How It Began:
My family began searching for three years through countless pet stores, shelters, newspapers, and private dog breeders for a loving and loyal friend. Our search happily ended when my family was searching the Internet and stumbled upon a two-year-old shaggy dog that had been rescued from a high-kill shelter in Houston, Texas.
Teddy was saved by Houston Shaggy Dog Rescue. At his veterinarian check up, it soon was discovered that he tested positive for heartworm disease through an antigen test. Teddy had to be given two injections of arsenic and remain in a crate. He had to be inactive and carefully monitored for a couple of months. The treatment for heartworm disease is very expensive and difficult to recover from. It can also be potentially toxic to the dog’s body and can cause serious complications, such as life-threatening blood clots to the dog’s lungs. Treatment is very expensive because it requires multiple visits to the veterinarian, with the process of blood work, and X-rays. The cost ranges from $600 for a small dog to $2,000 for a larger dog. High kill shelters do not have the time or funds to treat these heartworm positive animals.
It broke my heart to learn that my dog had endured great pain. I researched further, and learned that heartworm disease can result in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and even death. Heartworm is caused by a parasitic worm, Dirofilaria immitis, transmitted from mosquitoes. The worms are called “heartworms” because they live in the heart, lungs, and other blood vessels of an infected animal. In the United States, heartworm disease is highly prevalent in the south. However, they are present in all fifty states.
Since heartworm treatment is expensive, and there is a chance that your pet may not survive the treatment, preventatives are a great solution. These products require a veterinarian’s prescription. The use of preventatives depend on your location and your dog’s health. Please talk to your veterinarian about the best way to protect your pet.
Having learned the devastating effects of heartworm from my loving companion, I seek to educate pet owners across the country about the importance of prevention. Wags 4 Hope also works to encourage responsible pet ownership and help raise funds for shelter and rescue animals’ medical needs. I cannot imagine my life without Teddy. His wagging gives me hope that so many other animals can be saved.