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How Long Does It Take To Develop Heartworms?


Guest CleverJason
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Guest CleverJason

Where I live, I need a prescription from a vet to purchase heartworm meds. Baron had a vet visit just before I adopted him in January, and the adoption group gave me some heartworm pills to get me started. Well, I haven't had any reason to go to the vet yet, and I ran out of heartworm meds in May. He's due for his yearly shots in August. Will I be okay if I wait, or should I bite the bullet and schedule two visits in two months? Thanks!

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I have heard that the Heartguard meds are actually good for 45 days, they just say monthly because that is easier for people to remember, but check with your vet or adoption group. It probably depends also on how common heartworm is in your area.

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Bite the bullet. Heartworms are awful in your are :(

 

According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, 983 of 170,319 dogs, or one in every 173, tested positive for heartworm in Ohio in 2012.
Read more at http://www.toledoblade.com/Medical/2013/05/20/Critter-Care-Prevention-definitely-better-with-heartworm.html#bxq9krs1FL3kMToA.99
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I would schedule the visit and get him back on his meds asap. You probably just need a test, not a complete vet check and I would worry about waiting.

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Guest CleverJason

I get the blood test 1 time a year and purchase with out a script from Petshed.com

Thank you!! I was able to order some from Petshed, so that should take care of things. And thanks everyone else for the info about Ohio. I'll be sure to keep a close eye on this, especially during the summers.

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If his vet visit before you adopted him included a heartworm test, you should be able to get a printout of his vet records and the results of the heartworm test. If you've got vet records from his shots, call that vet and see if a heartworm test was included then. In fact, you might be able to get a written prescription from them.

 

But if you can't get the results, get him tested and get the meds. You say you ran out in May--does that mean you gave him the last one in April? Or in May? Either way, he won't have had his June dose, and you really should not wait another two months.

 

Suggestion: Schedule a well-dog visit/vet check for as soon as possible, and go ahead and get his rabies shot done. Get the heartworm test and a prescription. Then, in August, you can schedule a vet tech visit (rather than a vet's exam) to get the other vaccinations. It'll be cheaper than seeing the vet on both visits. (In Georgia, at least, it's only a rabies vaccination that requires the vet's presence.) Many people like to separate a dog's vaccinations so that if there's an adverse reaction you can figure out which vaccine caused the problem, so this would give you that separation as well as give you a way to avoid two vet visits.

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Guest goofydog

I was the same as Pam, ordered from www.deadfleaz.com. Until Costco started carrying Frontline Plus I also orderd it there. Packaging is the same just labeled for Australia. I would get both meds plus shipping for what just Heartgard cost in the U.S.

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If there has been a break beyond 45 days since Baron had his last Heartworm preventative chew (e.g., Heartgard), he may need a new heartworm test. It may not be safe to give heartworm preventative meds if he was infected after day 45. Best to consult a vet.

 

Rather than ordering medication product from on-line sources that are NOT under any guarantee from the medication's manufacturer, you may be interested in this licensed, discounted mobile vet clinic called "VIP Petcare" for purchasing licensed heartworm preventative (or other limited medications at a discount). They often offer FREE (or heavily discounted) heartworm tests, plus discounted preventative. They offer discounted vaccines and parasite tests too.

VIP Petcare: https://www.vippetcare.com/find-a-clinic

 

As mentioned, Costco's pharmacy is an excellent alternative for buying pet medications.

 

No on-line sources are safe for buying dog medications, in my experience.

- No assurance the medication itself is not counterfeit.

- No way to ensure products have been stored within the drugs' safe temperature and darkness requirements to protect drug efficacy.

- Drug manufacturers do not guarantee their products if sold on-line -- meaning drug manufacturers will not pay hospital bills to try to save your dog's life (e.g., if dog contracts heartworms while on their product).

- Home mailboxes far exceed safe temperatures for the safety of these medications.

- Delivered product left on front porches can also exceed temperature and darkness limits.

Edited by 3greytjoys
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If the rescue group had blood tests done at time of adoption in Jan 2014, you should be able to pickup heartworm meds from him IF no lapse in time. Our group sends out reminders to at least all foster homes and recent adoptions. Our group issues liquid Ivermectin for foster home to administer (very clear instruction on dosage) monthly.

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It is not safe to give heartworm preventative meds if he was infected after day 45

This always amazes me. The lab across the alley turned up HW positive at least 5 years ago. His owners could not afford treatment so our vet told him to put the dog on preventative as it would keep further infestation at bay and the current worms would eventually die off from old age. Not a perfect fix, but it kind of makes you wonder about the old wives tale that if you give a HW positive dog preventative it'll drop dead. Edited by Hubcitypam
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It is not safe to give heartworm preventative meds if he was infected after day 45

This always amazes me. The lab across the alley turned up HW positive at least 5 years ago. His owners could not afford treatment so our vet told him to put the dog on preventative as it would keep further infestation at bay and the current worms would eventually die off from old age. Not a perfect fix, but it kind of makes you wonder about the old wives tale that if you give a HW positive dog preventative it'll drop dead.

 

You're correct Pam--you can give a heartworm positive dog heartgard--but I do agree with everything else 3greytjoys said. There is so much crap/counterfeit products being sold online it's scary. Remember old ole saying--you get what you pay for??? I understand budgets--believe you me but, cutting corners on medications--wouldn't recommend it-esp when giving heartworm preventive. Some folks will say that they never experienced any woes from online medication purchased but, do you really know if they are doing as they say?? I will admit-I'm terrible about applying flea and tick products on my own dogs--I haven't see a tick or flea on any of my dogs in years (hope I'm not jinxing myself)---but, someone could say the same thing after applying online frontline--of course they would say it's working --a great buy--but, is it really working or have you just been lucky like me??

Ok-hopping off of soapbox now :-)

Edited by tbhounds
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This always amazes me. The lab across the alley turned up HW positive at least 5 years ago. His owners could not afford treatment so our vet told him to put the dog on preventative as it would keep further infestation at bay and the current worms would eventually die off from old age. Not a perfect fix, but it kind of makes you wonder about the old wives tale that if you give a HW positive dog preventative it'll drop dead.

 

I've had heartworm positive dogs that did undergo extensive treatment. As posted, I was taught to heartworm test after any break in preventative treatment before administering any additional heartworm preventative. (Our veterinarians require this too.)

One reason: Veterinarians may need to pre-treat a heartworm positive dog with a different drug first, while the dog is kept under veterinary hospital observation due to risk of dog suffering anaphylactic shock, and danger of pulmonary embolism as microfilariae are being killed inside the dog's body.

Also, if I recall correctly, giving a preventative dose treatment to a HW positive dog may skew the initial test result.

Edited by 3greytjoys
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There are different treatments available now---one is to treat with heartgard long term (although this treatment has fallen out of favor recently). I believe this is where the confusion is based.

Edited to add--forgot to mention that it takes 6-7 months after exposure before you will see a positive result.

Edited by tbhounds
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IIRC --

 

Some of the monthly heartworm products that use chemicals other than ivermectin are thought to kill microfilariae and older larvae too quickly, raising the risk of anaphylactic shock.

 

None of the monthly heartworm products kill adult worms, and some don't kill microfilariae well enough to clear an infection.

 

An ivermectin-based heartworm preventive *can* usually be safely used for a dog with a light infestation and will eventually clear it. Other heartworm preventives, usually not. Heavy infestation with symptoms, you really want to treat more aggressively.

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is your vet that far away that you can not get to him for a quick refill and then ask for a script so you can buy the HW meds at a discounted price?? i

am not one to want to pay full price for anything, but when it comes to health care basics it's a must. i now buy the preventative at costco, good price, good service.FYI- when i ordered flea/tick preventative from Australia it took many many weeks to arrive. maybe i wasn't lucky, but i remember waiting and waiting and waiting.....

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Heartgard preventative only kills early stage heartworm larvae (L3 and L4) in dogs' subcutaneous tissue (happens within first 45 days of being infected by an infected mosquito). That larvae begins maturing into L5 (early adult stages) within 45-70 days. A heartworm's lifespan is five to seven years.

 

If a heartworm positive dog is not successfully treated with appropriate, stronger (chemo-like) drugs to kill adult heartworms, an infestation of heartworms horribly debilitates and kills the dog. The level of heartworm infestation in dogs can vary from 1 worm to 250 worms (imagine one foot long worms).

 

Merial recommends administering Heartgard once every 30 days to ensure efficacy is not reduced.

Monthly, year-round heartworm prevention is the most effective, safest, and cheapest method for animals and their owners.

 

(Sadly, if that Lab across the alley from Pam hasn't been treated, that dog is contributing to the spread of heartworms throughout their community through active mosquito bites.)

Edited by 3greytjoys
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Sooo....Jesus should have just put Allie down about 6 years ago to save the other neighborhood dogs? He's been on Heartgard year around since and soldiering along just fine. Just making sure what the suggested option is.

The barrio isn't exactly like the warm fuzzy affluent places 90% of GTers appear to live. If someone had the cash to test all the dogs on this triple block the results would probably make your head swim. It's an uphill climb, often through a language barrier, to get people to even take their dogs for FREE spay/neuter/microchip/shots. I've worn out some shoe leather in that effort.

Jesus did not have the money for the expensive treatment and did what he could. He cared enough to get Allie tested. My vet, whom I adore, did the best he could do by suggesting the treatment in lieu of doing nothing - his father was a vet and sometimes he falls back on old school remedies as a lot of his patients aren't made out of money as it appears some of those who are too quick to judge are.

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Hubcitypam: My post was simply meant to answer the OP's initial question, and share a bit of information obtained from Merial (Heartgard mfg.). I would have generalized my example referring to all heartworm positive, non-treated animals spreading heartworm disease (as Merial does); however, after reading your post about the Labrador being heartworm positive, sans treatment, I simply referred to her. No one is judging anything. Unfortunately, non-treated heartworm infected animals (domestic or wild) further contribute to the century long, worldwide heartworm disease problem. Glad we have preventative to help reduce the number of pet cases. My thoughts go out to Allie. Heartworm disease is heartbreaking.

Edited by 3greytjoys
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(Sadly, if that Lab across the alley from Pam hasn't been treated, that dog is contributing to the spread of heartworms throughout their community through active mosquito bites.)

 

Actually, HW positive dogs who receive HW preventative monthly won't contribute to the spread of heartworms. HW preventatives effectively kill the microfilaria so the dog is unlikely to be a source of infection for others. Also, if the dog has been on Heartgard monthly for the past 6 years, there's a good chance he's been negative for the last 3-4 years, although the owner wouldn't know that if he hasn't retested.

 

Treating HW disease with the "slow kill" method of using Heartgard only has fallen out of favor. But if the monthly Heartgard is combined with doxycycline, I think it's a reasonable option, especially for rescue groups or owners who can't afford the injectable Immiticide.

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What's the point? Are you not financially able to afford to take the dog to the vet? Part of owning a dog is regular veterinary care including those required for prescriptions--there are some things you really don't want to scrimp on, and this is one of them IMHO.


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Guest CleverJason

What's the point? Are you not financially able to afford to take the dog to the vet? Part of owning a dog is regular veterinary care including those required for prescriptions--there are some things you really don't want to scrimp on, and this is one of them IMHO.

Whoa, calm down. I'm relatively new to owning a greyhound or any dog that I alone am responsible for. I appreciate all of the feedback. I'm not trying to scrimp, I'm trying to be responsible. Part of that is learning from more experienced dog owners — which is why I'm here asking questions. I feel a little insulted by your response.

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