There is absolutely no question in my mind (in hindsight) that my puppyís on and off diarrhea his first year was because of Heartguard plus. At least twice he had received it within a week of landing in the vetís office and when I mentioned it to the vet (not our usual vet) he didnít even try to hide his eye roll. So the next time I was almost embarrassed to mention it and didnít press the issue as I should have. Thereís a very good chance the problem is the other ingredients in the chew, or the combination of worming meds, but we werenít able to have a real discussion about this because of the dynamic that was created. I think the most important thing in a vet are those basic communication skills for this reason. The vet could be the most skilled in the world, but if your communication styles donít mesh at all, whatís the point? Information will become lost. A vet doesnít necessarily have to be on the cutting edge of all the new research - just willing to listen and be open to considering it. If you feel like that is your vet, then I think youíre in a good place. Research what you can, get feedback from your vet, and collaborate.
I didnít know there is a heartworm preventative that is safer for Havanese, thank you for posting that, Karen. Fortunately we live in a dry climate, so we are going with testing for now, but we might need to reconsider preventatives at some point.
I have to reiterate along with others, donít be so hard on yourself!
We did use Heartgard for the period of time when Interceptor was off the market in the US (the factory here in the US burned down, and has since been rebuilt) and didn't have a problem with it. But since we DO live in an area where heartworm IS a problem in the warm months, (especially with all the rescue dogs brought up from the deep south, who ALL come up infected with Heartworm!) AND we have a solid track record of "no problems" with Interceptor, both with my personal dogs and with dogs in my dogs' bloodlines, so I prefer to stick with the "known" product.
I agree completely with your assessment of vets and their demeanor. The local vet that we first used for the dogs, and continued to use for our cat until her death, was very "traditional", but he also was very open to listening to what I had to say, and considering my input. He was completely willing to work with the alternative medicine vet when Snowbelle (the cat) needed low-level laser treatments for her arthritis in her old age. The local practice didn't offer this, so she went up to our integrative practice for her treatments, and they coordinated treatment with the local practice for everything else. THEY told ME that they didn't want to vaccinate her anymore when she was about 12, even though she lived to 17. (except for Rabies, since she was an in and outdoor cat, so Rabies was a bigger danger for her. But again, on a 3 year rotation, she only got that once during that period)
I think it was foolish for your vet not to listen to you about your concerns about your pup's reaction to the Heartgard. ANY animal (or human) can have a one-off reaction to ANY substance. It doesn't have to be common, and the vet doesn't have to have ever seen it before. If you only see an animal get sick ONCE after taking a specific medication, and it's mild, you might not want to jump to the conclusion that it was the med. When it continues to happen... It's kind of silly not to make the connection!