LSU Vet school clears up information on drug resistant heart wor - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

LSU Vet school clears up information on drug resistant heart worms in Louisiana

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LSU's school of veterinary medicine is highlighting previous and continuing work done on a strain of drug-resistant heartworms in the State of Louisiana.

The recent attention surrounding Maddie the dog and the Metairie-2014 strain of drug-resistant heartworms, LSU's School of Veterinary Medicine (LSU SVM) is highlighting their previous and on-going work done by the LSU SVM, the University of Georgia, Auburn University and McGill University.

According to LSU, the school began investigating the possible emergence of drug-resistant heartworms in 2008, following an increase in concern by local veterinarians. Around this same time, a Hurricane Katrina-relocation dog identified in Canada was suspected to be infected with drug-resistant heartworms. Over the next seven years, a release states that multiple dogs were found to be infected with drug-resistant heartworms, and LSU was one of the first to prove the existence of these drug-resistant strains circulating in Louisiana.

These dogs identified in 2011 were from Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Maggie and the Metairie-2014 strain is just one of the nearly dozen laboratory-verified drug-resistant heartworm strains that have been identified. 

Officials say that these drug-resistant strains are very rare, and dogs should continue to receive year-round heartworm prevention, along with biannual or yearly heartworm testing. Owners should also speak to their veterinarians about steps they can take to minimize mosquito exposure for their pets, as heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. If a dog does become infected with heartworms, treatment is available, and there are no indications of heartworms being resistant to the drugs used for this purpose.

If a pet owner or veterinarian is concerned about drug-resistant heartworms or has any additional questions, researchers at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine:

(Dr. Cassan Pulaski, cpulaski@vetmail.lsu.edu) or the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (225-578-9777) would be happy to discuss and provide additional information.

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