The Humane Society is urgently seeking foster homes for adult dogs that have been treated for heartworm disease.
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease and is spread from one dog to another by mosquitoes. Humans and animals cannot ‘catch’ heartworm disease from interacting with an infected dog.
‘We often receive dogs that have heartworm disease because of the abundance of mosquitoes in Cayman and uncaring former owners who neglect to give their pets a simple monthly preventative,’ explained Shelter Manager Sugar Evans. ‘Heartworm disease is treatable but the animals must have somewhere cool and calm in order to rest and recover from treatment, and the shelter, being the busy place it is, cannot provide the conditions these dogs need.’
Foster homes must be calm households, preferably without young pets or young children. The treatment, in the form of injected medication, kills the adult heartworm gradually over a four to six-week period, during which time the dog’s exercise must be severely restricted.
As the adult worms die they migrate to the lungs where the body will absorb them. If the dog is running and jumping the blood flows rapidly and a lot of worms migrate to the lungs all at once, causing complications.
‘Heartworm treatment is expensive and we are lucky that we have several private donors willing to fund the treatments of these dogs,’ said Ms Evans. ‘What we need now are places where they can recover. The sooner we can treat these dogs the better. We want to give them an equal chance of finding a new home by getting them back to health.’
Heartworm disease can be easily prevented by giving your dog a monthly preventative. These are usually in a chewable ‘treat’ form and available from vets clinics on the island.
‘We urge all owners to get their dogs checked once a year for heartworm disease and administer the monthly preventative. It’s a small price to pay for the well being and health of your dog,’ said Ms Evans.
Those interested in providing a foster home are invited to call the Humane Society Shelter on 949-1461 for further details and information.