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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 06:01 AM Thread Starter
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Heartworm

For those of you that stop heartworm meds in the cold months, when you start back up in the spring do you first do a heartworm test?





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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 07:39 AM
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Since moving to Cape Cod, I have been advised by my vet to continue year round, but when I lived in the Metrowest area of the State, I did stop for the winter and then had the test performed before staring again in the spring. However, they do test here every spring as well, even though the treatment is year round. Perhaps my vet is looking at the $$, although I don't buy my products from her.


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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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My guys have been on heartworm all their lives. This is the first year I'm stopping during the winter months. My vet doesn't test in the spring because its hasn't been necessary because I never stopped....





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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 10:30 AM
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Yes, I do stop in the winter, and yes I ALWAYS have him tested before starting up again in the spring. Remember that heart worm meds work to kill the critters AFTER, not to actually "prevent" them. So you start approximately one month after the first possible chance of exposure. Late May/Early June is the earliest that would EVER be needed around here, and that is being VERY conservative. The end of June would probably be fine most years. I suspect you are probably a LITTLE warmer than we are, but I suspect that late May would work fine for you too. Dave posted a nice chart of the possible infection dates by region at one point… Maybe you can get him to post it again. Then remember that you need to give the last dose at least a month AFTER the last possible date of infection. I our area, that usually means a late Nov./early Dec. dose.

The reason it's important to test if you are going to take them off for part of the year is that if they DO, manage to get themselves infected (and it CAN happen, even to dogs who are on preventative year-round) and you give them Heart worm meds when they have a high population of heart worms in their system, the die-off of the worms, themselves can cause damage to the heart and lungs. So dogs with an active infection have to be carefully managed during treatment.


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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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So a dog can get heartworm even when on medication year round?





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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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If so that would mean dogs should be tested yearly no matter what? Yikes, I guess my guys are due!!





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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lfung5 View Post
So a dog can get heartworm even when on medication year round?
Yes. It's unlikely, but possible.


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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 01:26 PM
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If so that would mean dogs should be tested yearly no matter what? Yikes, I guess my guys are due!!
I think they are probably fine, but, yes, my vet advises to test annually.


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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 03:40 PM
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Dr. Jean Dodds recommends the monthly PLAIN heartworm medicine given every 45 days. Basically the medications that just contain Ivermectin (although note that Ivermectin can be a problem for Border Collies and related breeds, so ask your vet for an alternative). Do not use the 6-month shots, use the monthly preventative so you have control in the event your animal experiences a reaction to the medication. It is an accepted practice among dog owners who practice holistic care that Interceptor and Heartgard are given every six weeks instead of every four because they are effective for that long. If you live in a state that does not have mosquitoes year round, it is also important to take your dog off the pills for a few months. In order for microfilariae to develop into the infective stage, it needs to be sufficiently warm (above 57 degrees) for a period of time. It takes approximately 6 months for the microfilariae to mature into adult heartworms, so stopping the drug for a few months will still allow for kill of the various stages when started up again. In fact, ask your vet -- if the adult heartworm load is not too heavy, it is possible to treat the dog using the heartworm preventative rather than putting them through the toxic treatment of arsenic to kill the worms. It is a good idea to give Milk Thistle or an herbal liver detox formula following a dose of the heartworm drug

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 03:47 PM
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My vet recommends taking year round due to the prevention of other things. For example, if you take Heartgard Plus it protects against hookworms and roundworms which can be a year round problem. If giving Heartgard regular, its probably not such a big deal to give only warmer months. Thats my understanding.
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