heartworm preventative (colder climates) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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heartworm preventative (colder climates)

Just curious, how many do year round preventative?

Living in north west Ohio I have never done year round preventative Usually start in March last dose in October, my old vet was always fine with that, never had a dog with heartworms. Since he retired and sold his clinic to VCA I decided with Zelda I would take her to a different vet, because I didn't like the changes VCA made, more clinical, less personal. Anyways I went to get her heart worm meds today and they almost refused to sell them to me without a blood test, I had to sign a refusal of treatment paper just to get them! They also weren't too happy when I told them I didn't want flea control.

I am seriously thinking of looking for a new vet. Why should I have to give flea and heartworm meds year round when they're are no mosquitos in the winter around here! I prefer to use the least amount of chemicals possible on my animals.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 04:10 PM
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I'm surprised they let you have them. I'm sure there are legal liabilities for dispensing prescription medicines without the proper testing. It's a $40 test that also covers tick diseases. It's foolish to not have it done.

As far as flea control - you also have no ticks? Hard winters don't seem to kill ticks and every small warm up we have the ticks pop out.

There is nothing wrong with giving the HW March thru Oct. I would do it into Nov or Dec personally because they kill the HW from the month before. It could still be warm enough for mosquitos in Oct. But you should still have the test done at least for the tick diseases.




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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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The test is $25, they don't test for tick diseases here unless they have a reason to. I never said I wouldn't get the test ever, but I didn't have Zelda with me and I just popped into the office real quick before picking my kids up from school, she goes in 3 months to get vaccinated she will get it done then. They do the test anyways even if you give year round.

I am sure we have ticks around here but I have never had a dog with one. Plus it really hasn't been that warm here yet, it did get up to 68 last week, but then went right back into the 30's and 40's

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 04:33 PM
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Your post implied she hadn't had the test done. "almost refused to sell them to me without a blood test, I had to sign a refusal of treatment paper"

The snap4 test that is done for HW includes 4 tick diseases. I've never heard of a different test.

I'm sure you have ticks there. If they have them in Michigan, they have them in NW Ohio. And 40 is plenty warm enough for them to be moving around.

It's your dog. You do what you are comfortable with. Just know prescribing a medicine without the proper testing puts a legal liability on the vet so don't be angry with them for trying to protect themselves.




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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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They never said anything about tick testing so I didn't know it was all in 1, learned something new.

She hasn't ever had the test done, because she just turned 1 a couple of days ago and they don't test puppies, they do it at their 1 year check up.
They made me sign the paper because I said she can have it done in June during her yearly checkup.
I just find it funny that one vet was fine with my other dogs not being on them year round, but this one acts like I am terrible dog owner for not wanting to shove unnecessary meds down her throat.

I will start flea/tick control again when it gets warmer out, too many feral cats in the neighborhood not to!

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 05:10 PM
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I was doing seasonal, and someone did a great post here explaining to me why I should do year round, about life cycles and positives taking a while to show up. So I switched to year round.

For something like medication, it's the vet's practice. There could be implications in the insurance if they do not do certain things certain ways. I have clashed with my vet before as she feels use of prongs is outdated and cruel. I still bring my dog with it on, she tsk tsks and asked it be off for the exam which I oblige. There will always be SOMETHING you and your Dr do not see eye to on on, in my experience at least.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 06:42 PM
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I m in the PNW and the dogs are inside dogs. Have been here almost 20 years and don't give them HW meds. They are still alive. It really is amazing how they can survive without all the vaccinations, flea, worm and HW meds.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 06:57 PM
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I mix up my own heartworm preventative in Texas, but I still have her blood tested once a year. So far negative.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 07:34 PM
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PetTrust or TriHeart Plus (generic analogs for Heartgard) costs $30 for 6 months at WalMart pharmacy with a vet's RX -- literally $5 a month. If you get the RX with one refill, they'll dispense two boxes -- a year's worth -- for $60.

I'm the one who posted about lifecycles. Your last pill in Oct. may not kill 100% of the HW babies from Sept. mosquitoes that bit the dog--resistance is growing, and even in non-resistant areas, a tiny percentage can slip through. That's okay, though, as they are designed to mop up any that slip through the next month. Year round prevention guarantees none slip through long enough to grow too big to kill with prevention.

However, if you stop in Nov. after your last dose in Oct., any that were deposited in Sept., but not fully killed off with your last dose, will grow all winter long and be too big to kill with preventative in March. You won't know your dog is positive yet though -- it might not throw a positive test until May (as worms have to be 7 months old to throw enough antigen to turn the test positive -- but even 3-4 month old worms are too big to kill with prevention). If you do your annual test every March, you won't know until March the following year, even though the dog has been positive all along. By then, you've got big, adult worms, possibly clogging up pulmonary arteries. You will spend around $1,000 to get rid of them.

If you want to stop at some point, I think it would be more conservative to keep giving it at least a couple of months beyond the point of hard freezes and bug die-off. Be sure you've mopped up all those autumn larvae and no stragglers survive the winter inside your dog.

Stopping in early Fall, you are rolling the dice and may get lucky...esp. if you have very low natural HW reservoirs in your population, and no one is transporting dogs up from the South into your communities. For $5 a month, though, it's such an easy chance to avoid taking. The dose of those generic ivermectin products is incredibly low (that's why some HWs slip through -- the ultra low dose that's even safe enough for MDR1 dogs).

I'm all for finding a vet you like and trust (and I wouldn't use VCA either, given their business model). Vets aren't wrong to take HW seriously though. I deal with treating way too much of it in rescue, and it's a mess.
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Last edited by Magwart; 03-02-2018 at 07:42 PM.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-02-2018, 08:02 PM
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There are hot spots for HW even in the "colder climates". Rochester NY and all along the Great Lakes are hot spots. So while I live where HW infection is virtually unread of, I travel to hot spots for training. My point is that it's not always about where you live but sometimes about where you go. As far as flea control, we haven't had a single flea in years. But what we do have is ticks. The tick control is mixed with the flea control. My sport dog wears a collar all year long. I'm not running thru a field in 40 deg weather picking up ticks. The cold weather doesn't kill them and they aren't as dormant in the winter as people think

Mapping the risks: Lyme disease

Mapping the risks: Canine heartworm infection

https://heartwormsociety.org/images/...p2016Final.pdf
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Last edited by Jax08; 03-02-2018 at 08:05 PM.
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