HW Prevention?

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 26th, 2011, 7:14 pm

Alyssa's Blue has me thinking: do all of you do heartworm preventative monthly, every 6 weeks, year round, summers only, never? What do you guys do and why?
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Postby Hundilein » September 26th, 2011, 7:18 pm

I do monthly, year round. Living in the Southeast, it never really gets cold enough to kill off all the mosquitoes and I have seen way too many HW+ dogs come into the shelter here. And I'm paranoid that I would forget if I didn't just do it every month.
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Postby amalie79 » September 26th, 2011, 10:10 pm

We almost can't go outside in the summer because of the mosquitoes-- and that's really not an exaggeration. I'll be out for 3-5 minutes and come back in with dozensssssss of mosquito bites. And it doesn't usually get cold enough in the summer for long enough to be in the clear.

When I was a teenager, and my mother was paying the bills, we did it in the summer and tested yearly. Now I do it year round, once a month, though I have been known to skip a month or go 6 weeks. We use ivermectin, so missing a month isn't a big deal.
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Postby SLS61185 » September 26th, 2011, 11:08 pm

Monthly, yearly when I remember to get it. I'll go a few months and forget about it then I'm good for a frw months. The 'skitos are HORRIBLE here in the summer. Patch gets his heartworm test done every June...
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Postby SisMorphine » September 26th, 2011, 11:34 pm

Prior to this year, I did it every other month during the warm months. Many of my friends do not do HW preventative at all, so this year when I kept forgetting and/or planning my pick ups poorly, I wasn't worried.

When I spoke with my vet about the every other month, and she knows that I do the Interceptor (which, as all preventatives state, is every 4 weeks), she said that it's every 6 weeks. The 4 week scenario is just because it's easier to count/keep track of for John Q. Public.

For me, from now on, I will be doing it every 6 weeks. I will buy a wall calendar, I will use the stickers in the box, and my dogs will be treated regularly. This isn't something I would ever want to go through again. And for MANY MANY MANY of my friends who are either lax on HW preventative and/or haven't given it in years, this was a scary wake up call for all of us. And I really hope that everyone here looks closer at HW preventative no matter where they live.
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Postby babyreba » September 26th, 2011, 11:46 pm

we do it monthly all year round, but i don't use the prescription meds ... i've used ivermectin for a couple of years now. for 3 dogs, it's much more economical.
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Postby Malli » September 27th, 2011, 3:03 am

I don't do it at all. But I am going to mention Pocket pits'(she lives very close to me) experience to my vet next time we speak. Who needs a senior with worms clogging his heart?
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Postby hugapitbull » September 27th, 2011, 5:55 am

As with Hundilein, we are in a year round area. Mine get it on the same day each month from the first test until they day they depart. Even after I stopped giving Trouble all other vaccinations and preventives, she always got her heartworm meds.
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Postby Jenn » September 27th, 2011, 4:42 pm

I do it pretty much monthly, I'm honestly far from "anal" about it.. I'm not in denial by ANY MEANS, but there are not any actual prevention medications from what I understand, but more so like any other worm medication "kill" the actual worms, larvae or whatever... So if I'm a week or two late, then I don't freak about it.
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Postby SisMorphine » September 27th, 2011, 10:26 pm

Jenn wrote:I do it pretty much monthly, I'm honestly far from "anal" about it.. I'm not in denial by ANY MEANS, but there are not any actual prevention medications from what I understand, but more so like any other worm medication "kill" the actual worms, larvae or whatever... So if I'm a week or two late, then I don't freak about it.

And that's really the truth.

The "prevention" actually just kills the microfilaria (the babies), which, depending on what you read, usually take 2-3 months to grow to adulthood, so by giving it every month you're sure that the microfilaria are killed before they can reach adulthood. But if this is the case than you can go a little longer. You just have to be able to kill it before it turns into adult heartworm as that is when the only thing that can kill them is the immiticen. It's not the killing of the microfilaria that is dangerous, it's the killing of the adult heartworm.

Can you tell I've been doing stupid amounts of research? HA!!
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Postby mnp13 » September 27th, 2011, 11:01 pm

All three of ours are getting tested on Thursday. Then we'll be doing Ivermectin. We've done treatment off and on for years, just never consistent.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 28th, 2011, 3:11 pm

I haven't given HW preventative in 2-3 years. My line of thought is that most vets do the slow treat method anyway, which as we all know is...MONTHLY PREVENTATIVE. So it just seemed wrong somehow for me to give Inara a treatment for something she doesn't have, almost like giving chemo to prevent cancer. And like was pointed out in Alyssa's thread, it takes the perfect storm for a dog to get HW - the perfect feeder dog with the perfect HW for the perfect mosquito at the perfect time in it's short little life cycle.

Inara has always gotten her HW test in late winter (March-ish generally) and I wouldn't think about it for another year. I called the vet today and she is going in Friday for a HW test. I don't think I'm going to start preventatives (unless my vet gives me a very convincing argument for them), but I will start testing every 6 months.
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Postby call2arms » September 28th, 2011, 4:02 pm

I give it every year, for 6 months, and test every 2 years. Mind you, we're always told quebec province has a low occurence, but I've always done it anyway.

Since last spring, when a coworker brought home a pregnant dog brought to the clinic (found as a stray in the city) and we found out that she's heartworm positive, it's been a bit more in my face. Juno, the dog, was mildly symptomatic - slightly intolerant to exercise, coughing mildly. We also ended up finding out that she was from Ste-Agathe, a very small city up north (so technically more mosquitoes, but less chances of getting heartworm since the more north you go, the less common it is). She's undergone a few months of the "slow treatment" which hasn't worked well for her. Now she's started the Immiticide (melarsonine - the "hard treatment) where they get intramuscular injections (super painful) and have to be crates/kept super quiet to minimize the chance of pulmonary embolism due to dead heartworms (if they're in good quantity in the heart) moving to the lungs, potentially fatal.

This gives me no doubt about being right doing the preventative treatment - I wouldn't want to have either of my boys go through the immiticide tx. Then again that's my opinion, not telling people what to do!!

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