The parasitic, thread-like worms spread from dog to dog through mosquito bites. If left untreated, heartworm can cause heart failure, lung disease, organ damage and death.
You can easily prevent heartworm with a monthly medication available through a veterinarian. But once infected, treatment becomes a lengthy process.
Carrot was one of 21 heartworm-positive dogs that Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) saved since the pandemic began last year. All these homeless dogs were at public shelters that lacked the resources and time to devote to their full recovery. Thanks to donors and a network of volunteer foster families, ARF is uniquely positioned to care for these intricate, long-term cases and give them a second chance at a long, healthy life.
Foster families care for infected dogs for 10 to 12 weeks while they undergo prolonged treatment. Each dog receives antibiotics as well as three injections of medication that kills the worms. Physical activity is deeply restricted during this time to prevent dangerous complications. If a dog gets too active, dying worms could obstruct blood vessels in the lungs, with serious consequences.
You can imagine the challenge that poses for energetic pups, like Carrot. To keep dogs happy and busy during this treatment, ARF provides foster families with food puzzles, interactive treats and other creative outlets for mental enrichment until the dogs are fully recovered and ready to find forever homes.
Want to help? View items that ARF’s foster program needs at arflife.org/wish-list, become a foster volunteer at arflife.org/foster or make a donation at arflife.org/donate. In honor of ARF’s 30th anniversary, every gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a generous donor until our $500,000 goal is met.
Carrot and all the animals in ARF’s care are grateful for your support. It presents the opportunity to start the next chapter in their lives.
Elena Bicker is the Executive Director of Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. She can be reached at (925) 256-1ARF (1273).