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Heartworm Preventative

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My answer is a resounding yes! So, I went looking for statistics and articles:


Dwight D. Bowman, MS, PhD

College of Veterinary Medicine

Cornell University

Ithaca, N.Y.


CAPC site


What's an acceptable number of canine heartworm cases in the United States?


Once, heartworm disease was confined to the lower reaches of the Mississippi River and coastal areas of the southeastern United States. Today, autochthonous transmission of heartworm has been confirmed in all 50 states and throughout Canada, and nearly 250,000 dogs are treated each year for heartworm infections.


Yet heartworm has been 100 percent preventable for decades. For 20 years, we've had access to products that are 100 percent efficacious in preventing the disease when used as directed. Furthermore, many of today's preventives have a spectrum of activity that also prevents dogs from becoming infected with other common canine parasites. These products are easy to administer either orally, topically or by injection. The products are competitively priced, and clients can be guaranteed their dogs will be protected from heartworm disease for about $120 per year.


The system isn't working

The system currently being used to prevent heartworm disease is not working. There are several reasons behind this failure.


Compliance is a significant problem. A study published in the 1999 proceedings of the American Heartworm Society showed that of dogs visiting 36 veterinary clinics, only 48 percent were successfully placed on a heartworm preventive program. And only 75 percent of the treated dogs received the full dose recommended by veterinarians.


Pet owners commonly relocate from area to area throughout the country. Not all dogs in any given region receive adequate veterinary care. And often, veterinarians have been reluctant to start patients on heartworm preventives when the prevalence in the area is low or nonexistent.


Many pets now travel with their owners, exposing them to new parasite risks. A 2001 American Animal Hospital Association survey found that 68 percent of dog owners vacation with their pets. And not all owners consistently keep their pets on a preventive regimen.


Furthermore, veterinary practitioners get mixed messages. Some experts contend heartworm prevention is needed for only six months each year in much of the United States, and for only three months in the northern states and Canada.


Year-round prevention makes sense

I contend that given the dramatic spread of heartworm disease, we should be prescribing year-round prevention. This belief is shared by my fellow members of the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), the group formed to promote animal and human health through recommendations for diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of parasitic infections.


Our case for year-round prevention is strong. Available drugs are remarkably safe and have already been tested by the FDA as though they will be given on a year-round basis. There is no reason for the spring madness associated with the beginning of what's commonly called ?heartworm season? in so many veterinary practices. This madness actually is a holdover from the days when diethylcarbamazine was the only heartworm preventive. It had to be given daily and was dangerous to give to a dog with an active infection with circulating microfilariae.


In fact, heartworm prevention should be built into a lifelong pet wellness and prevention program associated with annual or biannual hospital visits, not with seasonality of parasitic disease.


Building heartworm prevention into a year-round program also provides better prevention for various zoonotic agents, including Toxocara canis and Ancylostoma braziliense, that threaten the health of pets and their owners. Many of these parasites can be prevented easily since they can be targeted at the same time as heartworm infection. Ectoparasiticide control also can be built into programs to provide protection of pets and their owners from fleas and ticks.


The time is right


The fact that 250,000 dogs become infected with heartworms each year indicates we are not doing all that should be done. Dogs suffer tremendously from heartworm disease, and their human families suffer emotionally and financially as well.


Studying the historic spread of heartworm infection shows we cannot wait until it appears in an area to initiate preventive therapy. Every three years, the American Heartworm Society publishes maps showing the spread of the disease. And every three years, the maps show greater incidence.


Enough is enough.

We have excellent, safe and effective preventive products. We have a public sufficiently concerned about West Nile virus to again support the mosquito-control infrastructure. And if we act, we can begin to drive heartworm out of the United States. That's why I believe we should do everything possible to get every dog on year-round prevention.


What's an acceptable number of canine heartworm cases in the United States? The answer is none.


The time is right to make a difference.


From the Heartworm Society:


Are heartworms more common in certain areas of the United States?


answerHeartworms have been found in dogs native to all 50 states. The highest infection rates in dogs are observed within 150 miles of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and along the Mississippi River and its major tributaries.


Maps from 2001 & 2005:


Stanford & U of Penn 2001


Incidence Map 2005

Diane & The Senior Gang

Burpdog Biscuits

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Guest Spencers_Greyt

I agree! It's not that expensive for the preventative but if you dog does get heartworms the treatment is extremely costly and very hard on the dog who might not make it through the treatment. Also, I would hate myself if one of my dogs got heartworm and I knew I could have prevented it.


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If you've ever had to go through treatments with one you'd never, ever forget to give them heart worm preventative again!

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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I agree but heartworm meds in Winnipeg in February? Uh No! This kind of argument will simply dilute the important message. At -35 there is no risk of the disease and little risk of hooks or whips unless imported by a dog newly up from the states. Once treated. Those parasites are not surviving in the soil here either.



Jack, in my heart forever March 1999-Nov 21, 2008 My Dancing Queen Jilly with me always and forever Aug 12, 2003-Oct 15, 2010

Joshy I will love you always Aug 1, 2004-Feb 22,2013 Jonah my sweetheart May 2000 - Jan 2015

" You will never need to be alone again. I promise this. As your dog, I will sing this promise to you, and whisper it to you at night, every night, with my breath." Stanley Coren

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Guest KennelMom

Completely agree with you, Diane. So easy to prevent, inexpensive and nearly (if not 100%) effective if given as prescribed. I think part of the non-compliance issue is that in areas where HW is not given year round, owners don't develop the habit of dosing their dogs since it's not an every month thing.

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Not using heartworm prevention during appropriate time periods is plain out neglect. Heartworm disease is a very serious disease and can be life threatening and is virtually completely preventible. It would be an extremely rare situation where heartworm prevention would not be recommended for a dog.






Bella and Sky at the bridge

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." -Anabele France


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Guest longdogs

We are seeing heartworm spread in Australia too. It's not indigenous here and will be almost impossible to eradicate as it is entrenched in the feral fox population. We know heartworm is adapting to other hosts, such as cats (it might be us one day). Meanwhile global warming is extending heartworm range and season and there are more warm places for mosquitoes to hang out during the winter. It makes a great deal of sense to keep your pets protected year round if you in, or next to, a known heartworm area. At least you don't become part of the problem.

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It's routine here from March - April till Oct- Nov.




ROBIN ~ Mom to: Beau Think It Aint, Chloe JC Allthewayhome, Teddy ICU Drunk Sailor, Elsie N Fracine , Ollie RG's Travertine, Ponch A's Jupiter~ Yoshi, Zoobie & Belle, the kitties.

Waiting at the bridge Angel Polli Bohemian Ocean , Rocky, Blue,Sasha & Zoobie & Bobbi

Greyhound Angels Adoption (GAA) The Lexus Project

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My dogs have been on heartworm preventative all year 'round since long before I had greyhounds, back when the only thing available was a daily pill. There just is not a good reason to not give our fur kids this protection.

Greyhound angels at the bridge- Casey, Charlie, Maggie, Molly, Renie, Lucy & Teddy. Beagle angels Peanut and Charlie. And to all the 4 legged Bridge souls who have touched my heart, thank you. When a greyhound looks into you eyes it seems they touch your very soul.

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more then he loves himself". Josh Billings


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Guest LazyBones

heartworm disease is nothing to take your chances with. mosquitos can be present at any time of the year around here, so gumby gets HW prevention year-round.


If you've ever had to go through treatments with one you'd never, ever forget to give them heart worm preventative again!


very true. i remember when heart was going through her treatments.


some of you may remember chyna (amstaff), who came back to us in horrible shape. she was neglected by her previous owner - skinny, surrounded by filth, and full of hookworms and heartworms. we tried to get her treated, but she was one of the few who did not respond well to the treatment.

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Guest Cris_M
My dogs have been on heartworm preventative all year 'round since long before I had greyhounds, back when the only thing available was a daily pill. There just is not a good reason to not give our fur kids this protection.


Wow, I had totally forgotten about those days. To make it worse, my dogs seemed to thing those pills tasted yucky. Makes the once a month, good tasting pill a total breeze!

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Guest IrskasMom



I had stopped with Heartworm Medication for the Winter Month. Never again will I take that Chance specially in this

Area since we dont have hard Winters here any more . It will be Year round . By the time you get the Dog checked

for Heartworm and Office-Visit again,you spend more Money that way.


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Guest argolola

Lola came to us neglected, having been found wandering the streets, with hookworms and heartworms too. The adoption kennel really didn't want to adopt her out, but we begged to adopt her. She will never skip a month of heartworm pills.

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A friend's previous vet did not recommend heartworm preventative from November - March. When she took her dogs in for their heartworm checks in the spring, their 15+ y.o. pup was positive. We had a weird warm spell in early January that year - just long enough for mosquitoes to hatch and infect her dog. Given the pup's age, they did not treat. Now, she has a different vet and keeps her dog's on preventative year-round. That kind of heartache is not worth the few dollars a month that preventative costs.


Our vet has always recommended prevention year-round. He believes even one case is one case too many.

Drake - Fortified Power x Cajun Oriel

Janney - Ronco x Sol Happy

Waiting at the bridge: Sirocco - (Reko Sirocco) - Trojan Episode x Reko Princess; Nikki - (MPS Sharai) - Devilish Episode x MPS Daisy Queen;
Yukon - (Yak Back) - Epic Prince x Barts Cinnamon

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Year round at this house.

Willow( Hi Tech Popandgo ) CGC #31965 Calico Salad x MayPop 8-9-93/9-24-07 Austin( Nodak Austin ) #55202 Chrisse's Twelve x Lotsa Liz 2-25-96/2-15-05 Matt( Kelsos Metaphor ) #90695 Oswald Cobblepot x Kelso's Movita 8-10-00/2-28-14 Buddy (Aljo Class Act) #78137 Action By Design x Miss Classy 12-8-98/8-29-09 Sonny (Onaim Excalibur)#97927 Flying Train x Rough Diamond 9-7-01/1-9-2016Hunter (SS Snow Roll) #35135 Craigie Whistler x Lightning Snow 10-4-2005/9-23-17 Leo (Yolo Empleo)#72060 4-13-18 Fiesta Paraguas x Mega Bien Hecho

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I have always administered it all year 'round to my pups. IMHO, it is just not worth the chance to stop for a few months in the winter to save some money, particularly as New England winters are getting milder and milder.


Pepper the lurcher, Smokey the longdog and Collect (Call Collect) the grey

Della Dee and AMF Achilles waiting at the bridge

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We give it year round...I know many people that don't...but I just feel better about it...the 1st day of each month. :)


Patti-Mommy of Lady Sophia 7-28-92 - 8-3-04... LaceyLaine 8-2-94-12-5-07...

Flash Gordon 7-14-99 - 8-29-09... BrookLynne...Pavé Maria... and 18 Bridge Kids.




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Year round, always, even when it's -20F outside. Not only does Heartgard Plus or Interceptor protect against other worms--not just heartworms--but we can have warm Chinooks in the middle of winter when it's 60 degrees or better for a week straight. I wouldn't trust that a few skeeters might not take advantage of a warm spell to come out and take a bite. Besides, I am a creature of habit and it helps me remember to give it if I make it a monthly ritual.

Kristen with

Penguin (L the Penguin) Flying Penske x L Alysana

Costarring The Fabulous Felines: Squeak, Merlin, Bailey & Mystic


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