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Discussion Starter #1
Since finding out Malachi is HW pos, I've been doing as much reading on it as I can. I came across this article, which seems to make sense and be pretty well thought out. I'd love to hear your opinions on it...Thanks for your time in advance!..

- Terrierman's Daily Dose -
 

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Well, obviously, you have a dog who is HW+ so you know it happens. For every HW+ dog out there, during times when there are mosquitoes present, every dog who is not using a monthly/45 day med of some kind, is at risk. That's how the cycle works. So when you go to the vet ask them what percentage of their clients use "preventatives" and then from that number add people who don't take their dogs to the vet, look at your area in terms of mosquito population and you get an idea of how much easier it is to get a HW+ dog than it seems.
http://heartwormsociety.org/veterinary-resources/Compliance.jpg

Dogs also have to be tested for a clinic to register that they have a HW case. Many clinics don't push the testing, many people refuse it. If we had the ability to test a larger percentage of dogs, that would give us a better picture.

The slow kill (cheap) method is definitely less expensive. But consider the life span of a dog - put it at 12 years for a GSD - up to 18 months of being HW+, while the worms put stress on the body, up to 18 months of inactivity (because activity increases the infection), and 18 months of getting worse before you get better - that is a long time in the life of an animal. For us, we hope we have 80 years and that would be a blip.

I knew of a dog in rescue that was going to be treated using slow kill, she was adopted by 2 doctors who did the research (they were both very researchy!) and they refused to do it because of the way they looked at the cost/risk/benefits. They went with the 3 shot fast kill method.

This writing is from 2010. As each year passes, dogs are moving from endemic (not pandemic) areas, infected, and spreading the disease.
 

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Interesting. I have an Australian Shepherd that tested positive for one gene mutation that makes him sensitive to the preventative in heartgard. I was concerned about what to do when interceptor went off the market so I had a long discusion with my vet (an older guy) and he told me the same thing that is in this article. He told me that he had never seen a heartworm positive dog in our area and he suggested just skipping heartworm preventative entirely.
 

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All i can say is when we moved to SC (where the map says Jun - Dec) we seasonally gave HW medicine based on what we did when we were in the Western NC mountains. BOTH dogs wound up HW plus. FWIW, we lived in Fort Mill SC not so far from Concord. We did not live in a swampy area or an area particularly high in mosquitos.

I do NOT mess with it. I do not play with dosing schedule at all. I give the first of every month knowing it gives me a bit of a leeway either way. I have seen dogs with CHF from HW disease and think it is real and a significant threat to the health of the dog.
 

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Prevent mosquito bites - you prevent heartworm;)
 

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I think I'll continue giving the Hooligans their HW meds 12 months a year!!! I've known enough people who have had HW positive dogs that I know it happens when people don't give the preventative.

Many years ago when I was living in Southern Maryland, 3 out of 4 of the Hooligans tested POSITIVE for HW ... I almost had a heart attack when I was told this since they had always taken HW meds (this was when you had to give the HW pills daily). I had all 4 restested at two separate vets and they all came back NEGATIVE ... all four lived happily ever after.
 

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The irony of this "advice" is that he recommends the slow kill method with 5-days of doxycycline every month. Right now, that costs $40-50--just for the doxy (!!!)--every month for 18 months. So, $40 x 18 = $720, if the Doxy prices don't stabilize and come down soon.

At that cost, you might as well just do immiticide (fast kill) treatment ($500-$1500, depending on where you live and what vet you use), and be done with the exercise restriction and get the dog healthy in 2 months. ETA: I also think his advice about slow-klll is out-dated. Not only has the AHS come out clearly and strongly in favor of using immiticide (instead of "slow kill"), but even when slow kill is used, some vets where I am are more likely to use Advantage Multi than ivermectin as it seems to be clearing the worms faster than ivermectin, from what I'm hearing in my rescue dog circles around town.

This sort of advice about using preventatives only seasonally tends to be given by people who haven't ever had to treat a HW positive dog. They roll the dice and on the odds their dog will be safe. Some of them will be, some won't be. It is, after all, playing the odds. If you end up unlucky, you've got a $1,000 vet bill, and a dog who will be on exercise-restriction for at months.

Also, I've known several people who did the ivermectin slow-kill method of killing worms, and their dogs still tested positive at 18 months. 24 months is not uncommon, from what I've heard. That's 2 years of additional damage to the heart and lungs. No thanks.

Having taken 2 dogs through fast-kill HW treatment, it's not something I'd ever knowingly risk putting a dog through, if it could be avoided. It's just not worth it, when it costs just $5/month for generic heartworm preventative pills -- it's so cheap to keep them on it year round, if you buy a generic online or from Walmart's pharmacy. I just don't get the resistance to it.

BTW, I believe AHS is now recommending year-round preventative, according to what I read a few weeks ago on their site.
 

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My foster who turned into a rescue was an old, ugly, smelly, toothless pit bull mix who I rescued at 4:45. She had a 5:00 expiration date. Gingerbread quickly became a part if our family. When I went to go pick her up they tested her and she was positive. (they don't do any medical until they know they will be saved) They asked me if I preferred to leave her and she would stay on the euthanasia list. I couldn't do that. So I took her home and worked on getting her healthy. Found a great vet and we came up with a 3 month plan. Slower than the 2 months, but felt would be better for her. Cost about 2000.00 Gingerbread died about a month after treatment. RIP her heart just gave out. Most dogs with Hw are not the dogs in homes being looked after. It is really hard to know just how many in an area have them. If they are not taken to a vet to be checked they cannot be counted. If you have never seen A Mosquito in your area that's great. If not protect your dog.


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I'm not fooling around with HW nor am I willing to roll the dice with Lisl's life.

She is on HW preventative year around and will be for as long as she lives.
 

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I also don't think HW preventive is the smoking gun with health issues /cancer. My dogs who lived to be 14 and 15 were the ones who actualy GOT HW due to a lapse when they were young, never missed a month after that!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've loved reading your thoughts on this. I tend to agree with Magwart. I have always given preventative year round--and I've never had a pos dog(until rescuing Malachi). I wish the author were here to 'respond/rebutt' all your answers-that would be an interesting discussion IMO.
I sent the author inquiring-out of sheer curiosity-what he recommends doing given the current doxy situation. He responded saying that he uses Bird Biotic and it works great *I already knew that, guess I should have been more specific*..I should ask him outright if he has ever had a pos dog. I believe he lives in VA. So he is in an area with mosq.

I also agree that the slow kill method is a long time for a dog to be sick, given their lifespan. And a long time for them to be receiving further organ damage.

Malachi will be on monthly after he is treated. I'm wondering about this bird biotic though..if it's a good alternative to doxy given the circumstances. Anyone have any experience w it?
 
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