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Question On Heartworms


Guest Greytluv
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Guest Greytluv

We're planning a trip to Arkansas in a couple of weeks. Someone suggested I give my dogs heartworm meds before I go. Is this necessary? I know nothing about it :dunno I'm not in a heartworm area and we don't get a lot of ticks here.

 

What exactly are heartworms?

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I would suggest you have your dogs tested for heartworms before you start them on a preventative. Down here in the south we keep our dogs on heartworm preventative all year long. Even in December/January/February which are our coldest months, I find mosquitos (heartworms are carried by mosquitos, not ticks) in my house & outside on warmer (40 degrees) days. Before you start them on a preventative its important to check them, they may already be infested & the preventative can do great harm.

Heartworms are carried by mosquitos which when a dog is bitten the filaria goes into the blood stream. You should go on line & look up the information.

 

I have adopted 2 greyhounds with heartworms, one from Texas & another from this area. The treatment is very expensive & can be fatal. Both dogs were dumped by their owners & w/out the applications for many months, thus both had high levels of heartworm infestation.

 

Both survived the treatment, BuyCut lived to be 10 & Smiley is still jumping around being a cute puppy. But definitly get them checked first. Arkansas is one of the southern states with a lot of mosquitos during the 12 months.

You should also use a flea tick application because Arkansas has a lot of ticks also, which carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lymes Disease.

 

What part of Arkansas are you coming to?

Edited by Heehoo
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Guest ShootersDad

Here is a heart worm incident map. I would put them on heatworm medicine before taking them out of your area. These figures look really low to me for today's incidence. These are from 2005, with time to collect the data and publish it, probably more like data from 2003.

 

http://www.knowheartworms.org/incidencemap.asp

 

Top 5 States for Canine Flea and Tick Prevalence in 2009

 

Flea Tick

Alabama Oklahoma

Arkansas Arkansas

South Carolina Florida

Florida Massachusetts

Oklahoma New Jersey

Edited by ShootersDad
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Heartworms are exactly that, worms in the heart. Horrible nasty things! I agree with all the other posters! -- get it checked first to be on the safe side (heartworm testing is not expensive) and then start a preventative.

 

Here's some info on the little creeps:

 

HeartwormLife.jpg

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Lisa B.

My beautiful Summer - to her forever home May 1, 2010 Summer

Certified therapy dog team with St. John Ambulance

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Mosquitos are the vectors for heartworm. An area that has mosquitos and stays above 60° has a potential for having heartworm carrying mosquitos. Test first, then preventative. The test is quick, they can do a 4 dx snap test. here's that info

 

Here's the info on Heartworm from Veterinary Partner

Edited by DofSweetPotatos
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Yes! If you're bringing them to Arkansas, I'd give them some kind of heart worm preventative. All it takes is one nasty mosquito and we've got lots in this area. The preventative is a lot cheaper than treating a pup for heart worms and a lot less dangerous!

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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Guest Greytluv

Thanks for all the info. I'll get them checks first.

 

 

 

What part of Arkansas are you coming to?

We bought a house in Charleston, which is about 30 miles east of Fort Smith. It's my first time out there.

 

What am I thinking? Moving from Newport Beach, California to Arkansasblink.gif

 

 

Edited by Greytluv
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You definitely need to get with your vet on this. First, though the incident of heartworm is low in your area there are reported cases. In addition, you should know that the incident of heartworms in the coyotes of your area is significant and they can act as a reservoir for infection. And the # of reported cases of HW in dogs in your are that were presumed to be locally acquired increased dramatically in 2009. All that info leads to...

 

Second, others suggestions for a HW test are correct. Since HW is a possibility in your area & you have not been using a preventative, you are well advised to get your dog tested. Giving HW meds to a HW+ dog can be dangerous. Though the level of danger varies considerably depending on which medication used.

 

Third, when to give the medication depends on which you are giving. Most of the popular, once a month, HW meds work by preventing the larvae from maturing to adult worms. So just treating before you leave would not protect your dog. You would need to give the medication after returning to kill any larvae possibly acquired on your trip. Number of doses needed depends on the length of your trip.

 

Fourth, you may want to keep an eye on the stats for HW in your area. I was surprised when I read "I'm not in a heartworm area". That's why I did the search for stats. Was quite surprised by both how low the incidence is in your area & by the info on coyotes & the big jumps in dogs acquiring HW. It's nothing for you to panic over, just something to keep in mind for the future.

 

Have fun on your trip. NW Arkansas is one of my absolute favorite places in USA.

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Guest greytloves

Kudzu just said what I was going to. Don't just give one dose. You may want to buy a supply that you can dose for a period and then have them checked just to be safe. (whatever your vet recommends)

 

I'm not sure about this, but I would think that dogs never exposed to either heartworms or heartworm meds may actually pick them up easier since they have nothing in their blood stream to have ever had to fight them off. Just my theory. May be a stupid one.

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If you're moving to Arkansas, you'll have to start giving them preventative year round so if you start them for this visit, depending on how soon your move it, it might be worth just keeping them on it until the move.

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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Just to respond to greytloves post-- the htw preventative does not stay in the dogs system for the month nor does it build up in the dogs system. The htw prevention is basically a dewormer breaking the lifecycle of the parasite. It's also a good dewormer to help to control intestinal parasites.

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Guest Greytluv

You definitely need to get with your vet on this. First, though the incident of heartworm is low in your area there are reported cases. In addition, you should know that the incident of heartworms in the coyotes of your area is significant and they can act as a reservoir for infection. And the # of reported cases of HW in dogs in your are that were presumed to be locally acquired increased dramatically in 2009. All that info leads to...

 

Second, others suggestions for a HW test are correct. Since HW is a possibility in your area & you have not been using a preventative, you are well advised to get your dog tested. Giving HW meds to a HW+ dog can be dangerous. Though the level of danger varies considerably depending on which medication used.

 

Third, when to give the medication depends on which you are giving. Most of the popular, once a month, HW meds work by preventing the larvae from maturing to adult worms. So just treating before you leave would not protect your dog. You would need to give the medication after returning to kill any larvae possibly acquired on your trip. Number of doses needed depends on the length of your trip.

 

Fourth, you may want to keep an eye on the stats for HW in your area. I was surprised when I read "I'm not in a heartworm area". That's why I did the search for stats. Was quite surprised by both how low the incidence is in your area & by the info on coyotes & the big jumps in dogs acquiring HW. It's nothing for you to panic over, just something to keep in mind for the future.

 

Have fun on your trip. NW Arkansas is one of my absolute favorite places in USA.

 

I will get them tested before I give them anything. Where do you go to find out this info. Heartworm is not mentioned here very much. I guess that's why I don't know much about it. I'm really glad my girlfriend brought it up blush.gif

 

 

If you're moving to Arkansas, you'll have to start giving them preventative year round so if you start them for this visit, depending on how soon your move it, it might be worth just keeping them on it until the move.

 

That's a good idea to keep them on it from now on. I'm not sure when we'll be moving. We have to sell our house first. oy, too much to think about wink.gif

 

 

 

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When Heart went to the vet to have her spay surgery so we could adopt her, when we picked her up our vet came out and the look on his face said it all. We were told she was heart worm positive. We took her home and then had to take her back to get the treatments and she was crated for 6 weeks. It's not a pleasant thing for the dogs to go through I can tell you that from experience so if it were me, I would rather keep them on the preventative than risk them getting heart worms. I give it to mine on the 1st of every month, without fail. Having gone through the treatments with one dog, I don't want to have to do it 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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will get them tested before I give them anything. Where do you go to find out this info. Heartworm is not mentioned here very much. I guess that's why I don't know much about it. I'm really glad my girlfriend brought it up blush.gif

You're right about it not coming up much around there. I have a vet friend in AZ who says she just does not see heartworm there. I seem to remember Elaine telling me once that on the one side of the Mountains in N.M. everyone treated, but not on the desert side.

 

The pills do work retroactively so no need to dose before you go. The shot clinic vet here does HW test alone for $20.

 

It's also a good dewormer to help to control intestinal parasites.

That would only be if you purchase the "plus" versions. There are Ivermectin only pills for heartworms and the dose in those is too low to work on other worms.

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When Heart went to the vet to have her spay surgery so we could adopt her, when we picked her up our vet came out and the look on his face said it all. We were told she was heart worm positive. We took her home and then had to take her back to get the treatments and she was crated for 6 weeks. It's not a pleasant thing for the dogs to go through I can tell you that from experience so if it were me, I would rather keep them on the preventative than risk them getting heart worms. I give it to mine on the 1st of every month, without fail. Having gone through the treatments with one dog, I don't want to have to do it again.

 

Smiley was leash walked for 8 months because of his infestation & the treatment was taking longer. BuyCut was on a leash for 4 months. When you have multiple dogs, its really hard to just walk one, keep them quiet while the others are out having fun, running around the yard. The treatment runs about $800 to $1,000 also.

Fort Smith, that's closer to the west side of Arkansas, Judy/Jillysfullhouse & I are on the east side. Judy is in Tennessee, I'm in Mississippi on the Tennessee border.

They make so many products now for heartworm prevention. And Greytalk is one of the best places to get advice. But definitly talk to your vet. It only takes one mosquito.

The other night, here we've been having really nice cool weather. When I got up the next morning to get ready for work, there were 3 mosquitos in my shower trying to stay warm. So they can get inside your house & it only takes one bite.

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Something to remember. It takes 6 months for the HW antigen to read positive on a HW test. So, if you were exposed to HW on your trip, a test wouldn't be valid until after 6 months of your first or last potential exposure (hence why they don't test puppies until 7 months of age.

 

HW preventative back protects. It's not a preventative per se. As someone said, it breaks the lifecycle. To put it in not so many words, what you give on the first of September actually protects from August. Does that make sense?:blink:

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