Best heart worm preventative for a compromised immune system - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Best heart worm preventative for a compromised immune system

As many of you know my pup is going through some major digestive upset right now. His last dose of heart worm medication was September 10th, the vet told us to hold off on giving him his next dose until he had some time to recover... but he has not yet recovered. We used to give him Revolution but I wonder how safe it is.. I've asked every vet I have been to and they recommended HeartGard. However I am terrified to give my new boy this medication as I had a very bad experience in the past. My first GSD developed seizures immediately taking his first dose and it got to the point of 15-20 seizures a day as he got older.... it eventually led to his death. All the vets say its highly unlikely and they have never heard of Heartgard causing seizures... I used to be a fan of Interceptor but I keep reading its not sold in the US anymore, is this true? What is my best bet for my pup with his compromised immune system? We live in Florida, our backyard has mosquitoes so large one of them might pick you up and carry you away!
Thanks again
- Heidi & Gandalf

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 05:52 PM
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Let me preface this with "Do as I say, Not as I do"

I say: Your dog should be on heart worm preventative.

I do: My dog does not use a heart worm preventative. (And yes, I do live in the south east in one of those scary dark dark red areas of the heartworm maps.

My dog has refractory epilepsy. He's had to been hospitalized for cluster seizures. I have found he is very sensitive to a multitude of triggers... Including pesticides. So no heart work or flea and tick product for my boy. Truth is I didn't use it on my senior dog either as in his later years (14 - 17) he developed a sensitive stomach and would throw it up every time I gave it to him...

What has worked for me is environmental control - making my yard an unfriendly environment for pests, using topical repellents (wondercide), and testing for heartworm 4 - 6 times a year (The idea is to catch a possible infection in the early stages when it would be most receptive to the slow kill ivermectin and doxycycline treatment).

This has been working for me very well. Yes, it is risky. In my case the risk outweighs the rewards considering my pup's health issues.

Heartguard is a pretty well reviewed product. It's more likely the ivermectin triggered a seizure in your already seizure prone pup. Many GSDs take heartguard with no problem though. I wouldn't let a past experience with a single dog prevent me from using it with another if that is what is most recommended. However, if you would be more comfortable with interceptor, it IS still available. Ask you vet to write you a script for it. You can purchase it online at sites like 1800petmeds.com
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by GandalfTheShepherd View Post
We live in Florida, our backyard has mosquitoes so large one of them might pick you up and carry you away!
these actually work very very well. I set these up when we do BBQs...

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 07:22 PM
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Your prior dog might have been MDR1 positive. More common in Shelties and Collies, but Sheps have a 10% chance.


It is a simple cheek swab you send out to be tested. Think runs about 75 bucks.


Doesn't revolution have ivermectin?

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. - Unknown
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 07:41 PM
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Interceptor is most certainly sold in the US. Ask your vet.




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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 08:23 PM
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Interceptor is most certainly sold in the US. Ask your vet.
Yep, this is what I use for my dogs.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 10:29 PM
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We use Advantage Multi in rescue, for lots of reasons. One is that it seems to not have adverse complications in sick dogs -- we have treated very weak, immuno-compromised dogs with it without problems, for years. It's topical, so it doesn't have to go through the GI system. It's also more economical than buying separate flea and heartworm products.

In Florida, you don't have a choice -- you've got to keep the dog on some HW prevention product. There are a few topicals to choose from -- or even the Proheart6 injection (good for 6 months), in a young/healthy dog -- so that you don't have to aggravate an angry tummy.
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Last edited by Magwart; 10-05-2017 at 10:31 PM.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Wow thank you all for the great suggestions!! So let me get this straight, as long as I get him tested in 4 months he does not need to be on any preventative? And once hes doing better I can find interceptor in the US? Great!!!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 09:59 AM
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No, Gandalf! You're in Florida!!! He must stay on HW prevention year-round. One missed dose is enough to contract HW in Florida. You won't know he's positive for 6-7 months though b/c it takes that long for the test to detect it.

Killing adult HWs with Heartguard takes 2-3 *years.* This is sometimes a risk that has to be taken with dogs with grave illness (or geriatric dogs)--where you are calculating what's most likely to kill them or create permanent problems--but I would never ever want someone to take this risk with a pup that just has a tender tummy. A topical or injection form of prevention would keep your dog safe.

Also: I would avoid Trifexis if you're concerned about side-effects. That seems to be the one with the most reports online (incl. seizures). No one seems to quite know why a very small percentage of dogs has a serious reaction, even though most dogs taking it are fine.

Last edited by Magwart; 10-06-2017 at 10:06 AM.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GandalfTheShepherd View Post
Wow thank you all for the great suggestions!! So let me get this straight, as long as I get him tested in 4 months he does not need to be on any preventative? And once hes doing better I can find interceptor in the US? Great!!!
It is something I would discuss with my vet.

I shared my experiences as a way you can help minimize the risk if you chose continue to follow your vet's advice of holding off until the dog gets better.

If you do not use a treatment you MUST use a repellent and keep your yard mosquito free. Especially down here in the south east.

The repellent needs to be applied EVERY time you go outside. And sometimes reapplied if out for long periods.

This works for me with my dog that can't have HW preventative, but it IS a risk VS reward scenario.

Talk with your vet. Weigh the pros and cons.
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