Virbac Strengthens Ties to Heartworm Society

Sponsors of the American Heartworm Society help the organization pay for research and education.

Infected dogs can have several hundred worms living inside.

American Heartworm Society

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Virbac Animal Health, which last month added the Sentinel brand to its catalog of heartworm-fighting medications, has taken another step by becoming a platinum-level sponsor of the American Heartworm Society.

Virbac’s three-year commitment of $100,000 in annual funding gives the Fort Worth, Texas, company a non-voting seat on the Heartworm Society’s executive board. The nonprofit organization counts on sponsors to help pay for research into heartworm disease and for education of the veterinary industry and public.

Four other companies hold top-level Platinum status: Bayer Animal Health, Elanco Animal Health, Merial Ltd. and Zoetis Inc.

Virbac acquired the U.S. rights to the popular heartworm drugs Sentinel Flavor Tabs and Sentinel Spectrum in early January from Novartis Animal Health. Novartis was required to spin off Sentinel because of a merger with Elanco.

Virbac’s other heartworm medications are Iverhart Max and Iverhart Plus.

The acquisition of Sentinel reinforced Virbac’s commitment to heartworm education and compliance, said President and CEO Paul Hays.

“We look forward to further strengthening our relationship with veterinary professionals as well as the AHS,” he said.

Virbac was a silver-level sponsor since 2007—a group that includes veterinary product manufacturers Ceva Animal Health, Heska Corp., Idexx Laboratories Inc. and Merck Animal Health.

The Heartworm Society, based in Wilmington, Del., has increased its educational initiatives because of sponsorships, said President Stephen Jones, DVM.

“Not long ago, our major investment was the Triennial Heartworm Symposium,” said Dr. Jones, a private practitioner in Moncks Corner, S.C. “Today we fund a wide range of educational resources for veterinarians, from heartworm guidelines that are followed by more than 70 percent of practitioners, to Heartworm University to online [continuing education].”

The organization’s website—www.heartwormsociety.org—provides client education tools such as brochures, posters, fact sheets, calendars and videos.

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