This morning I had to give my dog Kitsune his heartworm preventative, like I do on the first of every month. It's so cute the way he gets sooo excited for what's basically a medication. I keep his Heartgard in a certain drawer and when he sees me going into the drawer to get his pill he starts going nuts! I'm glad he actually enjoys taking Heartgard. For most of his life I had him on Sentinel Flavor Tabs for heartworm prevention and he just never enjoyed taking those pills as much as he enjoys the Heartgard chewables. Probably about the only thing I miss about Sentinel is that it helps control fleas as well as preventing heart worm.
I probably would have never even switched to Heartgard if it wasn't for the recent Sentinel/Interceptor shortage. Vets around the country, including Kitsune's, were not able to restock Novartis products apparently due to the fact that the company temporarily closed it's NE processing plant starting in December 2011. This, of course, was the plant that produced Interceptor, Sentinel, Program, and Clomicalm in the US. The plant was shut down in order to preform system upgrades and other improvements. While I believe that keeping things up to date is a good thing, it's unfortunate that Novartis couldn't figure out a way to continue to provide veterinarians and consumers with their popular products such as pet heartworm medications.
As of August 28th, Novartis issued a statement on their website that they have begun "various stages of pre-production and production... for some Novartis Animal Health brands.' According to the statement, they are now producing 5mg strength Clomicalm, and have begun the process of preparing to once again produce Sentinel. The company, however, has so far not been able to provide a date for when their more popular products such as Sentinel and Interceptor will be available to US veterinarians and consumers again. Updates on the status of the situation can be found on this Novartis Animal Health's webpage, however they do not seem to post new updates all that often. The last one, as of today, was posted around the end of August.
I feel for the owners who relied on Novartis' products who were affected by this shortage. Especially for the owners who have dogs who cannot use other types of popular heartworm preventatives. Luckily Kitsune does fine on Heartgard, and in the end I'll probably end up sticking to Heartgard for him mostly due to the fact that it's so much easier to get him to take his Heartgard than it was to convince him to take Sentinel every month. Although the Novartis shortage has been inconvenient for many pet owners, I suspect that it's Novartis themselves who will loose out most in the end, due to the numbers of past costumers who, like myself, may decide to switch heartworm products permanently.