Heartworm Prevention Policy
Heartworms are parasites that inhabit the heart and lungs of infected dogs. Heartworm disease can cause serious health problems, and may eventually lead to heart failure and death. Heartworm infection is transmitted by mosquitoes. The prevalence of this deadly disease has increased steadily since it was first identified and now affects pets in all 50 states.
It is our goal at 4 Paws Pet Clinic to have all of our patients on some form of heartworm prevention. We carry a variety of products to protect your pet from this deadly disease.
In order to keep your dog safe and healthy these products must be administered every month, as any lapse in treatment can put your dog at risk for picking up heartworms.
There also is a serious risk of illness and death if heartworm prevention is given to a pet that is positive for heartworm disease. Because of these risks and our concern for our patients we have certain guidelines for the dispensing as well as the writing of prescriptions for heartworm prevention.
- There must be an established doctor / patient relationship in order to fill a prescription. This means that the doctor has done a physical exam on the pet in the last 12 months.
- All pets over the age of 6 months must have a current heartworm test on file.
- In order to refill a prescription we must have proof of consistent purchase of heartworm prevention.
- If there is a lapse in purchase or administration of product we will need to retest the pet before refilling prescription.
- It takes 6 months from the day a pet is bit by a mosquito carrying heartworms to show up positive. Because of this a 6 month retest may be required to continue refilling medication.
- If medication has been purchased at another veterinarian we will need to verify with that vet before being able to refill.
- If prevention is purchased online or through a catalog we require that the pet be tested yearly and that the owner be fully aware of the risk in using those products.
- The manufacturer does not guarantee these products.
Example: If your dog is taking Heartgard purchased from 1-800-PetMeds and shows up positive Merial, the manufacturer, will not pay for the heartworm treatment of your dog. If the prevention had been purchased through your regular veterinarian they would.
- Many of these products are made outside of the US.
- The storage and shipping conditions are unknown and not regulated because they are not coming directly from the manufacturer to the veterinarian.