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Vet Techs Take Lead on Heartworm Education

A new team called Merial Tech Champions will work with veterinary technicians nationwide.

From left, Rebecca Rose, Janet McConnell, Dan Swenson, Julie Legred, Holly Morss, Kara M. Burns and Kenichiro Yagi.

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Seven veterinary technicians have been recruited to teach their peers to start conversations with pet owners about a serious topic: heartworm prevention.

The team, called the Merial Tech Champions, will show up at events nationwide to spread the messages that heartworm disease is potentially fatal, monthly preventives are recommended and veterinary technicians should raise the topic with pet owners.

The sponsor is Merial Ltd. of Duluth, Ga., the manufacturer of the Heartgard Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel) heartworm preventive.

Among the team members is Julie Legred, CVT, the executive director of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA).

“As veterinary technicians, we have many daily responsibilities to our patients that keep us busy,” Legred said. “Among these is talking with pet owners about the threat of heartworm disease and the importance of monthly prevention. Pet owners should always speak with a veterinarian about which products are effective and easy to administer.”

The team will work to put misconceptions about heartworm disease to rest.

“One mosquito bite is all it takes to transmit heartworms,” Legred said. “It’s extremely important that all pet owners understand this risk as they consider ways to keep their pets healthy.”

The other members are Kara M. Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, VTS; Janet McConnell, CVT, RVT; Holly Morss, CVT; Rebecca Rose, CVT; Dan Swenson, CVT; and Kenichiro Yagi, RVT, VTS.

The team is scheduled to be in action:

  • July 13: American Veterinary Medical Association convention in Boston
  • Sept. 18: IVECCS conference in Washington, D.C.
  • Sept. 26: Southwest Veterinary Symposium in Fort Worth, Texas
  • Oct. 15: Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference in Atlantic City, N.J.
  • Dec. 4: CVC San Diego
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