Overland Park's Fort Dodge Animal Health has agreed to immediately cease production and recall its popular heartworm medication ProHeart 6 from the market until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's questions involving safety are resolved.
According to the FDA, ProHeart 6 is an approved injectible sustained-release heartworm prevention product for dogs. The parasite that causes heartworm disease is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito.
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal infection that can cause serious damage to arteries in the heart and lungs eventually leading to heart failure. In severe cases, heartworm disease can damage other organs such as the liver and kidneys.
Clinical signs of heartworm disease may not be recognized in the early stages, as heartworms tend to accumulate gradually over a period of months and sometimes years. Heavily infected animals may show clinical signs including mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, tiredness after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite and weight loss. Prevention of heartworm disease is the best alternative, as treatment can result in death, severe allergic reactions or pulmonary embolism.
With ProHeart 6 off the market, ask your veterinarian immediately about alternative heartworm preventives such as the oral Heartgard, Interceptor and Sentinel and the topical formulation for cats, Revolution. These preventives must be given monthly
These heartworm preventives are all very effective if given as directed by your veterinarian. Approximately 80 percent of all pet owners are, at one time or another, out of compliance with proper administration of heartworm preventives and this puts pets at unnecessary risk.