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Vets are supposed to test annually before they write prescriptions for heartworm meds.

 

In theory, pills might fail (older pills or pills not stored/shipped properly might not be at full strength), dogs might vomit a pill unnoticed, or owners might miss a dose. And it seems it's dangerous to give heartworm meds to a dog that's actually heartworm positive without certain precautions (restricted activity, etc.), so that it's not safe for a vet to prescribe a year's worth of heartworm meds for a dog that hasn't been tested.

 

My guys get tested once a year--generally on their annual wellness exam (where they get annual vaccinations).

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My vet will not sell us the heartworm preventive meds (Trifexis) without a yearly blood test for heartworms.

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
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Vets are supposed to test annually before they write prescriptions for heartworm meds.

 

In theory, pills might fail (older pills or pills not stored/shipped properly might not be at full strength), dogs might vomit a pill unnoticed, or owners might miss a dose. And it seems it's dangerous to give heartworm meds to a dog that's actually heartworm positive without certain precautions (restricted activity, etc.), so that it's not safe for a vet to prescribe a year's worth of heartworm meds for a dog that hasn't been tested.

 

My guys get tested once a year--generally on their annual wellness exam (where they get annual vaccinations).

Thanks for this info. For years, as long as my dog was on heartworm meds, the vet didn't test and then about 7 years ago, I moved, got a new vet and they tested yearly. To be honest, I thought it was away to make more money. These reasons make perfect sense for the yearly testing. Thanks again.

<p>Kim and the hound - Rumor
Missing my angels Marlow, Silver, Holly and Lucky

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My vets used to do every 2 years but now yearly. Been some instances -- mostly in the south, I think? -- of dogs on meds year round but still getting heartworm. Nasty :( .

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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My vets used to do every 2 years but now yearly. Been some instances -- mostly in the south, I think? -- of dogs on meds year round but still getting heartworm. Nasty :( .

 

My lab has been on heartworm preventative year around always and he tested positive for heartworms at his annual checkup today. :( I have a friend whose dog was also diagnosed with heartworms and he was always on preventative also.

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Payton, The Greyhound (Palm City Pelton) and Toby, The Lab
Annabella and Julietta, The Cats
At the Bridge - Abby, The GSD

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I always find this topic interesting. The black lab across the alley is around 13 and has been HW+ for at least 6 years.

 

Jesus couldn't afford immicide treatment so my vet said just give him heartgard so it wouldn't get worse. So much for the theory that if you give a HW+ dog Ivermectin it will keel over dead.

 

In some cases where the owner can't afford immicide yearly testing seems like kind of a moot point to me.

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As I understand it, heartworm preventative is a monthly purge of the heartworm larvae. It does not kill adult heartworms.

So, in a case of a heartworm positive dog whose owner cannot afford treatment, but could manage the monthly prevention,

the monthly would purge all larvae, and the adults would die off on their own eventually. I've also heard that that can be

problematic as the adults finally die & start to decompose in the system, but better than nuttin.

 

Correct me if I'm totally off base on this.

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.

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i've been administering hw meds since the 70s. back then it was a tablet daily and one only dosed the dogs during the "hw season". we tested annually. since i started year long meds, a good 17+ years ago i have only tested when there were weird symptoms of something strange cooking. maybe i'm gambling, but my vet has found that he saves his clients a ton of $$$ and unnecessary testing. he's a stickler for certain things, he doesn't agree w/ the 3 year booster regime- he has found dogs do pick up lepto, ect. so, i go w/ his advice and have been lucky so far.

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Quick story--we had a pittie come into the clinic-had his yearly hwt test-came back positive--the owner was furious-she claimed she gave her dog heartgard year around and her dog should not be positive--we contacted Merial which paid for the dogs treatment (as she purchased the HG from our clinic). The dog tolerated the treatment well and was cleared of the parasite. Long story short months later we get a very apologetic phone call from the client. She had purchased a new couch and when they moved the old one guess what they found??? Yup, a pile of the heartworm tablets-the little bugger was spitting them out behind the couch!

We test yearly using the Idexx's Snap 4Dx test-not only does it check for HTW disease it also screens for vector borne diseases-we pick up plenty of TBD's positives on non symptomatic dogs. It's becoming a standard of care in our area-it's really become tick central around here.

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I always find this topic interesting. The black lab across the alley is around 13 and has been HW+ for at least 6 years.

 

Jesus couldn't afford immicide treatment so my vet said just give him heartgard so it wouldn't get worse. So much for the theory that if you give a HW+ dog Ivermectin it will keel over dead.

 

In some cases where the owner can't afford immicide yearly testing seems like kind of a moot point to me.

I know I am looking at this the wrong way right, but I am feeling like I wasted years of money on heartworm preventative. I know-that's is the wrong attitude. If he hadn't been on it, the worms would be much worse. But I am blown away that even with preventative he has heartworms.

 

The vet really tried to push me into the quick kill treatment, although she admitted that just the preventative would prevent the worms from getting worse for several years. If Toby was 7 or 8 years old, I would do it in a second. At almost 12, I don't see putting him through that. The vet said he might have 7 more years, but I have never heard of an 18-19 year old lab! This vet was taking the place of my regular vet. Hopefully I don't see her again.

 

Btw-our vet just starting doing routine tests in the last couple of years.

61bd4941-fc71-4135-88ca-2d22dbd4b59a_zps

Payton, The Greyhound (Palm City Pelton) and Toby, The Lab
Annabella and Julietta, The Cats
At the Bridge - Abby, The GSD

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I always find this topic interesting. The black lab across the alley is around 13 and has been HW+ for at least 6 years.

 

Jesus couldn't afford immicide treatment so my vet said just give him heartgard so it wouldn't get worse. So much for the theory that if you give a HW+ dog Ivermectin it will keel over dead.

 

I'm curious...do you know if your neighbor's lab is on Heartgard consistently, and if they've tested recently? While Heartgard/ivermectin doesn't kill adult heartworms, it does shorten their lifespan. So even if you don't treat with Immiticide and just keep a HW+ dog on Heartgard monthly, most will be negative after 2-3 years.

 

I'm not sure where you heard the theory that ivermectin will kill a HW+ dog, but that's not true. The risk of ivermectin in HW+ dogs is completely dose-dependent. The commercial preventative products like Heartgard or any of the generic equivalents (Triheart, Iverheart, etc) are completely safe for HW+ dogs. The higher doses used to treat mange or kill microfilaria are a little more risky and can cause an anaphylactic reaction if the dog has a lot of circulating microfilaria (baby heartworms) that are killed off to quickly.

 

I know I am looking at this the wrong way right, but I am feeling like I wasted years of money on heartworm preventative. I know-that's is the wrong attitude. If he hadn't been on it, the worms would be much worse. But I am blown away that even with preventative he has heartworms.

 

The vet really tried to push me into the quick kill treatment, although she admitted that just the preventative would prevent the worms from getting worse for several years.

 

Unfortunately, there have been an increasing number of reports in recent years of dogs on HW preventative that are coming up positive. Most of those cases have been in the Mississippi River Valley. Theories include HW resistance to the preventatives, as well as just overwhelming exposure that is too much for the preventatives to handle.

 

If you're not going to do the quick kill treatment, I hope that you're at least putting him on doxycycline along with the Heartgard. That's considered the 'slow kill' protocol, and adding doxy gives much better results. With the combo of Heartgard and doxy, a lot of dogs are negative within 9-12 months. It is no longer recommended to just put HW+ dogs on Heartgard, and there is concern that will increase the frequency of resistance. But adding doxy makes the heartworms sterile so there is less concern about resistance, it kills the existing worms faster, and also decreases the risk of complications from pulmonary thromboembolism.

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Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

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Vets are supposed to test annually before they write prescriptions for heartworm meds.

Yep. In fact, in Georgia it was the long for many years & as far as I know it still is.

 

... doxycycline along with the Heartgard. That's considered the 'slow kill' protocol, and adding doxy gives much better results. With the combo of Heartgard and doxy, a lot of dogs are negative within 9-12 months. It is no longer recommended to just put HW+ dogs on Heartgard, and there is concern that will increase the frequency of resistance. But adding doxy makes the heartworms sterile so there is less concern about resistance, it kills the existing worms faster, and also decreases the risk of complications from pulmonary thromboembolism.

Very interesting! Edited by kudzu
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