Changes in Vectors Creating an Emerging Heartworm Disease: Part 1
Heartworm disease was first discovered in 1626 in Italy, reported in dogs in the United States in 1847, and documented in cats by the 1920s (T. Nelson, Heartworm: An emerging disease climactic conditions, reservoir, competent vectors all contributing to disease spread 2010). Heartworm preventive products are highly effective when administered per FDA-approved label directions (Merial Ltd. 2010). Current antigen tests used for disease diagnosis report very high sensitivity levels, ranging from 78 percent to 84 percent for low worm burdens to 97 percent for worm burdens of three or more. Private practitioners routinely use these tests (Atkins 2003). The FDA-approved adulticide treatment for heartworm disease provides 89.7 percent to 98.7 percent efficacy as based on laboratory and clinical field studies (Merial n.d.).