Heart­worm hits re­gion

Speak to a vet about pre­ven­tion

Central Queensland News - - NEWS - Aden Stokes Aden.Stokes@cqnews.com.au

THE Cen­tral Highlands re­gion is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a dra­matic in­crease in the num­ber of heart­worm cases in dogs.

Mara­boon Vet Surgery has had six dogs test pos­i­tive in the last few months and they ex­pect this num­ber to grow ex­po­nen­tially over the next 12 months.

Vet­eri­nar­ian Dr An­gela Suther­land said the dogs di­ag­nosed with heart­worm ranged in ages and sizes, from a three-year-old Jack Rus­sell ter­rier to a sev­enyear-old staffy ter­rier.

“Some pa­tients were show­ing no signs of ill­ness, where oth­ers were show­ing cough­ing and ex­er­cise in­tol­er­ance,” Dr Suther­land said.

“None of dogs di­ag­nosed were on con­stant heart­worm pre­ven­tion.

“One was spo­rad­i­cally given a monthly tablet and the rest were on no pre­ven­tion at all.”

Dr Suther­land said pre­ven­tion could be in the form of monthly treat­ments or a yearly in­jec­tion.

“Pre­ven­tion is only as good at the owner’s vig­i­lance in pro­vid­ing treat­ment,” she said.

“It is thought that up to 40 per cent of heart­worm in­fected dogs have been on monthly pre­ven­tion, but even miss­ing one dose can leave your dog at risk.

“We rec­om­mend that all dogs in the area that have not been on reg­u­lar heart­worm pre­ven­tion be tested for heart­worm.

“If your dog has not been on reg­u­lar pre­ven­tion or you are un­sure, it is best to have your dog tested be­fore start­ing or recom­menc­ing any heart­worm pre­ven­tion as they can be­come ill if an in­ap­pro­pri­ate pre­ven­tion is given.”

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Suther­land, since the Queens­land flood in 2011, mos­quito num­bers, and there­fore mos­quito borne dis­ease in­clud­ing heart­worm, were on the rise all over the state.

“The lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of heart­worm pre­ven­tion has doc­u­mented over 1000 cases in last three years, with over 80 per cent of those be­ing in Cen­tral to Northern Queens­land,” she said.

“It is spread by over 60 mos­quito species.

“A sin­gle mos­quito bite is all that is re­quired to in­fect a dog that is not on ad­e­quate heart­worm pre­ven­tion, even if they never have con­tact with other dogs.”

Heart­worm dis­ease is se­ri­ous and po­ten­tially fa­tal.

For pre­ven­tion and treat­ment of heart­worm please con­tact your lo­cal vet­eri­nar­ian.

PHOTO: ADEN STOKES

FA­TAL DIS­EASE: Dr An­gela Suther­land urges dog own­ers to seek pre­ven­tion for heart­worm af­ter a dra­matic in­crease.

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