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Controversial Suit Over Heartgard Plus
Whistleblower questioned product claims, fired

In response to a 2009 class action lawsuit against Merial, Ltd., over the effectiveness of its popular heartworm preventative, Heartgard Plus, Kari Blaho-Owens, Ph.D., claims her employer asked her to destroy a document pertaining to the lawsuit and to stop analysis of data from an internal investigation that she suspected was inaccurate.

In her own lawsuit against Merial, Blaho-Owens says she was fired in July 2010 when she refused to follow the company directives. She served as the "global head of pharmacovigilance" and in the course of her independent research, says she "discovered that Merial had been aware of serious lack of efficacy adverse events reported regarding 'Heartgard Plus' since as early as 2000." Allegedly, the U.S. FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine was questioning whether its FDA-approved label that Heartgard Plus was 100 percent effective should be changed, which could put Merial at a competitive disadvantage. 


Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.

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Submitted by Anonymous | June 20 2011 |

I just came back from bringing my 1 year old dog to the vet--he is now heartworm positive--I have given him his heartworm medicine (heartgard plus) every month as I am supposed to and now I am looking at a long and painful treatment for not only my dog but for me also--I also will have to take my 2 year old dog for a 6 month recheck to see if she has heartworms also--I give her the same Heartgard Plus medicine--this is something that an owner should never go through--as much as we pay to keep our dogs safe and now to find out from our vet that many other dogs here are also turning up with positive results is uncalled for--why wasn't this product pulled from the market

Submitted by Anonymous | June 24 2011 |

Heartgard has been on the market for over 12 years. It was the first monthly preventative ever to come out. If you have been using Heartgard plus since your dog was a puppy and can prove you purchased it from a veterinarian in quantity sufficient to cover every month of it's life, and heartworm tested the dog every year, Merial will cover the treatment for your dog. If, however, you purchased it from an online pharmacy they do not guarantee that product because the company doesn't sell to internet pharmacies.
It is a good product, however dogs can go out into the yard and vomit the medicine after it is given.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 2 2011 |

Many vets now opt to treat heartworm by monthly preventative with Heartgard (or another product) rather than by the dangerous and painful traditional treatment. You can also use liquid Ivermectin (from farm animal supply stores) and skip expensive Heartgard altogether. Use preventative 12 months a year, don't stop in the winter.

Submitted by Anonymous | September 4 2011 |

my vettold me to use the liquid Ivermectin years ago. This is all I have ever used. I have alot of dogs and this is very inexpensive and the only way I can give my dog preventive. It is also good for mange, ear mites.

Submitted by Anonymous | June 21 2012 |

I, too, have been giving my 7 year old flat coat retriever Heartgard every month without fail. She was diagnosed with Heartworm in March and is part way througth treatment which is difficult for us all as she loves swimming and exercise. Heartgard are paying some towards her treatment but various tests the vet needs to do are not covered. I heard there is a class action lawsuit - does anyone have details?

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