Merial aims to improve heartworm drug compliance

The “Take the Paw Pledge” campaign is designed to jump-start conversations about heartworm prevention.

Merial aims to improve heartworm drug compliance

Dog owners are being asked to “Take the Paw Pledge” and help reverse what drug maker Merial Ltd. says is a decline in compliance involving heartworm preventives.

The Duluth, Georgia, company reported April 11 that its new campaign will assist veterinary practices in educating clients about the benefits of heartworm protection, particularly Merial’s Heartgard Plus monthly preventive.

“We’re purposefully announcing this campaign during Heartworm Awareness Month because we believe heartworm disease awareness should be top of mind for practices every month of the year,” said Zach Mills, DVM, executive director of U.S. Pet Vet Veterinary Professional Services at Merial owner Boehringer Ingelheim. “It’s a fairly simple concept: Heartworm disease is preventable if pets receive a preventive medication, and the best protection occurs when the preventive is given year-round.”

Merial pointed to statistics from the American Heartworm Society showing that 48 percent of veterinarians who reported an increase in heartworm cases since 2013 identified three contributing factors:

  • Failure to give preventives.
  • Skipping doses.
  • Failing to give preventives year-round.

“After years of steady progress in reducing the numbers of heartworm-positive cases in pets, a concerning backward slide has occurred over the past few years,” said Stephen Jones, DVM, immediate past president of the American Heartworm Society.

The Merial campaign enlists veterinary practices, which will receive toolkits designed to promote a discussion with clients. The kits include “Take the Paw Pledge” material and a Kong toy shaped like a cow to tie in beef-based Heartgard Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel).