By Annie Blumenfeld, Guest Blogger
My family searched for years for a loving and loyal friend and we rejoiced when our search happily ended by finding a two-year-old shaggy dog in a Houston, Texas shelter. We brought him home to Connecticut months later and called him Teddy.
At his veterinarian check-up in Texas it was discovered that Teddy tested positive for heartworm disease through an antigen test. This blood test detects specific proteins, called antigens, which are released by adult female heartworms into the dog’s bloodstream. 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 for dogs 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 lungs. Treatment is very expensive because it requires multiple visits to the veterinarian, blood work, and x-rays. It broke my heart to learn that my dog had endured great pain due to his condition.
Heartworm disease is extremely serious and can result in death if untreated. It is caused by a parasitic worm from mosquitoes. These worms are spread through the mosquito bite and produce offspring while living inside the dog. The worms are called “heartworms” because they live in the heart, lungs, and other blood vessels of an infected animal. Heartworm Disease is common in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.
Since, heartworm disease treatment is very expensive it is cost efficient to use preventatives. There are many safe FDA approved products that can be used. These preventatives are used monthly and are simple to administer.
Having learned devastating effects of heartworm disease from my loving companion, I decided to undertake a nationwide education campaign about heartworm disease. I founded Wags 4 Hope in an effort to raise awareness and help support shelter animals’ medical needs. I combine my love of painting with my passion for animals. All of the proceeds raised through my paintings are given to animal shelters and rescues.
Please spread this message about how important heartworm prevention is for your pet and how easy it can be to protect them from this awful condition. For more information, please visit me at: https://www.facebook.com/Wags4Hope?ref=br_tf.
Annie pictured with Barbara Naugle, the Director of the Connecticut Humane Society.