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New strain of heartworms concerns veterinarians

June 08, 2011|by Ashley Reynolds, KY3 News |

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- If you are a responsible pet owner, chances are, you have your pet on heartworm prevention medicine.  A new strain of heartworm called MP3 is in a few southern states including Arkansas.  These worms are transmitted by mosquitoes so veterinarians say it could only be a matter of time before it's here in the Ozarks.

Shelly Householder has three pets. She has all three on heartworm prevention medicine.

"We had another dog and she ended up with heartworms so we brought her in and had her treated.  It was very traumatic and I will never allow for that to happen again," said Householder.

"Heartworms will kill the pet if they are left untreated. So it's a real serious situation if the pet is not protected," said Dr. Michael Reid, with Animal Health Center.

With a new strain, comes new problems. Most heartworm prevention medicines only show partial effectiveness when fighting the new MP3.

So far the only medicine to show 100-percent effectiveness is Advantage Multi.

Veterinarians say early detection is key.

"It is important to test your pets annually because if there is some resistance you want to find that out early," said Dr. Scott Boschen with Northside Animal Clinic.

There is little research about MP3 because it's so new.  Even though most heartworm medicines proved not to be effective with it, experts still recommend you put your pet on heartworm prevention medicines because it does prevent most heartworms.


There's no word on exactly where this new strain started.  Some experts believe it's linked to the Katrina Hurricane, which caused so many displaced animals in an environment with a high population of mosquitoes.

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