I treat a LOT of dogs for heartworm disease. The treatment is not complicated to perform, but managing the dog's six to ten weeks of convalescence can be quite complicated. That's why I took the trouble to produce my own brochure to help explain the process to clients. There are lots of ready-made sources of information on the disease process, but it was a little harder to find an explanation of the nuts and bolts of what goes on inside the dog — why you might have complications, and how to recognize them, and what to do about them.
Since we treat a lot of dogs for heartworm disease, we use an awful lot of this medication. Immiticide is the only drug available to treat dogs to kill the adult heartworms. It is made by only one company, Merial. [There was an older drug called Caparsolate – Merial bought the patent and deep-sixed it.] There are five little vials in the box. Once you mix them up, they are only good for 24 hours, so there's not a lot of medicine in each vial — you wouldn't want to waste it. An average big dog will take 3 or 4 vials to treat. A really big dog could take five. It's not uncommon for me to go through fifteen bottles in a week. Whenever my stock drops below fifteen bottles, I re-order.
That is, I try to re-order. While I used to order everything by phone (I'm such a Luddite), I recently started ordering on-line from my main distributor. I was really hacked off when Immiticide would not come up on my screen Wednesday evening, and I sent them a very sharp e-mail. I had to order by phone the next day. That is, I tried. My distributor apologized, saying that there's no problem with the way I use their website — they just cannot sell the product right now. There is a shortage, and I would have to order direct from the manufacturer.
Today I received a form letter recapitulating the information I got when I contacted Merial yesterday. "As a result of unforeseen technical difficulties during a planned manufacturing site transfer…" [overseas, perhaps? Maybe they are relocating production to Afghanistan?] Anyhow, they are rationing the stock they have, as they don't expect to be back in production before APRIL. If I have a dog I need to treat right now, and I'm totally out of medicine, and I beg really hard, and if I'm a really good boy for Christmas, they might sell me one box of five bottles. BUT ONLY ONE BOX AT A TIME, and only if I can prove I really need it, and only once per week.
So now I have to beg Merial before I can schedule a treatment. I'd love to know what those actual "technical difficulties" are… and where they are relocating the production site.