American Heartworm Society Announces 2004 Symposium

The American Heartworm Society today announced the Triennial American Heartworm Society “State of the Heartworm Symposium ’04” will be held July 23, 24, & 26, 2004 in conjunction with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in Philadelphia, Penn. The symposium has previously been a stand-alone event. However, in a move to encourage practicing veterinarians’ participation in the American Heartworm Society, the board of directors voted to host the event during the American Veterinary Medical Association convention.

“There is a misconception that we as veterinarians know all there is to know about heartworm disease. That is not the case. This year’s symposium is tailored towards the practicing veterinarian and includes cutting-edge information on the pathology of heartworm infections, epidemiology, zoonosis, therapy and chemoprophylaxis,” said Jorge Guerrero, Symposium Program Chair and Adjunct Professor of Parasitology at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine.

The symposium brings together the leading authorities for discussion on the latest research and findings on heartworm disease, treatment and prevention. Fourteen leading international authorities will present seminars on these significant topics essential to the understanding and management of heartworm disease. Continuing education credit isavailable for all veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Rather than produce a stand-alone proceeding and to expedite publication of the papers presented, the American Heartworm Society will have a special issue of Veterinary Parasitology devoted to the presentations.

This year, Fort Dodge Animal Health is taking a lead sponsor role with a special promotional campaign for the symposium that includes underwriting veterinary journal ads, promotion at national veterinary trade conferences and distribution of information about the symposium to veterinarians.

“We are pleased to partner with the American Heartworm Society to reach out to as many practicing veterinarians as possible. Every practicing veterinarian will benefit from the information presented,” said Craig Wallace, Director of Companion Animal Business, Domestic Sales and Marketing, Fort Dodge Animal Health.

Other symposium program sponsors include Heska, Idexx, Pfizer, Merial, Novartis and Bayer.

Veterinarians may register for the symposium in one of three ways:

  1. Log on to to download a registration form.
  2. Call (630) 262-1997 and ask to have the information mailed.
  3. Send an email to

More information can also be downloaded from the American Heartworm Society website at

Founded during the Heartworm Symposium of 1974, the American Heartworm Society was formed to facilitate and encourage the generation and dissemination of information about heartworm disease and encourages adoption of standardized procedures for its diagnosis, treatment and prevention.The American Heartworm Society stimulates and financially supportsresearch, which furthers knowledge and understanding of the disease.Its headquarters are located in Batavia, IL.

American Heartworm Society Reminds Dog Owners To Remain Vigilant Against Heartworm Disease

Most pet owners wouldn’t knowingly put their pet at risk of becoming infected with a potentially deadly disease yet according to the American Heartworm Society (AHS), millions of pet owners who fail to protect their dog from heartworm infection are doing so everyday.

Heartworm is a life-threatening canine parasite transmitted by mosquitoes that affects dogs in all 48 of the contiguous states and Hawaii. While research shows that America’s dog owners are familiar with the threat caused by heartworm disease, adherence to the proper administration of traditional heartworm preventatives remains a serious problem for dog owners and veterinarians.

According to a recent Gallup survey of 18,000 veterinary clinics nationwide, only 55 percent of U.S. dog-owning households are on heartworm preventative.And, for dogs who are on a preventative, studies indicate that one in three dog owners missed giving the monthly heartworm prevention dose by more than a month, and 20 percent of those who missed a monthly dose eventually stopped giving the heartworm preventative altogether,leaving their dog vulnerable to potential infection.1

With more than 240,000 dogs and 3,095 cats testing positive for heartworm infection nationwide in 2001, pet owner noncompliance to heartworm prevention creates a serious problem that is putting America’s pets at risk.

What is Heartworm Disease?

Canine heartworm disease is a potentially deadly infection, caused by worms (Dirofilaria immitis)that may grow to be 14-inch-long adults. These worms live in the rightside of the heart and arteries of the lungs. Dogs of any age and breed are susceptible to infection. Heartworm infection can cause potentiallyserious damage to these arteries, eventually leading to heart failure,and in severe cases, damage other organs such as the liver and kidneys.In extreme cases, a dog can be infected with several hundred heartworms. Cats are also susceptible to the disease, but do notcontribute significantly to spreading the infection.

Coinciding with mosquito season, heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes that become infected with microfilariae while taking a blood meal from an infected dog. The microfilariae mature into the infective larval stage within the mosquito. When the mosquito then bites another dog, cat, or susceptible animal, it then passes the larvae into the animal’s blood stream through the bite wound, resulting in heartworm infection. It then takes a little over six months for theinfective larvae to mature into adult worms that can live for five to seven years in the dog.

Heartworm Disease is Preventable

Because heartworm disease is completely preventable, the AHS recommends that pet owners take steps now to talk to their veterinarian about how to best protect their pets from this dangerous disease. According to the AHS, heartworm prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive compared to treating a dog or cat after worms have matured into adults. While treatment for heartworm disease is possible, it is a complicated and expensive process, taking weeks for infected animals to recover.

There are a variety of options for the prevention of heartworm infection in dogs, including an injectable administered by your veterinarian that provides protection for six months, daily and monthly tablets and chewables and monthly topicals. For cats, there are monthly chewables and a topical solution. All of these methods are extremely effective and when administered properly on a timely schedule, heartworm infection can be completely prevented.

Founded during the Heartworm Symposium of 1974, the American Heartworm Society was formed to facilitate and encourage the generation and dissemination of information about heartworm disease and encourage adoption of standardized procedures for its diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The Society stimulates and financially supports research, which furthers knowledge and understanding of the disease. Its headquartersare located in Batavia, Ill.


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