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heartgard before test
I took Heidi to the vet for her annual exam/heartworm test, but have not taken my two labs yet. My vet said to go ahead and start the labs on the Heartgard, even though they haven't had the test yet. He had me do that last year too, since I am sometimes a little late bringing them in. My question is if that's ok, then why do we have to have/pay for the test at all? I think our vet is confident that our dogs are on the Heartgard all during heartworm season and that I am diligent (anal) about this.
Because prevention is not 100% and testing is recommended. Resistant strains to all the avermectins are developing in the Mississippi Valley and spreading out.
If you only use HW preventative seasonally (instead of year round), you are at greater risk of a positive dog -- thus the increased need for annual testing. I know people who ended up with HW(+) dogs this way. I actually test every 6 months with dogs that come into rescue with unknown histories-- and recommend our adopters do it too, since it takes 6 months for a HW baby worm that slips through the prevention to mature to a larval stage that the test can pick up. I'm in an area with confirmed resistance to ivermectin though, and a HW epidemic, so we take it pretty seriously.
The American HW Society now recommends year-round prevention, even where winters are cold:
American Heartworm Society | FAQs (see the question about Minnesota)
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