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Discussion Starter #1
Is it really necessary to give a dog heartworm medication who spends 90% of it's time in the house? How about rabies vaccination when the dog is always under the watchful eye of it's owner except when in it's own backyard? Someone on my other thread said that people who try to be the perfect dog owner by following the vets instructions with routine vaccinations and other meds actually could be harming a dog's immune system.

Wouldn't the heartworm medication be more beneficial for those dogs who spend the majority of their time outdoors. Does it only take one bite by a mosquito to create so much damage?

Do dogs who live in a northern climate need heartworm medication on a monthly basis?
 

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Yes, it only takes one bite from the mosquito to pass along heartworm. But the conditions that need to be met in order for the whole cycle to happen (from skeeter biting an infected dog to then biting another dog and the worms growing to adulthood) are rather constrained.

I live in SE WI where the SUMMER weather does get warm enough to meet the conditions - but I do NOT use heartworm drugs. I have my guys tested twice a year and we're going on 7 years of no problems.

I believe a healthy diet and lifestyle can help the dogs system to fight heartworms.

If I lived in GA I WOULD probably use something - but not the standard protocol the vets push.

I give rabies because I am required to in order to get our kennel license, which allows us to have the number of dogs we do. I use the 3 year Rabies.
 

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Mine spends most of his time indoors, but in the later months of spring and early summer mosquitos are a problem so i do the heartworm meds, but only from April to end of sept.
 

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Originally Posted By: DHau How about rabies vaccination when the dog is always under the watchful eye of it's owner except when in it's own backyard?
In most communities rabies is required by law and a 3 year vax is becoming the norm. As far as being safe in the dog's own back yard, not so. My neighbour's golden was in contact with a rabid skunk in his own back yard as a puppy with vaccinations incomplete. He had to be quarantined for an extended period of time away from the family at considerable expense to the family and stress to the pup. They always felt his temperament suffered because of the separation at a young age.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I googled heartworms in dogs and was surprised how the cycle works. I thought maybe I would pass giving the meds to my dog from December-February because I think it does get cold enough here in the winter to kill off mosquitos. Now that I know more about it, I'll continue giving the medications even though I don't want to.
 

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I give HW meds year round because of where I live.

The humans around here that have died of rabies, are thought to have contacted it in their homes, by bats. Apparently you can be bitten by a bat and not know it???? So the "watchful eye" and "always being home" arguments might just give you a false sense of security.

Do be sure that you know your rabies laws, many counties allow 3 year rabies vaccines, but many vets will still give them every 1 or 2 years. If the label on the vax doesn't say 3 years, then it can't be used for the 3 year time. You should space the rabies vax away from other vaccines, and if you have an ill pet, see if you can get an exemption from your local county.
 

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Originally Posted By: DHauIs it really necessary to give a dog heartworm medication who spends 90% of it's time in the house? How about rabies vaccination when the dog is always under the watchful eye of it's owner except when in it's own backyard? ...
I give the Hooligans HW meds 12 months a year because I live in Florida.

In most areas, you are under a legal obligation to get rabies shots.

And your dog being protected because he stays in your backyard isn't a good reason not to get the vaccination - my sister's GSD killed a rabid woodchuck in their backyard. Rabid 'coons, bats, skunks, etc. are found in many urban and rural areas of the United States and all carry rabies - it only takes one bite.
 
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