SHAWNEE, Kan., March 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division today encouraged owners of America's 78 million dogs to take an important first step towards heartworm testing and prevention by making an appointment with their pet's veterinarian in April, which is National Heartworm Awareness Month.
The good news is heartworm, a potentially life-threatening disease, is easily preventable – but the bad news is most dogs are not receiving heartworm preventive therapy each month, according to Cristiano von Simson, DVM, MBA, director of veterinary technical services at Bayer Animal Health.
"Veterinarians are a dog's best friend when it comes to preventing heartworm and other pathogenic internal parasites, like hookworms and whipworms," said Dr. von Simson. "In fact, they are in the best position to evaluate the dog's medical history and lifestyle and discuss the best plan to provide comprehensive internal parasite protection. Veterinarians can diagnose, dispense once-monthly heartworm preventives and, if necessary, treat the disease."
According to Dr. von Simson, Bayer Animal Health will expand its efforts to educate consumers about the importance of regular veterinary care through a direct mail and email campaign in April that will reach nearly three million pet owners nationwide.
Once-monthly, year-round preventive therapy recommended
Caused by worms living in the heart and arteries of the lungs, heartworm disease can result in serious damage to these arteries, eventually leading to heart failure, and in severe cases, damage to other organs such as the liver and kidneys. The American Heartworm Society's revised guidelines for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of canine heartworm – issued in January 2012 – recommend annual heartworm screening (antigen testing) and year-round use of preventive therapy for all dogs. However, compliance for heartworm preventives is typically between eight and nine doses a year, which does not provide optimal protection, according to Dr. von Simson.
"Preventing heartworm requires 12 months a year of preventive therapy and it all begins in the veterinarian's office," said Wallace E. Graham, Jr., DVM, president, American Heartworm Society. "Veterinarians are experts on dog parasites, such as heartworm, and their ability to both prescribe and dispense preventives increases compliance. When pet owners leave their veterinarian's office, it is essential that they leave with the medicine they need to protect their dogs from this serious disease."
About Advantage Multi® for Dogs
For more information on Advantage Multi® for Dogs and heartworm disease, visit http://www.advantage-multi.com/.
CAUTION: Available only from a licensed veterinarian. CONTRAINDICATIONS: Do not administer this product orally. Do not use this product on cats. WARNINGS: For the first 30 minutes after application: Ensure that dogs cannot lick the product from application sites on themselves or other treated dogs, and separate treated dogs from one another and from other pets to reduce the risk of accidental ingestion. Ingestion of this product by dogs may cause serious adverse reactions including depression, salivation, dilated pupils, incoordination, panting, and generalized muscle tremors. In avermectin sensitive dogs, the signs may be more severe and may include coma and death. HUMAN WARNINGS: Children should not contact application site for two (2) hours.
About Bayer HealthCare
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 16.913 billion (2010), is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover and manufacture products that will improve human and animal health worldwide.
With sales of EUR 1,120 million (2010), Bayer's Animal Health division is one of the world's leading manufacturers of veterinary drugs. The business manufactures and markets approximately 100 different veterinary drugs and care products for food-supplying animals and companion animals. U.S. Headquarters for Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division is located in Shawnee, Kansas. Find more information at www.bayerhealthcare.com.
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer's public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
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 American Pet Products Association, 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, http://americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp; accessed March 14, 2012.
 American Heartworm Society, Heartworm Disease – A Serious Threat, http://www.heartwormsociety.org/media-room/background.html; accessed March 14, 2012.
 American Heartworm Society, Current Canine Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Prevention, and Management of Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) Infection in Dogs (revised January, 2012), http://www.heartwormsociety.org/veterinary-resources/canine-guidelines.html; accessed March 14, 2012.
 AllPoints Research 2011, data on file.
SOURCE Bayer HealthCare LLC