by Bob Gordon, FOTAS Director of Communications
“Hugo is rambunctious and playful, but he really stood out at the shelter because while all the dogs were barking around him, he just walked past them very quietly, like he was the coolest dog in the room,” said Connie Williams, who, along with her husband, Daniel, adopted the 2-year-old, Mastiff/Retriever mix in January. “When we saw him, it was instant love.”
The Williamses brought the handsome, brindle-coated canine home and he quickly became comfortable with his new surroundings. He loves to ride in the car and keep Connie company when she goes on errands; enjoys his walks in their Aiken neighborhood; and likes to end his day by lounging on the couch while the family watches television. He doesn’t even mind the treatment he is undergoing to get rid of his heartworms.
You see, Hugo did not receive proper care before arriving at the shelter as a stray. In addition to be being shot (an x-ray showed birdshot embedded throughout his pelvic area), he was underfed and was not given monthly heartworm preventative. Unsurprisingly, he tested positive for heartworms.
Heartworms are a mosquito-borne infection. But they can be prevented through the regular and appropriate use of preventive medications, which are prescribed by your veterinarian. These medications are available as a once-a-month chewable. If your dog or cat is not on a heartworm preventative, please make an appointment with your veterinarian and get them on one as soon as possible.
While heartworm disease is still a serious condition, it now can be cured with proper treatment. It’s not cheap, however (treatment costs range from $200 to $2,500). So, Daniel and Connie were pleased and relieved to discover that FOTAS pays for the treatment of heartworm positive dogs on the County Animal Shelter’s adoption floor.
Hugo is just one of 20 heartworm infected dogs who have been adopted from the shelter so far in 2017. Like Hugo, these adopted dogs are being treated through FOTAS donations and living full lives.
The FOTAS heartworm treatment program is a big advance in animal advocacy as well as veterinary medicine. While approximately 16-20% of the dogs that are brought to the County Shelter are heartworm positive, the people who donate to FOTAS give these wonderful animals a second chance at a wonderful life.
Daniel and Connie said the heartworm treatment has not been difficult and Hugo is scheduled to be tested in six months to confirm he is heartworm-free.
“I just love this dog,” Connie said. “He’s so lovable. Hugo and I go for a three-mile walk every day and afterwards sometimes he naps next to me and puts his front paw around my shoulder like he’s holding me.”
For more information on heartworm treatment, please go to fotasaiken.org. You can also donate to the FOTAS “Have a Heart, Save a Heart” Fund to help treat heartworm positive dogs at the shelter.
Their lives are in our hands.