National report — Discussions are ongoing at presstime regarding a consensus statement in the works regarding heartworm efficacy.
As first reported by DVM Newsmagazine, officials from the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) and the American Heartworm Society (AHS) met in late August
to talk about why a certain population of dogs in the Mississippi Delta were becoming infected with heartworm while believed
to be on preventives.
The event triggered a white paper by AHS earlier this year and subsequent meetings to talk about the issue. Dr. Michael Paul,
executive director of CAPC, tells DVM Newsmagazine, "I will tell you the interaction was very cooperative. I think the outcomes have been pretty well agreed upon," Paul says.
If the group can establish consensus, a joint statement will be issued likely identifying four key areas: what is known about
heartworm resistance in this subpopulation, testing recommendations for heartworm disease, future studies needed and advice
In the next few months, it's rumored that some scientific reports will be published in an attempt to offer new scientific
insight on this issue.
"There seems to be support that this is in fact resistance. Now the question becomes is this something that has evolved or
is it something that has always been there. Is there a population of heartworms that have never been responsive? We just don't
know," Paul says.
Both CAPC and AHS recommend year-round preventive medication as a core strategy to combatting this deadly parasite. It's also
important to recognize that 56 percent of dogs seen by veterinarians in the southern United States never receive a single
dose of preventive, AHS reports in its white paper, "Heartworm Preventive Resistance: Is it Possible?"
The August roundtable was attended by veterinary experts, including Drs. Byron Blagburn, Dwight Bowman, Sharon Patton, Matt
Miller, John McCall and Tom Nelson.