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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

For Pete's Sake, Put Them On Prevention!

You'll have to excuse me for a moment as I rant a bit. I almost did this yesterday, but can't hold back today, as it is really bugging me.

Today I diagnosed my fourth case of heartworm disease in a week. To put it in perspective, from May to December of last year (an 8 month period), I diagnosed 8 cases, making an average of 1 per month. Now in a week, I have a month's worth of cases. The worst part is that each and every one of these cases was 100% preventable. Four dogs were allowed by their owners to get heartworm disease. Each of those clients did know about the disease, and had chosen not to put their dogs on prevention. The owners in essence gambled with their dog's lives and lost. Rather than purchasing prevention, they decided that they would rather take the risk. Unfortunately, their dogs are the ones that really loose out.

It's not uncommon for me to hear clients talk about not getting heartworm prevention because they can't afford it. And in the current world economy, I can understand finances being tight. But I bet that those same people eat fast food at least once per month. For the cost of a single value meal and a milkshake at McDonald's, they could have bought heartworm prevention!!! Now that "savings" of not buying prevention is going to cost them either around $1000 for treatment, or cost them the lives of their dogs.

I have to admit that situations like this really frustrate me. This is all about choices and priorities. When you get a pet, you accept responsibility for that pet's health and well-being. You are the one who makes the choices, not the dog or cat. You also make the decisions as to how your money is spend. The huge majority of my clients CAN afford heartworm prevention. But some of them choose not to. They don't want to give up that trip to Burger King, or that video rental, or that Starbuck's caramel macchiato in order to prevent a fatal disease in the dog that they profess to care about. I would bet my next paycheck that I could take 99% of my clients who say they can't afford heartworm prevention and find $10 per month in their budget.

So please, please, please put your dogs on heartworm prevention. It's inexpensive and can save a life. It's your choice as to whether or not your dog gets a fatal disease.