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Veterinarians today are fortunate to have several point-of-care heartworm tests. In the majority of cases, these D. immitis antigen tests meet practitioners’ needs for speed and accuracy. However, when test results conflict with clinical expectations, the added step of heat pretreatment(HPT) of the sample should be considered.

Is heartworm incidence up or down in your practice area?

The latest American Heartworm Society Heartworm Incidence Survey has uncovered both challenges and opportunities for veterinarians in practice. On one hand, heartworm incidence has inched upwards in the three years since the AHS survey was last conducted. On the other hand, the power to reverse this upward trend is, quite literally, in our hands.

APRIL IS HEARTWORM AWARENESS MONTH and the ideal time to discover the many resources available from the American Heartworm Society (AHS). Our goal: to arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to defeat this serious parasite.

Q. I’m a big believer in heartworm prevention, but I find myself repeating my “heartworm 101” lecture over and over to clients. Is it worth it?

Q. While the American Heartworm Society (AHS) recommends year-round heartworm prevention for dogs and cats, many veterinarians and owners take a seasonal approach. What is the AHS’ rationale?

Q. Why is melarsomine recommended by the American Heartworm Society (AHS), given the potential for complications during adulticide treatment?

Q. The American Heartworm Society (AHS) Guidelines recommend heartworm prevention nationwide. Is it really necessary to use preventives in areas where heartworm is not endemic?

Q. Mosquitoes are an essential player in the life cycle of Dirofilaria immitis, which causes heartworm infection. What do veterinarians need to know about the role of mosquito control in heartworm prevention?

Feline heartworm disease (HWD) has a low index of suspicion and is significantly under-diagnosed. Knowing when to test cats for HWD—and whether to test them—is important. The challenge boils down to this:  no single test can accurately detect heartworms at all stages in cats. Thoroughly understanding the limitations of antigen and antibody tests is necessary to utilizing these assays with confidence.

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