The “Have a Heart(worm) Treatment Program” is now the “Clarence Edgar Davis, Jr. Heartworm Treatment Program Sponsored by Texas Capital Bank”
Dogs with heartworms in Houston are a fact of life. Dogs with heartworms coming into BARC are a sad fact of life. BARC receives thousands of dogs each year afflicted with heartworms (Click Here To Learn About Heartworms), a truly preventable and easily treatable disease. When BARC tests an incoming dog’s blood for heartworms, a positive result in the past usually meant the dog was not a candidate for the adoption building. Euthanization was the usual route for these dogs once the legal stray hold period ended. Thankfully now BARC places hundreds of heartworm positive dogs in the adoption buildings with the same chance to become a welcome addition to a family as a dog that enters BARC free of heartworms.
Without treatment, heartworm positive dogs will either die in a gruesome fashion or have their quality of life markedly decreased over a period of years. In 2013, Friends of BARC decided that in order to entice adopters to select a heartworm positive dog, we would donate the full treatment at BARC performed by BARC veterinarians and staff. The entire treatment process takes approximately 4 ½ months and is costly. What started as a small endeavor has ballooned into our largest annual expenditure. In 2015, Friends of BARC partnered with Texas Capital Bank to fund our most ambitious project to date, a one-year grant dedicated solely for the treatment of BARC dogs with heartworms. The original goal was to treat approximately 240 heartworm positive dogs in that one-year period. Between September 2015 and July 2016, Friends of BARC has donated approximately 285 heartworm treatments at BARC as well as at several local veterinary clinics where rescue groups have treated BARC dogs with heartworms. We had no idea so many adopters would be amenable to selecting a heartworm positive dog, let alone follow the rigorous treatment procedure which requires keeping a dog completely calm for 60 days after Immiticide injections are administered into the dog to rid the body of the adult heartworms. Originally relegated to 2 days a week for the treatments, BARC had to expand the program to perform treatments 7 days a week to accommodate the unexpected success of the program. Not that anyone’s complaining…more treatments equal more saved animals!!!!
Since that first successful grant year, Texas Capital has extended their commitment to Friends of BARC to the 2016-2017 year, and as we recently learned, to the 2017-2018 year. This means literally hundreds and hundreds of heartworm positive dogs at BARC will get a second chance at life thanks to the generous and community-minded folks at Texas Capital Bank.
In addition to the program being extended another year, Friends of BARC decided to honor a long-time BARC employee and original member of Friends of BARC, Clarence Davis, Jr., who passed away suddenly in November 2016, shortly after retiring from BARC. Clarence was a fierce advocate for the animals at BARC and a dear friend to our organization. We decided there was no better way to honor his memory than to rename our program. Moving forward, the program will be known as the Clarence Edgar Davis, Jr. Heartworm Treatment Program Sponsored by Texas Capital Bank.
We want to keep this fantastic program going. We do not want to take a step backward and close the door on treating heartworm positive dogs. But that takes money. Until we can educate all Houstonians on the proper use of a monthly heartworm preventative that can be purchased inexpensively at BARC or local veterinary clinics, we will continue to see hordes of heartworm positive dogs enter BARC. Please donate to this worthwhile cause to allow us to ensure these magnificent creatures, through no fault of their own, have the same opportunity at a full life as their heartworm negative counterparts.