Survey Reveals Dog Owners Don’t Understand Heartworm

The results from the Australian Dog Owner Survey,1 commissioned by PawClub, have revealed that veterinarians still have a job to do to ensure dog owners understand the risks, symptoms and prevention strategies associated with heartworm.

The survey canvassed 1,660 dog owners to learn more about their habits and their awareness of heartworm.

The survey revealed that 1 in 3 dog owners incorrectly believe that birds or food can cause heartworm infection in dogs.

There were also misconceptions about heartworm symptoms with almost 1 in 5 reporting hair loss as a symptom, and 6% believing increased barking was a sign of heartworm.

64% of dog owners administered monthly heartworm prevention AFTER it was due1
Of most concern was the fact that, although 99% of dog owners acknowledged that heartworm could be fatal for dogs, 8% don’t use any prevention, and although 48% use monthly prevention, many dog owners are missing doses. In fact, 64% of Australian dog owners admitted administering monthly prevention after it was due and 5% administered monthly prevention more than one month after it was due.

These findings support recent data from the Heartworm Surveillance Project, which found that 40% of recently-reported heartworm cases were in dogs on monthly heartworm tablets or spot-ons.2

References: 1. PawClub, Australian Dog Owner Survey, Weber Shandwick, December 2015. 2. Heartworm Surveillance Project. Available from: vetsaustralia.com.au/heartworm. Accessed on 12/10/15.

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