Caring for a dog with heartworm is a financial and emotional commitment, but for those ready to take the leap, the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter will help cut the cost.
The shelter is offering free adoptions on all heartworm positive pets on Saturday, May 25. Treatment for the condition will also be provided by the shelter for free, according to a press release.
Heartworm is a parasitic worm spread by mosquito bites and cannot be passed from animal to human. The parasite causes symptoms including cough, lethargy and easy exhaustion from exercise. If left untreated, heartworm can cause significant weight loss, fainting and congestive heart failure.
Dogs at public and municipal animal shelters like Gwinnett’s can be at a higher risk for heartworm because many come in as strays or have otherwise not previously received veterinary care that could prevent or detect heartworm. Treatment includes months of medication and restricted physical activity for infected animal.
The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter begins preventative heartworm treatment for animals in its custody and also begins treating animals already infected, but the treatment must continue once the pet is adopted.
“With a little care by the right adoption hero, they can make complete recoveries and live long, happy and healthy lives,” said Alan Davis, director of Gwinnett County Animal Services.
There were about 25 dogs with heartworm at the shelter as of May 20.
All animals are spayed or neutered before they go home with their new owner. They also receive a medical exam, vaccinations and a microchip.
The shelter is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. It is located at 884 Winder Highway in Lawrenceville.
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