Drug-resistant strain of heartworm found in Louisiana dog

Drug-resistant strain of heartworm found in Louisiana dog
Madie Roberts was diagnosed with a drug-resistant heartworm strain. Source: Benbow Veterinary Clinic
Madie Roberts was diagnosed with a drug-resistant heartworm strain. Source: Benbow Veterinary Clinic

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - A drug-resistant strain of heartworm was discovered in a dog in Louisiana, according to an area veterinarian.

"Maddie" Roberts, a yellow lab from Metairie, was a patient of Veterinarian Cynthia Benbow, DVM, CVA.

According to the news release issued by Benbow's office, Maddie contracted heartworms while on monthly heartworm prevention.

Following testing it was discovered that she was infected with a drug-resistant strain of heartworms.

According to the release, Benbow said a sample of Maddie's blood was taken and sent to Ray Kaplan, DVM, at the Department of Infectious Diseases at University of Georgia (UGA) College of Veterinary Medicine.

According to Benbow, Kaplan's lab confirmed that the heartworms were indeed drug-resistant, and established the strain for research purposes; naming it "Metairie-2014."

"It is crucial for pet owners to understand the importance of being on consistent, monthly heartworm prevention and a mosquito repellent" said Benbow. "Since this resistant strain was found in Metairie, the double-protection approach is the best way for owners to protect their pets from now on, no matter what time of the year."

Benbow said thanks to Maddie's owner's, this drug-resistant strain of heartworms was discovered, and is helping researchers at UGA better understand and help solve the problem of drug-resistance in heartworms.

These researchers just published their first paper using the Metairie-2014 strain in in the journal Parasites and Vectors, according to the report.

Both Benbow and Kaplan wanted to stress to owners how crucial it is to have their pets on both heartworm prevention and a mosquito deterrent, since mosquitoes spread the disease from pet to pet.

Kaplan also stresses that this is extremely rare for dogs to contract the drug-resistant strain.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Christina Kogos at 504.390.1768.