MATT MILLER, DVM
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?
by John McCall, MS, PHD
A. Heartworm disease is considered the most important vector-borne disease of dogs in the U.S. and many other parts of the world. Targeting vectors as part of a preventive approach to controlling mosquito-borne human diseases has been critically important for decades, but has received much less attention in companion animal disease prevention.
CLARKE ATKINS, DVM, DIPLOMATE ACVIM (Internal Medicine and Cardiology)
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.
MARTHA SMITH-BLACKMORE, DVM
Heartworm disease (HWD), caused by the mosquito-borne nematode Dirofilaria immitis, is endemic in most areas of the United States, including urban areas where most of the U.S. population (about 80%) lives.
ELIZABETH CLYDE DRUIN, DVM
The American Heartworm Society (AHS) guidelines for heartworm prevention, diagnosis and treatment are much more than reference documents. They equip veterinarians like me to make life-saving differences in my patients’ lives.
CHRISTOPHER J. REHM, DVM
The American Heartworm Society (AHS) has developed almost 30 pages of guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heartworm disease in dogs and cats.1 But the AHS’ two basic precepts are summed up in just 12 words: test every 12 months and prevent heartworm disease 12 months a year. While this sounds simple, achieving compliance can be challenging.
ROBERT STANNARD, DVM
There's no question among veterinarians that heartworm prevention should be a priority in the southeastern U.S., where large reservoirs of infected animals and high mosquito populations fuel the highest heartworm rates in the country. But what if you practice in an area less renowned for heartworm?
STEPHEN JONES, DVM
Every three years, the American Heartworm Society (AHS) conducts a nationwide incidence survey of veterinarians to understand trends in heartworm infection. And the news from the just-completed 2013 survey is that heartworm incidence is widespread in many parts of the country.
C. THOMAS NELSON, DVM
In January of this year, the American Heartworm Society (AHS) announced revisions to our canine and feline heartworm guidelines. Providing guidance to the veterinary profession in the form of guidelines is one of the most important responsibilities of our board, and we are committed to aligning our recommendations with new scientific findings about heartworm prevention, diagnosis and treatment.