Homeward Bound sale to offer discount spay-neuter, heartworm prevention certificates

  • Lynn Robey, a volunteer with Homeward Bound Pet Rescue, enjoys time outdoors with Oscar, a former resident of the Homeward Bound kennel who she adopted.
    Lynn Robey, a volunteer with Homeward Bound Pet Rescue, enjoys time outdoors with Oscar, a former resident of the Homeward Bound kennel who she adopted.

Homeward Bound Pet Rescue gratefully acknowledges another generous grant award from the Georgia Department of Agriculture that will help continue funding for the pet sterilization component of our community assistance program, Spay Ellijay/ Neuter Today. 

Our next sale for discount spay-neuter certificates will be held Saturday, Nov. 7, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Homeward Bound kennel, 215 Wishon Drive in Blue Ridge. 

Jazzy, a new resident available for adoption from Homeward Bound Pet Rescue, is pictured alongside Jane Tischler, one of the local pet rescue’s volunteers.

Certificates for cats are $25 and $40 for dogs. 

The certificates will be sold through cash purchases only and exclusively to Gilmer County residents. They are redeemable, through appointment, at Georgia Animal Project, located in Ball Ground. 

As a new component of our community assistance program, we will also be launching our Heartworm Prevention Project at the certificate sale. We will be selling these certificates for only $10. 

They include a free basic examination of a dog, a heartworm test and a 6-month ProHeart injection for prevention of this disease. The purchaser will also receive a rebate coupon from Zoetis to be used toward the next ProHeart shot. 

This project is being sponsored by Wayside Animal Hospital and Zoetis Inc. Certificates are redeemable, through appointment, only at the Wayside Animal Hospital in Jasper.

We have learned that heartworm is a not a relatively well-known disease to many people. Although it can affect both dogs and cats, it is rarer in felines. This program focuses on prevention for dogs since it is so easy for them to contract it. Over the past year, we have seen a disproportionate increase in cases of dogs brought to Homeward Bound testing positive for the disease. 

At this time, we are currently providing treatment for 18 heartworm-positive dogs who must suffer needlessly because of the lack of knowledge, financial hardships or basic indifference of their former owners. 

As we’ve tried to help stem the tide of unwanted feline and canine births through our spay-neuter project, we now look to address the importance of heartworm prevention in dogs. 

Heartworm is caused by a parasite that is transmitted from one animal to another through the bite of a mosquito. Once infected, heartworm larvae move into the dog’s heart and blood vessels where they grow into adults. They can eventually migrate to the lungs, kidneys and liver, at some point leading to the animal’s death.

Heartworm can cause considerable damage to an animal’s heart and lungs before any symptoms may be noticed. The only way to positively identify the disease is to test for it. The test is simple, quick and inexpensive. It can be done by a veterinarian or vet tech. 

Heartworm can be easily prevented through the administration of a monthly oral chewable tablet or by annual or semi-annual shots, all of which are obtainable only at a veterinarian’s office. 

Unfortunately, because many people are unaware of this deadly disease and its inherent dangers they do not preventively treat their dogs for it. 

While the pills and vaccines to prevent it are not inexpensive and must be obtained through a veterinary prescription, they are far less costly than the actual treatment needed to cure the animal of the worms. It is a long and painful process that can involve multiple injections and requires enforced rest, quiet and some hospitalization for the dog during the duration of treatment, which typically takes several months. 

If the disease is not discovered until in its late stages, treatment may not be possible and the dog will probably not survive.

While our work continues in the rescue and rehoming of unwanted cats and dogs, we are aware that so many of the problems we deal with once the animals come to us are preventable with care and intervention from former owners. 

This is why we are continually building upon our community assistance program, which currently includes the spay-neuter, heartworm prevention and pet food distribution projects. 

Our overall goal in all of this is not only to take in, treat and improve the lives of dogs and cats that come to our rescue, but to preemptively prevent them from coming at all. 

We want to assist the community in helping to keep their pets with them, whether it be through sterilization programs to prevent the birth of puppies and kittens people can’t keep, with preventative medicine and vaccinations to ensure they remain in good health or by providing pet food for those who need it through the Gilmer Food Bank. 

Education and prevention can go a long way in helping to ensure that these pets have a happy and healthy life with their current owners instead of living out their days in animal shelters or rescues. 

So many of our animal shelters, rescues and veterinary offices work toward this goal by providing free or low-cost services to answer the need. Our latest partner, Be Paws We Care of Jasper, will be joining us in our heartworm prevention efforts. 

They will also be sponsoring the sale of heartworm prevention certificates for Pickens County residents. Although details of their sale dates have not been confirmed, they may be contacted at bepawswecare19@gmail.com for more information. 

For more details about Homeward Bound programs or the upcoming certificate sale, contact us at Homeward@ellijay.com or 706-698-4663. You can also visit our website, HBPR.org. 

For detailed information on heartworm disease, see the American Heartworm Society’s website, HeartwormSociety.org.