Orange County Government, Florida
24 March 2016
Orange County Animal Services Partners
with LoveyLoaves Rescue to Treat Shelter Dogs
with Heartworm Disease
Orange County Animal Services’ volunteers introduce heartworm-positive dog Red to potential adopters.

Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) has teamed up with Healing Hearts, a community outreach program sponsored by LoveyLoaves Rescue, to provide life-saving treatment for heartworm positive dogs and increase their chances of being adopted.

One in 10 dogs that enter the OCAS Shelter test positive for heartworm disease, which is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets caused by worms that live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels.

LoveyLoaves is covering the cost of treatment for select heartworm-positive dogs (as identified by a placard hanging in the kennels). If a visitor to the shelter is interested in adopting one of these animals, they can rely on Healing Hearts to facilitate treatment at no cost.

“Ten percent of our incoming shelter dogs have heartworm disease, with treatment cost sometimes deterring prospective families from adoption,” said Dil Luther, OCAS Division Manager. “Our partnership with Healing Hearts is essential for combating this epidemic and increasing adoptions. We hope the community supports the success of this truly outstanding program.”

Heartworm disease is fairly pervasive due to a vicious cycle. Infected mosquitoes transmit infective stage heartworm larvae to healthy dogs, and infected dogs then transmit the infection to healthy mosquitoes that bite them. Due to the costly treatment of the disease, which can range from $300 to $600 or even higher in some cases, dogs afflicted with it are less likely to be adopted and more likely to be euthanized through no fault of their own.

Devine added that heartworm disease is not contagious to humans. Additionally, the disease is easily prevented with inexpensive monthly medications that can be purchased at the vet.

“Heartworm is easily treatable, but many people simply can’t afford the upfront cost associated with treatment when adopting a dog,” said OCAS Public Information Officer Carolina Devine. “Our partnership with Healing Hearts will increase the adoptability of heartworm-positive dogs and ultimately save lives.”

For more information about Orange County Animal Services’ new partnership visit LoveyLoaves. If you’re interested in adopting a dog or cat from OCAS, call 407-254-9141, or stop by the shelter at 2769 Conroy Road, Orlando.