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The Garland Animal Shelter & Adoption Center has paired with Friends of Rescue Animals in a groundbreaking heartworm treatment initiative program.
Shelter dogs who test positive for heartworms are given an injection of the FDA-approved medication Diroban, followed by another dose some 30 days later.
Diroban is expensive – a $493 box treats 200 pounds worth of animal, according to shelter veterinarian Dr. Alison Jennart.
But in the weeks since the program’s rollout, 35 to 40 of the shelter’s dogs have been treated at no cost to the City. That’s because of a partner organization that is very in tune with the issue.
Michele Orahood, the president of Friends of Rescue Animals, estimates that about one of every four dogs that enter a shelter has heartworm issues. She says the organization has donated $60,000 worth of heartworm treatment since partnering with Garland in 2021. And now, treated animals can more quickly be ready for adoption.
“The whole point is to remove that barrier before they get adopted,” Orahood said.
If an animal is adopted heartworm positive amid the treatment, the adopter can bring the dog back for the follow-up, free of charge. As with animals that have never been infected, preventive heartworm treatment is recommended once a dog is no longer heartworm-positive.
Garland Animal Services anticipates it will treat about 250 dogs per year. Garland is one of very few shelters providing the Diroban treatment in Texas. The traditional course to treat positive heartworm victims in shelters is to medicate for about a year – and many infected animals don’t have that long.
Friends of Rescue Animals is funded by private donations. The organization can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch the Video