Shortage of Immiticide
Recently, there have been increasing reports of a shortage of the heartworm killing drug called Immiticide. This arsenic derivative has been increasingly used in veterinary medicine as an alternative to the older arsenic compound. While Immiticide has many advantages to its predecessor in terms of safety and efficacy, I have still seen many pets suffer from complications, including secondary clots and organ failure.
When a pet is diagnosed with heartworms, there is often also an expensive workup to include blood work, urine analysis, and x-rays. Many pets are started on the antibiotic Doxycycline to cut down on airway inflammation, as well as kill the Wolbachia parasite that often accompanies heartworm infection. The costs can often run up to several hundred dollars. It is certainly far better to prevent heartworm infection by using tried and tested monthly oral preventatives such as Heartgard and Sentinel. Certain topical medications such as prescription Revolution may also be used for heartworm prevention.
If your pet is diagnosed with heartworms, it is still possible to put your pet on monthly preventative medication while under the supervision of a veterinarian. Many pets will convert to heartworm negative status after 1-2 years of continuous heartworm medication. Annual heartworm testing is recommended at your veterinary office before prescriptions can be refilled.