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When to neuter? And what about heartworm, flea & tick meds?
Old 05-30-2012, 09:14 PM   #1
MerryMaeFlower
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Question When to neuter? And what about heartworm, flea & tick meds?

I can't seem to bring up the answers I'm looking for in a search so please forgive me as I am sure this has been asked a hundred times already...

I have always had my dogs spayed/neutered as soon as they were old enough to have the procedure as I didn't want any accidents or difficulties in potty training/marking. I've recently read some things that have said it's better to wait to have a dog fixed, but have also read some things that say its better to do it sooner. I am completely confused as to which is the better route to go. There are many opinions on the subject, are there hard facts about it either way? Like what is the % of complications from neutering done at a younger age versus at an older age, etc, etc...

And also, I have read conflicting information about whether or not to give a dog heartworm, flea and tick medicines. I have read that the medication is poisonous to toy sized dogs and causes all sorts of health issues. But I've read that not giving it can cause heartworm and other problems. AUGH! I am on information overload and I don't want to make the wrong decision and end up hurting my new pup in the long run.

Does anyone have a vet they work with and really trust that has given them information on these topics? I take my dogs to a nice vet, but they seem to recommend the same thing as all the other vets... monthly medicines, neutering at a young age... but if these things are being challenged as not necessarily the best start for a puppy... well, I'd like to know what is!
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:24 PM   #2
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I've heard lots of things on neutering, typically the older the better, I think.

I do treat with heartgard every 5-6 weeks, as for flea/tick treatments, I try really hard to NOT give them to her if possible. We don't seem to have many ticks in our area (thankfully) and we don't typically go out in the woods or anything. SHe is also light colored, so I could SEE any bugs if she had them! We do have 3 mostly outside cats and Tillie has picked up a flea or 2 over the years, but I give her a bath once a week and catch the fleas before they lay eggs or anything. IF our cats have gotten fleas and Tillie has been around them AND is itching we might give her 1/3 of a small dog Frontline Plus dose. But I hate doing it. It actually turns her skin a dark color where I put the stuff.
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:16 PM   #3
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I wish I had waited to have Lizzie spayed. From all I read it is better to do it later.

I don't give heart worm medications. I am not very adept at posting links, but here is everything you could want to know about how heart worm is transmitted.

acreaturecomfort.com/heartworminfo.htm

I'm in Michigan, too!!!
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:10 AM   #4
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Current thinking is that it is better to let the dog mature before you neuter if at all possible.

As far as heartworm and flee and tick meds are concerned, it really depends on where you live. Heartworm is a terrible disease, and the treatment, if they get it, is very, VERY toxic. So if you are in an area where heartworm is a possibility, prevention is very important.

Ticks also carry horrible diseases, so you need to look at how bad the ticks are in your area and then decide whether/what kind of flea/tick meds they need. There are some people who do really well with herbal flea and tick preventatives, including apple cider vinegar rinses and sprays. It also depends on how much time your dog spends outdoors. But if you live in southern NE and like to go for hikes in the woods, as I do, you really HAVE to use a strong tick repellant/killer.

Fleas can be a problem anywhere, and can cause problems for everyone in the house. But again, some people are able to control them with herbal products, while other people have to pull out the big guns. Since most of the stuff used for ticks also kills fleas, I don't need to think about fleas separately.
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:37 PM   #5
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I really think it is important to give them the Heartguard Plus. In order for a vet to even give you the heart worm meds they need to do a blood test first to make sure your dog doesn't have heart worms. If it does, then giving them the meds can make it worse. It seems to be on the rise lately and even more dangerous and treatments after the fact seem to be fairly worthless. It can be very deadly.
Fleas are more a matter of choice. I would certainly wait to see if you even have fleas before you treat for it.
I like to spay/neuter around 6-7 months but I know many who would oppose this.
JMHO.
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MerryMaeFlower View Post
I can't seem to bring up the answers I'm looking for in a search so please forgive me as I am sure this has been asked a hundred times already...

I have always had my dogs spayed/neutered as soon as they were old enough to have the procedure as I didn't want any accidents or difficulties in potty training/marking. I've recently read some things that have said it's better to wait to have a dog fixed, but have also read some things that say its better to do it sooner. I am completely confused as to which is the better route to go. There are many opinions on the subject, are there hard facts about it either way? Like what is the % of complications from neutering done at a younger age versus at an older age, etc, etc...

And also, I have read conflicting information about whether or not to give a dog heartworm, flea and tick medicines. I have read that the medication is poisonous to toy sized dogs and causes all sorts of health issues. But I've read that not giving it can cause heartworm and other problems. AUGH! I am on information overload and I don't want to make the wrong decision and end up hurting my new pup in the long run.

Does anyone have a vet they work with and really trust that has given them information on these topics? I take my dogs to a nice vet, but they seem to recommend the same thing as all the other vets... monthly medicines, neutering at a young age... but if these things are being challenged as not necessarily the best start for a puppy... well, I'd like to know what is!
I just went to the vet today and he was fine with me not giving flea and tick medication. And where we live he said there was no need for the heart worm medication. So I guess it depends on where you live. I decided to wait to spay. The vet recommended waiting on a bitch tell a few heats. I'm not sure with a male some couldn't stand waiting because of marking.
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:59 PM   #7
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Copied from webmd.com

Q: How do dogs get heartworms?

A: Only by the bite of an infected mosquito. There’s no other way dogs get heartworms. And there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is infected. That’s why prevention is so important.

Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. And the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease.

Heartworm disease has not only spread throughout the United States, but it’s also now found in areas where veterinarians used to say “Oh, we don’t have heartworm disease.” Areas like Oregon, California, Arizona, and desert areas -- where irrigation and building are allowing mosquitoes to survive. And if you have mosquitoes and you have animals, you’re going to have heartworms. It’s just that simple.

It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, can live 5-7 years, and a dog can have as many as 250 worms in its system.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:26 AM   #8
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Heartworm is very difficult to actually get. It is very temperature dependent for it to develop in the mosquito. That web site I mentioned in my previous post explains it very clearly. That is why a heart worm test every 6 months is effective. The antibody test shows if the dog has ever been exposed to heart worm even if the worms have died. The antigen test detects female worms at least 5-8 months old. Even then then need to reproduce. So if they are detected they are easy to treat. The dogs immune system may even take care of them.

Heartworm meds do not prevent heart worm. They kill any larvae that the dog may have contracted.

For those of us living in cooler areas monthly meds are unnecessary and the twice yearly heart worm test would be about the same cost as the med or cheaper. If you are in a warmer climate then every 6 weeks would be sufficient to give the med. Maybe even longer.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:53 AM   #9
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Thank you all so much for this input. It has given me more food for thought.

My previous dog, Ophie, died suddenly of a seizure at the young age of 9 years and I am still tremendously heart broken (3 years later). I want to do what I can to help ensure a healthy long life for Gilbert.
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Old 06-01-2012, 04:11 PM   #10
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Lynne, we must agree to disagree on this one
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