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  • How Animal Shelters Can Treat and Prevent Heartworm in Dogs Page 1 of 33

    Maddies InstituteSM, 6165 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 125, Pleasanton, CA 94588 www.maddiesinstitute.org institute@maddiesfund.org

    How Animal Shelters Can

    Treat and Prevent Heartworm in Dogs Dr. Brian DiGangi

    Webcast Transcript August 2014

    This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate. This text may

    not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the

    authoritative record of Maddies InstituteSM

    programming is the audio.

    [Beginning of Audio]

    Lynne Fridley: Good evening, everyone. I'm Lynne Fridley, Program Manager for

    Maddie's InstituteSM

    . Thanks for joining us. Tonight's presentation is the

    last in our summer webcast series with Dr. Brian DiGangi bringing us up

    to date on how to treat and prevent heartworm in shelter dogs.

    Dr. DiGangi is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine at the

    University of Florida and is Board Certified in canine and feline practice.

    He recently completed a three-year residency in shelter animal medicine.

    He also serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the

    Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

    Dr. DiGangi's special interests include cleaning and disinfection, high-

    quality, high-volume spay/neuter techniques and enhancing the welfare of

    animals in shelters.

    Before we get started tonight, there are a few housekeeping items that we

    need to cover. Please take a look at the left-hand side of your screen

    where you'll see a Q&A window. That's where you'll ask questions during

    the event. Dr. DiGangi will answer as many as he can at the end of the

    presentation, but please submit your questions early. Questions submitted

    in the last few minutes will not be processed in time for a response.

    If you need help during your presentation, clinic on the question mark at

    the bottom of your screen. There are other little images there called

    widgets. The green file widget will take you to the resources that we

    wanted to share with you. These resources will also be available after the

    presentation on our website.

    Before I turn things over to Dr. DiGangi, I want to say a few words about

    Maddie's Fund

    . We are the nation's leading funder of shelter medicine

    education, and it is our goal to help save the lives of all of our nation's

    http://www.maddiesinstitute.org/mailto:institute@maddiesfund.org

  • How Animal Shelters Can Treat and Prevent Heartworm in Dogs Page 2 of 33

    Maddies InstituteSM, 6165 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 125, Pleasanton, CA 94588 www.maddiesinstitute.org institute@maddiesfund.org

    healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats. Our founders, Dave and

    Cheryl Duffield were going through a difficult time in their life while

    building their business, but each day when they came home, they were

    greeted by the little dog with the indomitable spirit.

    Maddie's unconditional love inspired them to promise her that if they ever

    made it big, they would honor her by helping make this country a safe and

    loving place for all of her kind. With hard work, their dreams did come

    true, and they fulfilled their promise by creating Maddie's Fund and

    focusing their efforts on revolutionizing the status and wellbeing of

    companion animals.

    We hope you'll take what you learn here tonight and continue to make the

    vision a reality.

    Welcome, Dr. DiGangi, and thank you for being here.

    Brian DiGangi: Thanks, Lynne. Thanks everybody for joining us tonight. This is a pretty

    popular topic, one that we get a lot of questions about, so I'm excited to

    share a little bit of information with you and give you a little bit of my

    take on management of canine heartworm in shelters. I certainly don't

    have all the answers, but I may have a few, and hopefully, everybody will

    get a little bit of something out of this presentation that they can take back

    to their organization and put to good use.

    So with that, a little bit of an outline for what we're going to talk about

    tonight. I'm going to start with a basic disease overview of heartworm

    disease, a little bit of epidemiology and the life cycle, and we'll talk about

    some of the recommended practice guidelines that are out there currently.

    And then I'm going to share some results of a recent survey that was done

    by the American Heartworm Society and the Association of Shelter

    Veterinarians that really looked at what are shelters doing with regards to

    canine heartworm disease management currently.

    And then finally, we'll take a look at those results and try to make some

    practical points out of them, some practical take-home messages. So what

    can we do to prevent, diagnose and treat heartworm in animal shelters?

    And how can we balance the resource challenges that we may have in

    some shelters with the best practices that exist?

    So I'd like to start out with a little bit of a story. When I was putting this

    presentation together, I came across this blog post, and I'll read a portion

    of it for you. It says, "I'm a first-time dog owner. I recently adopted a dog

    and was told he was healthy. The dog was never tested for heartworm, so

    my poor boy has heartworm. I don't understand why they're giving out a

    lot of potentially-sick dogs when they could test them and let the adoption

    http://www.maddiesinstitute.org/mailto:institute@maddiesfund.org

  • How Animal Shelters Can Treat and Prevent Heartworm in Dogs Page 3 of 33

    Maddies InstituteSM, 6165 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 125, Pleasanton, CA 94588 www.maddiesinstitute.org institute@maddiesfund.org

    party know what kind of experience and vet bills they will have. I'm so

    frustrated with the recue group."

    So when I first read that I thought, "Well, great. Hey, this would be a

    great into to the presentation and this really emphasizes why we need to

    take heartworm disease seriously and manage it in shelters." And the

    more I read through this, I realize the thing that was really bothersome to

    this individual was no that the dog had heartworm or that he had to take

    care of it afterwards, but he just that he didn't know and he wasn't told

    about that. And I think that also speaks volumes about what our doctors

    might expect from us.

    So there's a few messages, a few take-home messages we can get from

    that little story right there. And you have to wonder is that individual

    going to recommend adoption from a shelter to their friends? Are they

    going to go back to that rescue group that they were frustrated with at this

    point? We have to keep those things in mind as we're planning any kind

    of medical protocols in the shelter setting.

    So specifically, some learning outcomes for the audience. I hope that, at

    least for the veterinarians and the veterinary technicians, that you'll recall

    some of the characteristics that are pertinent to clinical management of

    canine heartworm disease. And there are many of you where this may be

    new information, so it'll be a nice introduction.

    And then I hope that you'll understand the current practices and the

    challenges to meeting those current practices and the standard guidelines

    in the shelter setting. And then I hope you'll be able to, like I mentioned

    earlier, take some of that home, disease some management protocols that

    are feasible in your shelter with a really keen eye for understanding the

    risks and benefits of altering from the standard guidelines.

    So by way of background, the prevalence of heartworm disease has been

    studied in a number of different places, and so this particular study or

    these two that I'm going to talk about right here looked at the prevalence

    of positive test results. So how many dogs tested positive of the ones that

    were in this study?

    And the first part of this was a study that was done in private veterinary

    practices across the country, and you can see the different percentages

    there. So in the northeast part of the US, less than one percent of dogs

    tested positive, less than one percent in the Midwest, just slightly higher

    than that out west, and the southeast was a bit higher, as you might expect,

    at around four percent.

    http://www.maddiesinstitute.org/mailto:institute@maddiesfund.org

  • How Animal Shelters Can Treat and Prevent Heartworm in Dogs Page 4 of 33

    Maddies InstituteSM, 6165 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 125, Pleasanton, CA 94588 www.maddiesinstitute.org institute@maddiesfund.org

    And when you compare those numbers to dogs in animal shelters, there

    was one study that looked at that and there were fifteen percent of the

    shelter dogs, and this particular study was done in Florida fifteen percent

    of those dogs tested positive. So a much higher percentage of dogs in

    shelters are testing positive than is seen in private practices across the

    country. So that's going to be really important for us as we're working in

    shelters and designing these protocols.

    And so that kind of brings us to the next point that heartworms are

    endemic in the United Stat

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