Veterinary groups meet to address heartworm resistance concerns


A consensus statement is being crafted to address growing concerns over resistance to heartworm preventives.

National Report

-- A consensus statement is in the works to address questions surrounding the development of resistance to heartworm preventives.

In fact, leaders from the American Heartworm Society and Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) met in late August to "explore the potential relationships between resistance to heartworm products and veterinary and pet owner compliance, loss of product efficacy and heartworm testing and treatment protocols."

In interviews with DVM Newsmagazine, both CAPC Executive Director Michael Paul and AHS President Wallace Graham cited the interest and need to explore this issue in greater detail to find out why a population of animals in the Gulf region tested positive for heartworm infection, despite being on heartworm prevention.

As a result of this roundtable, both organizations "acknowledge the possibility of resistance and encourage further resistance-related research."

In addition, both groups are encouraging veterinarians to continue the use of heartworm preventive treatment protocols.

The meeting was attended by veterinary experts, including Drs. Byron Blagburn, Dwight Bowman and Sharon Patton, Matt Miller, John McCall and Tom Nelson.

Dr. Jay Stewart, president of CAPC, stresses the investigation of heartworm product efficacy should not lead to an abandonment of preventive methods to control heartworm infection.

Graham said in a prepared statement, "We must continue to take a collaborative approach, across organizations and medical disciplines, to address concern among the public and veterinary communities about heartworm resistance. We'll continue to move forward with additional studies and to explore new preventive and therapeutic strategies. At the same time, we want to stress that compliance and year-round administration of preventives for non-infected pets remain the most important methods in preventing heartworm disease," Graham says.

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