Dog heartworm awareness gets local support


State Rep. Tony Hwang and Fairfield Warde High School student Annie Blumenfeld testify in support of a dog heartworm prevention bill.

State Rep. Tony Hwang appeared in support of Fairfield Warde High School sophomore Annie Blumenfeld as she testified in support of a proposed bill to raise awareness about heartworm disease in dogs today in the Environment Committee.

HB-5422, An Act Concerning Awareness of Heartworm Disease and the Standard Dog Licensing Form, will help raise awareness concerning heartworm prevention in dogs by requiring the dog licensing form to contain a check-off box for the purpose of raising awareness that such dog receives heartworm preventative medication.

The issue of dog heartworm came to Hwang’s attention after he met Annie and heard her story about her dog, Teddy, who was rescued by a shelter in Houston, where he spent his life in a crate with the heartworm disease spreading but never diagnosed.

“After learning about my rescue dog Teddy’s experience I was determined to spread awareness to pet owners about how they can avoid this disease so they do not have to go through with their dog what Teddy went through,” Annie said. “It was an honor to work with Mr. Hwang as he shares my enthusiasm. After months of eagerly waiting for our public hearing it was exciting to firsthand witness the legislative process and it was a day I will always remember.”

“Currently, the dog license provides the owner with forms that have multiple check boxes as reminders for vaccinations such as rabies and various other reminders,” Hwang said. “The proposal would include a check-off box on a dog license form about whether heartworm preventative is being considered. This will encourage people to consider using the medication if they aren’t already. The timing of this proposal will coincide with the upcoming license form re-design from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, which has not changed since 2007.”

This check-off box would be a preventive step for dog owners. The treatment for heartworms costs $2,000. In comparison, the preventative inspection starts at $45, depending on the weight of the dog, and this provides the preventative measure so necessary for all dogs.

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