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Safety Of Heartworm Product Questioned

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Local veterinarians are standing by a heartworm prevention drug, despite thousands of complaints about adverse reactions.

ProHeart 6

is widely used by vets as a convenient heartworm solution.

More than 4,000 pet owners have filed complaints with the Food and Drug Administration blaming ProHeart 6 for adverse reactions in their dogs. Although not all were proven, owners claimed more than 400 dogs died from it.

Dr. Joe Gordon recommends an injection of ProHeart 6 every six months.

"We've had good results with it," Gordon said.

Check the Internet and some pet groups claim the opposite. They write, "Beware of ProHeart 6" and compile complaints from pet owners across the country who believe the drug made dogs sick or killed them.

"It raises a level of fear that some people may not even prevent the heartworms in their dogs, which would be a very serious mistake," Gordon said.

Gordon contends his clients have not seen any adverse reactions. He does say he will not use the product on dogs that test positive for heartworms and the FDA has now ordered the manufacturer to

change the label

reflecting that opinion.

In clinical trials, the ProHeart 6 label shows 1 percent out of 280 dogs experienced anything from vomiting to seizures.

In a written response to WRAL's questions,

Fort Dodge Animal Health

, the manufacturer of ProHeart 6, stands by the safety of its product.

The company argues many of the complaints about reactions were never proven and claims only three reactions are reported for every 10,000 doses sold.

Gordon says he has no reason to believe he needs to stop offering the product.He says he injects ProHeart 6 into his own dog, Graham, a Great Dane.

Gordon suggests pet owners do their own research and talk with their vet. For those still concerned, he recommends using a heartworm preventative that has worked for your dog. He says either way, use a preventative, because heartworms are deadly.