Pet heartworm medication under voluntary recall

Michael Lopardi

Pet heartworm medication under voluntary recall

CREATED May. 10, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- For many of us, pets are like family. That's why a Valley family was concerned after receiving a letter that their dog's heartworm medication is part of a voluntary recall.
Jane Goldberg has three dogs who mean the world to her.

"They're my kids. I love them," Goldberg said.

She also wants her pets to be healthy, which is why she gives the two older dogs Worm Shield to help prevent heartworm disease.
"Chip takes them every month," Goldberg said. "And Teddy takes them every month."

Just this week, Goldberg received a letter from Banfield Pet Hospital, which is located inside her local PetSmart. The letter, dated April 29, said the manufacturer of Worm Shield voluntarily recalled four lots of the product that Banfield sells and Goldberg may have purchased one of those. Like most people, Jane throws out the box when the medication runs out so she's unsure if her dogs actually took the medicine in question. Still, she's concerned.

"I don't know. I could've been giving them medicine that was ineffective from the get-go and never knew it," Goldberg said.

Goldberg's dogs love to play outside. According to the American Heartworm Society's website, the heartworm parasite is often transmitted through mosquitoes. The letter from Banfield said several batches of Worm Shield are under voluntary recall because of "concerns that it may not fully protect pets through the expiration date."

Banfield said the Food and Drug Administration did not require them to notify customers, but they decided to do so any way. The company sent Action News a statement explaining steps to help customers moving forward.

Customers whose pets may be at risk were contacted and are receiving a free office visit, heartworm test and comparable heartworm prevention product, the statement said. It's unclear how many people are impacted by the recall.

"As a practice, we believe heartworm prevention is a critical piece of preventative care and are committed to ensuring the pets we care for are protected year-round," said Dr. Karen Faunt, DVM, MS, DAVVIM, vice president of medical quality advancement for Banfield.

"I think it's going to be alright because it's not the heat of the summer," Goldberg said. "There's not that many mosquitoes out."

Still, Goldberg told Action News she plans to take advantage of Banfield's offer for a free visit just to make sure her dogs are ok.

Banfield said the manufacturer of Worm Shield is Virbac Animal Health of Texas. Action News reached out to Virbac several times through email and phone but did not recieve a response.

According to Banfield, the lots of Worm Shield that are part of the recall include:

Worm Shield Dog Small, up to 25lbs., lot #120844

Worm Shield Dog Small, up to 25lbs., lot #120196

Worm Shield Dog Medium, 26-50lbs., lot #120845

Worm Shield Dog Medium, 26-50lbs., lot #120202