Adopted Dogs and Heart-Worms
This is Jackson. He's an energetic little guy who was recently adopted by Mary Bowman Hampton from the local animal rescue group “All About Animals.” But Jackson’s owner has found there's a problem with her pooch.
"After we adopted him we took him in to the vet because they recommended we do a follow up test just to make sure that everything was ok and it came back that he had advanced heart-worms." -Mary Hampton/Pet Owner
Heart-worms are spread by mosquito bites and are often deadly if untreated.
"The worms cause a lot of problems. They cause inflammation in the pulmonary arteries and vessels.They also can cause right side and congestive heart failure in the dog and can permanently cause damage to the heart and the lungs if not treated" -Angie Shurling Bushway /Riverside Animal Hospital
The treatment can be rough and even fatal to older dogs or dogs in an advanced stage of heart-worm infestation, it’s also very expensive.
"We've spent close to $1,000 so far." -Mary Hampton/Pet Owner
It was Ms Hampton's understanding that Jackson had tested negative for heart-worms when she adopted him.
"Obviously we weren't happy, I mean we love this little guy. We haven't had him that long but he's already a part of our family. We were committed to make sure he got the best care. We're working through it and hopefully he'll be ok." -Mary Hampton/Pet Owner
I learned of this story first hand. This is my dog Winston. I too adopted him from All About Animals, and like Jackson, he's got heart-worms.
To find out how this could happen I spoke with the Director of All About Animals, Mary Crawford.
"There's a $150 adoption fee and that covers spaying, neutering, heart-worm test, all their shots, worm and flea control." -Mary Crawford/All About Animals
"So you do test for heart-worms?" -Chace Ambrose/WGXA
"Um Hmm" -Mary Crawford/All About Animals
But when I told Ms Crawford that I was aware of some cases where dogs have tested positive after adoption, her story seemed to change.
"We don't treat for heart-worms but we do have records.That show whether they have heart-worms or not. We in the past, we have spent 5, 6, 800 dollars on it and we don't feel like we're responsible for that.If you go to animal control you're gonna get a rabies shot and you're gonna get a spay. I mean we go further than that. We do the testing and we do all that I mean you're welcome to check with our vets." -Mary Crawford/All About Animals
I did check with a few area vets, some of whom are familiar with pets adopted from “All About Animals” . Our informal survey found 75% of vets we spoke to said they were aware of animals coming out of All About Animals and other rescue groups with heart-worms and other medical problems.
After my interview with Ms Crawford I received this email from All About Animals Spokesperson Shelley Marshall which explained, "For financial reasons, there was a period of time where we were not testing our dogs for heart-worms, so there are dogs who were adopted out that we did not know their heart-worm status. "
We here at WGXA are not suggesting potential pet owners avoid All About Animals or any pet rescue for that matter. But we do want to impress on our viewers that mistakes can happen, So when you adopt your pet have it tested at your vet. The tests are quick, inexpensive, and accurate. And it could save your pets life.