Maple is still waiting for an adopter and will be treated when she gets adopted.

Starlight Outreach assists local shelters with heartworm treatments

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By KAROLYN GEPHART

Help is on the way for shelter dogs who have heartworms.

Starlight Outreach and Rescue, a Friendswood-area nonprofit organization, is raising funds to help offset the cost of treatment to help increase the odds of adoption for heartworm positive pets.

The organization is currently working with Friendswood Animal Control to provide funds toward heartworm treatment for their heartworm positive adoptable dogs, so that adopters don’t incur the full cost of treatment.

Funding is made on a sliding scale, working with adopters to identify their ability to pay for part of the treatment cost, which varies depending on the size and physical condition of the animal being treated.

“When it comes to stray dogs, area shelters report approximately 50 percent of dogs in their facilities test positive for heartworm disease upon arrival. Dogs with heartworm can be particularly difficult to get adopted due to cost to treat the disease, which can reach $1,000 or more,” Friendswood Animal Shelter Volunteer and Liaison Amy Castro said. “Adopters willing to spend $50 to $150 to adopt a pet, often balk at the possibility of starting out a new life with their pet with a $1,000 medical bill on top of that.”

Starlight Outreach and Rescue, which began in late 2017, has already helped pay for treatment for three dogs and has plans to treat at least seven more dogs who are currently at Friendswood Animal Control or who have been recently adopted from the facility.

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets that is caused by foot-long worms that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body.

Although the disease can affect dogs, cats, and other animals, it is very prevalent in dogs. According to the American Heartworm Society, Texas is one of the top five states in incidence of heartworm disease in dogs.

To learn more or help the organization serve more animals and provide more treatment funds for heartworm and other life-saving medical treatment for stray and abandoned pets, go to www.StarlightOutreachandRescue.org.

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