As early as the onset of the first discovery of Heartworm disease, researchers and people from the scientific and medical field have been trying to solve the problem brought about by the widespread-parasitic disease that has been affecting domestic and wild animals most especially dogs and cats in southern parts of the world. Since transmission is very easy for heartworm disease to infect a number of animals with just a single mosquito bite, heartworm disease has been very difficult and challenging to treat. Although Food and Drug Administration has approved certain drugs that could treat heartworm disease; early detection and urgent response from the dog owners must be done before the adult worms grow in large numbers decreasing the possibility of successful treatment.
As per research, heartworm disease symptoms include intolerance to tiring activities, exhaustion, coughing, coughing up with blood, shortness of breath, gasping of air, vomiting and gagging, reduced appetite resulting to emaciated and undernourished bodies, and major organ failures such as lungs, heart, liver and kidneys that could lead to the animals expiration. A veterinarian from the Food and Drug Administrations Center for Veterinary Medicine or CVM named Martine Hartogensis, DVM, maintained that “prevention is much easier than treatment,” since preventive drugs are given to pets only once a month, prevention may be easier to do than treating the disease.
Authorities have been continually trying their best to campaign for prevention rather than treatment of infected dogs. One reason for this is because treatment is costly and most likely toxic not just to the worms but to the dogs immunity as well. Since the treatment includes chemical therapy that requires consecutive visits to the veterinary clinic, updates on chest x-rays and administering of series of injections, dog owners will have to spend more money on treatment than on prevention. After series of injections, dogs will have to be closely monitored up to 24 hours, and they must be regulated from tiring activities.
There are three types of heartworm preventives and these are: ivermectin and milbemycin oxime in the form of oral pill or tablet; selamectin and moxidectin in the form of topical liquid which is squeezed from a tube onto the pets back; and injectable moxidectins that are only used for dogs.
Among these preventives against heartworms, is the injectable moxidectin commonly known as the ProHeart6 Sustained Release Injectable for dogs is the only preventive injectable approved by the FDA of the United States of America. The ProHeart 6 is to be injected for six months to treat the infection. This medicine was approved in 2001. Since then, investigations on the side effects of this drug have paved way for the manufacturers to manage the risks and other health issues in conncetion with the drug to improve its quality based on the findings of FDA. Manufacturers of this drug have performed research studies that indicate some of the solvents used in this drug caused allergic reactions to the animal. Likewise, manufacturers of this drug have changed manufacturing specifications, and have internationally made the product available, and have revised the label of the product to follow the suggestions and criticisms made by the FDA.