sad! Particularly when this can be prevented with annual maintenance. I am also a believer in humans taking preventative courses of worm tablets. The whole family including animals should take them together as a routine household measure of maintaining ones health.

  4. jonathan mcdermott on

    I would like to know were the 1 million number comes from. i have read the entire 14 page article which is sited on many sites but still can not get a source for that number. There is however a map on the AHS website that shows a dramatically lower number. I think it is really interesting that a ad can be run on the television without the solid backing of a peer reviewed study. this is bad propaganda.

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This post contains affiliate links, which means we earn a commission for sales referred from links on our site. We're also Amazon Associates, so we may earn from those qualifying purchases, too. Learn more!