Are You Ready for National Heartworm Awareness Month?

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month, providing the perfect opportunity to emphasize the value of heartworm disease detection and prevention with your clients. Heartworm infection has been diagnosed in all 50 states, so no more excuses. Follow recommendations from the American Heartworm Society and start offering annual heartworm screening and year-round heartworm prophylaxis for your patients. If you don’t include these recommendations in your annual preventive care protocols, now is the time to do so. Don’t forget about the felines in your patient base. Even a small heartworm load in a cat can lead to death. Let your cat owners know that easily administered prevention is available for this often fatal illness. About 25% of heartworm infected cats reportedly were “indoor only”, so regardless of reported lifestyle, all cats need to be on heartworm prevention. Seasonal heartworm prevention recommendations need to be discarded as well. Monthly prevention is indicated for both canines and felines if nothing else than to combat infection with intestinal parasites also covered by most preventatives.

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. Learn how to help your patients here! Click To Tweet

Get to work to increase compliance with heartworm detection and prevention in your practice. Update your practice website to promote heartworm awareness and make sure you are posting information on Facebook that educates your clients about the importance of heartworm prevention for dogs and cats. A small, one-time targeted discount on heartworm testing might be the ticket to get clients on board with monthly prophylaxis. Many heartworm test kits also screen for tick-borne disease, adding value for your clients. You have several great tools at your disposal to get both your team and your clients on board with heartworm testing and prevention. Ensure your team members really understand the importance of preventing this disease and have the skill set required to educate your clients. If they don’t, provide them with training using resources such as the Heartworm Tool Kit available on the dvm360 website. The American Heartworm Society has a myriad of resources you can utilize to promote heartworm awareness with your client base and these can be obtained through the Think 12 Resource Center on their website.

Do what is best for your patients with annual heartworm testing and monthly prevention. You’ll provide what’s right for them and help your top line in the process.

Carol Hart, DVM