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Author Topic: Heartworm  (Read 1768 times)

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Offline AshertoAsher

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Heartworm
« on: June 23, 2011, 12:04:28 PM »
So what's the deal with heartworm medications? Does the vet administer them during the yearly check-up or is that something that dog owners have to buy and administer?
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Offline Roxie

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2011, 12:07:57 PM »
You buy the tabs and give them once a month... or maybe one of the monthly spot ons have the chemical in them, also
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Offline Amber

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2011, 12:55:25 PM »
If you are a member of the IAADP, you can get Advantage Multi which treats fleas, ticks, and also heartworm for free if your vet requests it.
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Offline k1maplewd

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2011, 01:05:13 PM »
last I knew advantage multi does NOT treat ticks.  Bayer's advantix is their tick product. 
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Offline Spectrum

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2011, 01:31:11 PM »
Katrin is correvct, advantage does not do ticks but advantix does. I personally don't trust spot-on heartworm meds. I use Heartgard for my dogs because I get it free at work. It is given once a month. It is  not a preventative per se, but kills any baby heartworms your dog has been infected with in the last 30 days or so. Interceptor is the other common product, and Trifexis is new but is Interceptor combined with Comfortis for flea protection.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2011, 03:26:30 PM »
Heartworm medicine is a poison that targets certain life stages of the heart worm parasite. It does not repel or prevent infestation, but kills the larva before they reach the heart, where they will eventually kill the dog.

Heartworm larva are transmitted from infected dogs to uninfected dogs by mosquitoes. In some areas, where it is certain there is no chance to encounter this vector during the winter, heartworm medicine is not necessary year round. In most of the US it IS nessecary. Follow your vets instructions on whether to give it year round or take a break in the winter.

Traditional heartworm medication must be given monthly. I use iverheart, which also deals with a few other internal parasites. Use the formulation recommended by your own veterinarian. He knows best what the parasite risks are in your specific location, as well as any special needs or concerns for your individual dog. Vets are required to draw blood for a heartworm test as a condition of prescribing heartworm medication. In some areas, this must be done annually. In others, every other year is sufficient.

The cost of the medication varies by brand and size of dog, but estimate around $10 per month per dog. You can get some free product through IAADP, but I don't like the formula offered, so I buy my own. 

You must be diligent with the monthly treatment. It's fine to miss by a few days, but it is not fine to skip any pills without your vet's consent. If the larva develop beyond a certain point (due to missed medication) and then you give the medication without retesting first, it can kill the larva in the wrong place OR not kill them at all. There is a point in the development of the heartworm where giving the medication can actually injure the dog, even kill him. My point:  it is imperative to follow the rules for the safety of your dog.
1.  Give the medication every month as prescribed. Make sure the dog really swallows it and doesn't just spit it under the fridge where you won't find it until next spring.
2.  If you are a few days late, give it anyway.
3.  If you are a month late, do not make it up by giving two. Instead, skip that pill. You get one free I-forgot-the-pill per year. More than one should be reported to your veterinarian because retesting may be necessary.
4.  Never give heartworm medicine to a heartworm positive dog (except under vet's orders as treatment for the infection). It can kill a HW positive dog.
5.  If there is any doubt whether the dog might have a heartworm infection (ie he did not receive or might not have received the last two or more doses), retest and make sure--do not guess or hope for the best. Your dog's life is worth more than a $25 blood test.
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Offline Amber

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2011, 07:57:18 PM »
Can you use something like Advantix in addition to the Advantage Multi?
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Offline Sheenar

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2011, 08:00:53 PM »
Can you use something like Advantix in addition to the Advantage Multi?

You'd be double-dosing on the flea preventative --which can be dangerous.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2011, 08:33:35 PM »
Advantix and Advantage and Advantage Multi are all the same base chemical (for fleas). Advantix has something added for ticks and Multi has something added for heartworm. You should not double it. It's better to just use Advantix, which I think you can still get with IAADP and then use a separate HW med.

The inherent problem with Multi is that you are using an external application to treat internal parasites. It's the flip side of using an oral medication (internal application) to treat external parasites, as with an oral flea treatment.

Be aware that if you have cats, you MUST take special precautions using Advantix on a dog in the same household. This is not the case with Frontline.
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Offline Spectrum

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2011, 08:50:42 PM »
Don't use Advantage with Advantix. You could use Advantix with a heartworm pill though. Or Advantage Multi with a Preventick collar ( not sure how well those work though...I'm leery of collars).

The problem with a topical heartworm medication is that most people fail to apply them properly, or wash them off too soon, etc. If they reach thew skin and stay there they do actually work. But it's WAY too easy to screw it up.

Revolution is the only heartworm medication that is accepted as safe for heartworm positive dogs. However, ivermectin and milbmycin are used to treat heartworm infections via the "slow kill" method. They are given just like with any other dog. The dog will test negative within a couple months, but it takes YEARS for the heartowrm to die (the meds kill the microfilaria and sterilize the female heartworms, thereby shrinking their uterus and total mass of the worms since a female heartworm is mostly uterus). That is the primary reason to test before starting - you will not know your dog is infected unless you test first. You should test before starting, and then 6 motnhs after starting, and yearly thereafter. NO heartowrm pills allow for testing every other year. Heartgard, Interceptor and Trifexis (as possibly others) have a guarantee that if you give the pill every month (or purchase enough to use every month), and test every year, if your dog turns up positive for heartworms, they will pay for the treatment (which is expensive, time-intensive, and dangerous, but you don't really have much choice). If you test every other year, sdon't test, or don't treat year-round, that guarantee is not applicable.

Iverhart and Proheart are generics of Heartgard - ivermectin. I don't know if Interceptor has a generic, but I don't tihnk so. Milbemycin/Interceptor/Trifexis/Sentinel do heartworms, roundwormd, hookworms and whipworms. Ivermectin/Iverheart/Proheart/Heartgard do heartowrm and roundworms.

If you are using milbemycin (Interceptor, Sentinel or Trifexis) you MUST give at least 3 monthly doses AFTER the last possible exposure to mosquitoes to be sure your dog is not infected. That means around here, the last exposure is generally in November, so we have to give it December, January, and February. Exposure starts up again in March. So it must be given year-round here. Now, the only one that is labeled this way is Trifexis, because it is the most recent product and to get it lebelled the guidelines were more strict. But since it is the same ingredient, this iapplies to other products with that ingredient. To be safe I would apply the principle to ALL heartworm meds, just in case.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2011, 08:59:15 PM »
Quote
There are two accepted protocols for heartworm prevention. The recommended protocol is 9-12 months of heartworm preventative with an annual test. The second option (at owner’s request or Doctors’ discretion) is all year heartworm preventative with bi-annual heartworm test.

My vet does the bi-annual. So did the other local vet I used for a while. Follow YOUR vet's advice on whether testing should be annual or bi-annual.
Kirsten and Tardis
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"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline Spectrum

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2011, 09:24:36 PM »
Quote
There are two accepted protocols for heartworm prevention. The recommended protocol is 9-12 months of heartworm preventative with an annual test. The second option (at owner’s request or Doctors’ discretion) is all year heartworm preventative with bi-annual heartworm test.

My vet does the bi-annual. So did the other local vet I used for a while. Follow YOUR vet's advice on whether testing should be annual or bi-annual.

Regardless of the vet's recommendations, the product guarantees are not valid if you only test every other year. It is the manufacturers that decide that, not the vet. A heartworm test every year for 10 years runs around $300-$400. Heartworm treatment runs around $800-$1200. 

On the subject of costs, heartworm preventative every month ($7 a month on average, depends on the product and the size of the pet) for 10 years runs around $840. Treatment ONE time (and if the dog is not on preventative they can get infected multiple times, they are not immune after being infected once) runs around $800-$1200 and risks the dog's life. 
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2011, 10:03:13 PM »
Vaccine manufacturers also recommend annual vaccinations, though the AVMA has stated this is over kill.

My vet determines what is in my animals' best interests, not a drug manufacturer.  A guarantee is nothing to me if my vet does not also agree with their recommendations. If bi-annual testing is sufficient to protect my dogs, why should I test twice as often to please them?  There are risks in everything we do, including blood draws for heartworm tests. When the draw is necessary for the health of my dog, we accept the risk. When it is not necessary, we decline the risk. It's that simple for me. For the manufacturer, they assume no risk whatever if there is a problem from unnecessary testing, but they do reduce their own risk of having to pay out. Their interests are not the same as my own. My dog is more important than their liability.

I say again:  you hire a vet to see to your dog's medical care. If you trust him, listen his advice. If you do not, find a different vet.
Kirsten and Tardis
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In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline Spectrum

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2011, 11:51:08 PM »
Quote
Vaccine manufacturers also recommend annual vaccinations, though the AVMA has stated this is over kill.

Most vaccine manufacturers are changing recommendations. Imrab has been labelled for 3 years for ages, and my municipality only started accepting 3 year rabies vaccines a couple years ago. Even though the label and my vet said 3 years was sufficient from a health standpoint, I still had to vaccinate my dogs every year or my dogs would not be legal in the city.


From the American Heartworm Society:
Quote
Annual testing is an integral part of ensuring that prophylaxis is achieved and that more timely treatment can be provided to dogs that test positive in order to minimize pathology.

http://www.heartwormsociety.org/veterinary-resources/canine-guidelines.html#5  (there is a TON of information on the AHS site...life cycles, prevention, treatment, etc, if it pertains to heartworms, it's there)


I've been kind of irritated and disenchanted with vets in general lately. And irritated with myself for changing my mind about becoming a vet (I still don't think I could handle finishing my pre-vet and going to vet school, but at the same time I cannot find a vet I like and agree with). Maybe someday when I meet a vet that TRULY cares about the best interests of the animal, I'll be happy with a vet. But when the vast majority of vets support pediatric speutering, :poo:-quality foods, over-vaccinating (even every 3 years is really too often, hardly any vets recommend checking titres which is the *best* thing to do) and have no regard for subtle differences in health and behavior that affect a performance or working dog or even a well-loved pet, it's hard to trust a vet with anything. Which is why I do research myself. I know what I think is best for my animals, and I direct their care. Sure, the vet carries it out, but I am in control of my dogs' health.  If I trusted my vet, Gavroche would be under-medicated or not diagnosed at all and have a poor quality of life, Logan would be on a filler :poo: food (w/d), and my dogs would have been neutered at 5 months of age.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: Heartworm
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2011, 12:15:06 AM »
I've discussed titers with two different vets (different offices).  Both were willing to do it if that's what I really wanted, but felt the results from titers were not as conclusive as internet reports would have you believe.

The AHWS can say what they want in generalities.  They do not know me, or my dog, or the risks specific to the area where I live.  My vet does.  He is well read and well aware of all the current literature.  He has three decades of personal experience to fall back on.  His interest is in my dog, my whole dog, and me, and not just a single issue like HW, but the whole picture.

I obey the law, including vaccination requirements because I must or risk losing my dog to Animal Control.  I do not take veterinary advice from manufacturers or special interest groups.  I trust my vet.  If I didn't, Cole would have been dead these last five months because I had already given up the ghost and made an appointment to euthanize him when he asked me to try one more thing.  The man gave up his lunch hour to drive to my house and try to save my dog and give me a hug and say he was soooo sorry.  And he didn't even charge me.  When I got snowed in with a blizzard and ran out of Cole's medicine, he dropped some off on his way home because he had a 4WD.  It was a long day for him because I read in the paper he had started the morning off by digging out all of his neighbors on his dead-end street.  He's a good man, a good vet, and I trust him.  'Nuf said.
Kirsten and Tardis
with Luna and Ruby
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

 


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