What is heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease is a severe and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats, and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are considered important carriers of the disease.

Dogs are a  natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate, and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries and can affect the dog's health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, prevention is by far the best option, and treatment-when needed-should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible: source- American Heartworm Society.

What is the HSFC Doing To Help:

As a rescue organization, we have found the need to venture further out to rural Georgia areas to intake animals into our program. As a result, we see more and more heartworm positive dogs in need of rescue, treatment, and placement into loving homes.  We believe this increase is due to the area's economics and lack of education on heartworm disease and prevention. The loss of income during the pandemic has also impacted the dog's caregivers' ability to provide basic vaccines for their animals. One of our goals is to provide heartworm prevention at an affordable cost to prevent the risk of heartworm disease.

In 2020 alone, we at the HSFC completed 58 heartworm treatments through our low-cost wellness clinic and animal intake programs. The average heartworm treatment at a private veterinary practice typically ranges from $1,200 to $1,600, allowing us to save those most in need over $75,000 in required treatment cost. 

Prevention Assistance:

We offer a single dose of heartworm prevention for as little as $10 per month and through Scooter 500 fundraising campaign will look to provide no-cost preventatives for those most in need in our community. 

Heartworm Treatment Protocol:

At the Humane Society of Forsyth County, we follow a 3-step protocol for treating heartworms.

An initial injection, followed by 30 days of rest, and then two more injections are given 24 hours apart. Depending on the circumstances, dogs will also be treated with an antibiotic (doxycycline) to combat potential infection with bacteria (Wolbachia) that inhabit the heartworm. Previcox is also administered in a tapered dose for pain management & inflammation.


About Scooter Bug

Scooter Bug is a former rescue from the Humane Society of Forsyth County. Found as a stray running around Dawson County in 2012, the HSFC was able to bring pull her from a kill shelter into the HSFC adoption program in order to find her a forever home. After a brief stint in the shelter, former HSFC Board President and current Board Member Mark Schullstrom brought her home as a foster dog. After nearly a year-long search for her forever family she became a permanent member of the Schullstrom family in April of 2013. Due to her craziness and energy, her trainer Rucker Dog Training, recommended plenty of exercise so she began to run daily with Mark. She retired from running in 2019 due to some health issues but in late 2020 her health issue was finally identified and she fell back in love with her daily runs again. 

The goal is for Scooter Bug to run over 500 miles in 2021 to help raise funds and awareness for Heartworm Disease. 

About the Humane Society of Forsyth County (HSFC):

The Humane Society of Forsyth County (HSFC) is an independent, privately funded, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving the people and pets of Forsyth County for over 44 years. Established in 1975, HSFC has adopted more than 26,000 animals into permanent, loving homes.

As the largest no-kill, non-profit humane center in Forsyth County, GA HSFC is dedicated to:
? Saving the county's homeless cats and dogs
? Reducing pet over-population
? Educating our community about "responsible" pet ownership

How we do this is with people like YOU! Even the smallest contribution can make a BIG DIFFERENCE.

As a private, independent organization, we are not affiliated with the ASPCA, Humane Society of the US or Associated Humane Societies. HSFC is not a government agency and receives no funding from federal, state or local governments. Our ability to care for the community's animals is supported solely by modest fees and donations. All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.

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