Originally created 06/09/01

FDA approves heartworm injection



WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first long-term injectable drug to prevent heartworm in dogs.

One injection provides six months of heartworm protection, the agency said Thursday.

The new drug, ProHeart 6, provides an alternative to current heartworm drugs that involve pills taken daily or monthly.

Heartworm is a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes that can be deadly. In its adult stage the worm infects the heart and major blood vessels of the animal.

The disease occurs in all 50 states with the highest rates of infection within 150 miles of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coast from Texas to New Jersey, and along the Mississippi River and its major tributaries, FDA said.

ProHeart 6 is made by Fort Dodge Animal Health, Fort Dodge, Iowa.

The drug will be available by prescription from a licensed veterinarian. It is approved for use in dogs 6 months of age and older and also treats existing hookworm infections, FDA reported.