Heartgard Fails

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  • #2236
    Tony Scott

    Heartgard failure – Made by “Merial”

    People NEED to know this! How many owners blamed themselves when their dogs got a positive reading and was on preventative, thought maybe they missed a dose and did NOT file a claim. I’m sure Merial doesn’t even get notified of 99% of the cases. Changes to the advertising and insert label MUST be implemented!! This is a life threatening preventive, NOT FLEA CONTROL.

    My dog went in for her yearly check up and shots in April 2005. After 2 negative years for heartworm and preventative EVERY month I got a call that my dog was POSITIVE. I was shocked to hear this. She is 99% of the time an inside dog for one, second she is well cared for and I NEVER missed a dose of her Heartgard as it is posted on my calendar and I have purchased from my vet all year. My vet told me they had recently been to a seminar and found out that if the chewable is NOT chewed it does NOT dissolve and get absorbed into the dogs system, thus it does not prevent heartworm.
    I called Merial, got a case number and they covered my dogs treatment. HOWEVER they will not refund for the year I purchased their product that failed, $96.00 dollars worth – they offered a year supply free, like I want to use that when it failed!!

    I spent 8 weeks having to keep my dog calm and quiet during treatment meaning I had to close all my blinds so she wouldn’t run to them barking, I had to take her to the bathroom on leash in a fenced yard so she wouldn’t run and chase squirrels, going out in rain storms and all. I had to watch the horrible reaction to her shots as she suffered from treatment – am I satisfied treatment was paid for and labeling, advertising remains the same, NO! I demand something be done about this so other owners do not experience the same. AND I WANT MY MONEY BACK!! Satisfaction guaranteed? Not for me it’s not. I was told on the phone by Merial, makers of Heartgard, that my case is handled between their vet and my vet they don’t deal with me….last I knew I WAS THE OWNER OF THIS DOG. I plan on notifying the FDA who approves this drug, animal welfare institutes, better business bureau until something is done about it. Although my dog is now negative, she still could have irreversible heart damage from the worms that are unknown now. Page 2 are details and the advertising / label information as it is written today with my comments.

    My information:
    Debbie Bieniek
    I can be reached via [email][email protected][/email]

    My vet is: I do not care for them to get in the middle of this they have been wonderful through it all and there are ethics involved – but if you need documented information they have it.
    Deland Animal Hospital
    Hwy 92 in Deland Florida – 386-734-1802

    Merial – the company that makes Heartgard
    My Case #0533529
    1-888-637-4251 they offer no email address.
    Islen, NJ

    Heartgards inside label with my comments in RED
    The chewable should be administered in a manner that encourages the dog to chew (WOULD SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO “ENCOURAGE A DOG TO CHEW”? NEVER TAUGHT A DOG THAT ONE!), rather than to swallow without chewing. Chewables may be broken into pieces and fed to dogs that normally swallow treats whole. Care should be taken that the dog consumes the complete dose, and treated animals should be observed for a few minutes after administration to ensure that part of the dose is not lost or rejected. If it is suspected that any of the dose has been lost, redosing is recommended. THEY FAIL TO WARN YOU WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TABLET IS NOT CHEWED – IT DOESN’T DISSOLVE SO IT’S NOT ABSORBED INTO THE SYSTEM!!! NO WHERE ON THE ENTIRE INSERTED LABEL DID I SEE ANY MENTION OF THIS AS A WARNING.

    Heartgards advertising with my comments in RED
    #1 Choice of Veterinarians for Heartworm Disease Prevention Not true, not my vets #1 choice and another vet in town doesn’t even sell it. False advertising!
    HEARTGARD Chewables are labeled for the prevention of heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is 100% preventable (totally not true and my dog is proof of that) with HEARTGARD Chewables, satisfaction guaranteed! All you have to do to protect your dog from the threat of heartworm disease is to give HEARTGARD Chewables once a month and use as otherwise directed.
    Protecting Pets. Protecting People – Now there is a crock if I ever read one!!
    You want the best for your pet. HEARTGARD brand products help you provide the best protection? for your pet against internal worms that may pose a serious threat to its health.

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    [quote=Debbie] recently been to a seminar and found out that if the chewable is NOT chewed it does NOT dissolve and get absorbed into the dogs system, thus it does not prevent heartworm. [/quote]

    Interesting, but this doesn’t make sense. Also please don’t use this message board for posting anything which was written for another purpose as this was. Heartgard tablets are not chewed and they are the original **highly effective** monthly heartworm preventative.

    I will call Merial today for more info.

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    [quote=Debbie]Heartgard failure.[/quote]

    NO. I just spoke with a Merial veterinarian, and chewable Heartgard is equally effective whether it is chewed or not (just like the tablets).

    Any drug however can have treatment failure. That accentuates the importance of proper preventative care and periodic heartworm monitoring.


    Sounds to me like the people who work at Merial must have worked at the IRS at one time or another – each time you call, you get a different answer! We depend on these companies and pay our doctors,(who funnel these products to us), for good information to help us care for and protect our pets, then when something goes wrong they always have an excuse. Meanwhile, we’ve already paid for what turns out to be bad information, the money is in their pockets now and we have no way to get it back.


    😡 I just found out that my dog has Heartworms.

    I am upset because I switched from TriHeart to Heartgard and my dog has had 3 heartworm tests this year, all NEGATIVE and now 😡 [b][u]MERIAL [/u][/b] 😡 the manufacturer is refusing to pay for his treatment because he has not been on it for 9 months! He switched from TriHeart to Heartgard in August.


    Dogs that have been taking Heartgard present another problem in the detection of heartworms.

    Heartgard will cause adult female worms already present in the dog to become sterile, so the females will not produce any microfilaria. Heartgard will not kill any adult worms. The adult worms cause heart problems with dogs who have heartworms, NOT the microfilariae. It is the adult worms that we are really attempting to protect the dog from when we use preventative medication.
    So if a dog is on Heartgard and is tested for heartworms using the Knott’s test, chances are the dog will test negative even if there are adult worms present.

    There is a different, more expensive test for dogs who may have sterile worms. It uses a blood sample to test for antigens produced by the adult heartworms. If the dog has heartworm antigen, it has a greater than 99% chance of having heartworms.

    This test should be used on any dogs that are on Heartgard since they will not have microfilariae in their bloodstream.

    Likewise, if there are only low numbers of circulating microfilariae, the Antigen test will give a positive result where the direct Knotts (Filter) test may be negative. Just like the standard Knotts test, the Antigen test will be negative if the dog was infected less than 6 months ago.
    It is therefore very important for those dogs on the monthly medication to be tested with the Antigen test rather than the Knotts!

    I did not read on [b][u]MERIAL’s[/u][/b] Heartgard labeling anywhere that I was supposed to ask my vet for this more expensive heartworm testing everytime!!! I would not have switched to Heartgard either had I known about this information!

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