August 2, 2011
Last week, a woman brought a small dog she had found in Whispering Pines to Moore Humane Society. Named JP, he was a non-neutered male, weighing 12 pounds, mostly fur. We tested him for heartworm, with a strong positive result. On Wednesday we took him to see Dr. Harrison at Animal Health Center for further evaluation. Dr. Harrison told us that JP was in congestive heart failure due to advanced heartworm and could not withstand treatment. Such a devastating diagnosis for a sweet dog, and so troubling because heartworm is preventable.
We brought him back to the Shelter, wanting to keep him comfortable for his remaining days. Because of the high temperatures, we kept JP in the Shelter office where it was cooler. JP's condition worsened over the next 36 hours. On Friday morning, he was almost comatose, suffering from extreme congestion with discharge from his nose and in his eyes. Shelter staff brought him back to Dr. Harrison's office, where he was peacefully put to sleep.
We bring this to your attention in effort to increase public awareness of this disease. Most pet owners know that heartworm is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Year round preventative medication is essential, especially in southern states where mosquitoes can survive and reappear throughout the winter. Vets will check their patients annually and recommend medication based on the animal's weight. What many pet owners don't realize is that it can take 8 months after the mosquito bite for the protein (indicating the presence of heartworm) to show up in the blood test.
Please keep your animals protected. There is no need for them to suffer from something that is so easily preventable. Rest in peace, JP; may your spirit soar. And may your death serve as a caution for all of us.