Approaches to Canine Heartworm Disease Treatment Among Alumni of a Single College of Veterinary Medicine. Academic Article uri icon


  • This descriptive study was designed to ascertain the current heartworm treatment strategies employed by veterinary graduates of a single college of veterinary medicine, to assess the frequency with which each of these treatment strategies is prescribed, and to report the motivation behind the use of these treatment strategies. A survey containing a combination of multiple-choice and open-ended questions was distributed via e-mail with an online link during 2013 to graduates of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Demographic data and opinions regarding treatment for cases of canine heartworm disease (HWD) were obtained, and motivation for recommending different treatment strategies was assessed. Nearly all 170 respondents (99%) indicated that they recommend melarsomine dihydrochloride for first-line treatment of canine HWD. Exercise restriction (80%) and monthly heartworm preventive (75%) were components of the treatment approach to HWD with no clinical signs. The majority of respondents (74%) indicated that when first-line treatment recommendations were declined, they endorsed long-term administration of ivermectin (i.e., "slow-kill" method) despite current American Heartworm Society guidelines that recommend against the use of long-term macrocyclic lactone administration for the monotherapy treatment of canine HWD. Respondents also indicated that owners' financial concerns frequently result in modification of HWD treatment. Routine inclusion of exercise restriction is commonly, but not universally, utilized and may represent an opportunity for improvement in the management of this disease. In addition, when first-line recommendations for heartworm disease treatment are declined, a two-dose melarsomine protocol instead of the slow-kill method should be considered.

published proceedings

  • J Am Anim Hosp Assoc

author list (cited authors)

  • Dixon-Jimenez, A. C., Coleman, A. E., Rapoport, G. S., Creevy, K. E., Roth, I., Correa, M., & Moorhead, A. R.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Dixon-Jimenez, Amy C||Coleman, Amanda E||Rapoport, Gregg S||Creevy, Kate E||Roth, Ira||Correa, Maria||Moorhead, Andrew R

publication date

  • September 2018