What deadly condition did “Dustin” a one-eyed Beagle, “Daisy” a Greyhound mix, “Seymour” a Lab mix and “Kirstie” a Husky have in common? Recently all four Last Hope dogs tested positive for heartworm infection. They all needed the expensive and risky immiticide treatment to cure them of this potentially fatal parasite.
Last Hope’s cost averages $1200 to treat each dog for heartworm. That’s close to $5000 in the last few months alone. With your help, Last Hope will be able to help heartworm-infested dogs like “Dustin”, “Daisy”, “Seymour”, “Kirstie” and future victims return to good health and then find their “happily ever after” home.
All Last Hope dogs come from Long Island municipal shelters or transported from overcrowded shelters in southern states where even extremely sociable dogs do not stand a chance. Most of our dogs were outside strays, victims of neglect or owner surrenders never protected with the monthly pill. These dogs are more vulnerable to heartworm infection than a pampered pet.
Some cases like “Dustin” and “Daisy” came to us as a surprise because initial blood work was fine, while others like “Seymour” and “Kirstie” were infected dogs that Last Hope intentionally pulled from town shelters to save their lives.
Heartworm is a silent killer of dogs spread by mosquitoes. Adult heartworms grow from 6-14 inches long clogging the pets’ heart and lungs. Serious damage can occur to these organs plus the liver and kidneys before any outward symptoms. By the time the pet shows signs of coughing, listlessness, fainting or weight loss the disease may be very advanced.
Mosquitoes are the deadly army. The female buggers are out there, full force, spreading heartworm, a deadly parasitic cardiovascular disease. According to a 2007 survey by the American Heartworm Society (AHS), the number of cases continues to climb in certain parts of the US, especially the Gulf and East coasts. These levels are higher than the reported 250,000 dogs and cats that tested positive in 2004, which was also up from 2001.
We expect the number of heartworm cases to rise. Heartworm may be become prevalent for a variety of reasons including: more testing, better testing, testing at town shelters, climate change- hence, more mosquitoes, new relentless species like the voracious Asian tigers, more mosquitoes migrating north, a larger population of unprotected pets due to financial hardship, and finally, more infected animals for mosquitoes to feed off to spread the disease. The ASH estimates that only 55% of dogs in the U.S. are currently on a heartworm preventive, leaving 27 million dogs at risk of acquiring heartworm disease.
That’s why Last Hope is setting up this special fund. Won’t you have a heart for our heartworm positive dogs? These dogs are positively delightful and deserve Last Hope’s Golden Ticket to the good life.
Our goal is to raise $5000 so we won’t hesitate to help heartworm positive shelter dogs like “Dustin”, “Daisy”, “Seymour” and “Kirstie”. Any size donation, even $5 is appreciated. Together we can help more dogs fight this insidious disease.
Donations can be made via the online link above or by sending a check to Last Hope, PO Box 7025, Wantagh, NY 11793 and noting “HW fund” on the check subject line.”
For more information about heart worm, visit American Heartworm Society.