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      Alert: Shortage in drugs to treat dogs

      Every year Dr. Mark Nowak checks hundreds of dogs in the Syracuse area for heartworm. It's a parasite that can be very serious.

      "Immidicide is a drug that is used to kill the adult stages, very expensive drug and unfortunately like some human medicine has become hard to come by," said Dr. Nowak, who works at True Blue Veterinary Health Center in Syracuse.

      There is a shortage of Immidicide because the maker is having a hard time getting some of the ingredients. It's the only FDA approved drug for treating heart worms in dogs. Dr. Novak says veterinarians are still able to get Immidicide but the drug is going first to animals who need it the most. He says this is highlighting why, even in a tough economy, pet owners still need keep up with preventative care and medications.

      "Because of the shortage, it's probably more prudent for people to be more vigilant about preventative care," said Dr. Nowak.

      This time of year when people are thinking about getting a cat or a dog as a holiday gift, Dr. Nowak says it's especially important to remember it is a financial responsibility and they do cost money. Dr. Nowak says only a few dogs he sees a year test positive for heart worm. but pet owners have to be prepared for anything.

      "You have to kind of plan a little bit and just not let some things like preventative care go too long because the cost can go up exorbitantly," said Dr. Nowak said.

      And impact the overall long term health of your animal.