Heart worm prevention year round? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Heart worm prevention year round?

Sooo I live in Northern Massachusetts and it’s already reaching 44 degrees here. I have always been told from reputable sources that year round heart worm meds aren’t necessary during the colder winter months. However, yesterday a vet (not my primary one) told me that heart worm meds are required year round. I’m conflicted on what to believe. On one hand I liked to be able to give my pups a 6 month break from the harsh chemicals in the meds. Im hoping to get some insight on what you guys up in the colder states do with your dogs! TIA
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Forgot to attach a pic of my two babies: 6month old Diablo (GSD), 3 yr old Tala (GSD/ Husky mix).
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 12:46 PM
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I hear the same thing but here in Wi. with several months @ freezing or below I skip about 4 months. It all depends what you have around you to. Woods. water, etc.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 01:23 PM
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If day AND night temps are not above 57 degrees heartworm cannot survive. There is no indication for year round dosing of heartworm meds in cold climates (other than lining a vets pockets). The only reasoning i have heard for year round dosing in cold climates is basically "owners are forgetful and if they don't give the meds year round they will forget to start again in the spring". Nonsense. I am not a forgetful pet owner, are you? Btw, the exact same reasoning is used to justify the instructions of dosing pets every 30 days. The meds actually have been proven to be 100% effective if given every 45 days, but manufactures/ vets think that every 45 days it to "hard" for people to remember, so they recommend every 30 days. How convenient for their pocketbooks!
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 01:53 PM
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I'm torn, and live in a similar area. Honestly, with our weird freeze-thaw cycles I've seen mosquitos in the dead of winter when it warms up to 50 degrees. I dose my guys with ivermectin ever 45 days year round. Personal choice. If the winter was in a deep freeze for three months, I might skip a dose.

I give sheep "drench" ivermectin, dosed properly with a 1 cc syringe. With approval of my vet. The price is not a concern.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 02:20 PM
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There are definitely split opinions.

I've gone years where I skip the dead of winter (quite cold here) but in years when I have travel plans to warmer climes (even if it's just for a long weekend) I dose them straight through the winter.

Since heartworm preventative is also what most people rely on for *other* worm prevention, keep in mind that your dog can still pick up other worms regardless of time of year. A few years ago one of my dogs picked up roundworms when she was off Heartgard for the winter. It wasn't a big deal, but if she'd been on Heartgard, it probably wouldn't have happened.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 02:29 PM
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My concern with skipping months over the winter or waiting a full 45 days in between doses is this... what if there are some worms that “breakthrough”, and are not killed off by the previous month’s treatment? If this happens in say, October, and the dog does not get preventative again until March or April, what then? When you wait a full 45 days in between doses, you have very little room for error if you do happen to forget. I discussed the pros and cons with my vet, and we settled on dosing every 37-40 days. I used to stop over the coldest parts of winter, but no longer do. Just personal preference on my part, but I’d feel terrible if my dogs had to suffer through treatment for something that is completely preventable.

That said, when my senior was still with me, I DID stop preventatives for 3 to 4 months over the winter with her. She had other health issues, and I felt reducing chemicals for her had more benefits than the possible risk of contracting heartworm in the dead of winter. My vet agreed with this choice.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 02:36 PM
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I started dosing all winter when I found mosquitos in my basement in February. The weather is to wacky these days to count on it being cold enough all winter. And I travel with him for training so conditions vary.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 03:08 PM
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Year round for sure too many weather changes happening lately. Beside my pet insurance wants him on it year round or they won’t cover in case he gets heart worm. Not sure how that works since they don’t ever see me give him his meds.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-26-2018, 06:09 PM
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I believe you void the guaranty offered by the major prevention manufacturers by not dosing year round -- they'll usually pay for treatment if there's a breakthrough infection, and you purchased 12-months worth from the vet. Otherwise, they won't.
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