Free Heartworm Test? What’s the catch?
Due to the increasing incidence of heartworm “positive” dogs in our practice, we are doing our part to get more of our patients on heartworm preventative medication. From March 1st to April 29th, we are offering a Free Heartworm test to all of our patients with the purchase of 12 months of Heartgard Plus. In order to receive notification of this offer as well as any other special offers during the upcoming year, you need to be enrolled in our reminder service – DemandForce.
Heartworm tests can be done while you wait (as an in-house test) or may be sent out to an outside lab.
Why do I need to test if my dog has been on heartworm prevention?
This is a common question. (watch this video for more information about testing) An understanding of the method of transmission and treatment for heartworm disease is needed. When a pet takes Heartgard, a couple of the larval stages of heartworm disease are eliminated. The timing of the medicine is critical in determining if the medication will be effective. If Heartgard is given too late, and if an infected mosquito bites your pet at just the right time, the medicine will not prevent a full-blown infection. Missed or delayed doses of medicine are quite common. Even some of our most compliant clients have found an extra dose or two at the end of 12 months causing them to wonder how the medication was missed. The current recommendations of the American Heartworm Society are that pets be tested annually. We recognize their guidelines as the most authoritative in our profession. In addition, if a pet ever does develop Heartworm disease and the client has been following our protocol faithfully (monthly dosing and annual testing), the cost of treatment for the infection is primarily borne by Merial, the manufacturer of Heartgard Plus® and Frontline®. Even though this is unlikely, it gives us peace of mind that they stand behind us and your pet.
What is the “catch”?
There are a few other things to mention regarding this offer (and dispensing Heartgard in general).
Valid Doctor-Client- Patient relationship
State law and our practice standards require that we have a valid “doctor-client-patient” relationship prior to prescribing any medication to pets. By definition, that means that we can’t prescribe medications to pets that have not had a thorough physical exam within the previous 12 months. (For more information on this, please follow this link.) If you want to take advantage of this offer and we have not examined your pet recently, please call and see if you qualify for the free test with the prescription, or if we need to schedule an exam for your pet.
Also, we require that you call the hospital before coming in for the test. We don’t want to cause you to wait or to inconvenience our clients that have appointments. Our phone number is (480) 899-7738.