Heartworm pills, are they necessary?

Aunt_JemimaApril 11, 2006

I read the posting Heartworm/lyme/erlichia test.

I'm in a bad position now. My dogs have been off their heart worm pills for 3 months. In the middle of winter, I rarely worry. This year my vet wont give me more heart worm pills for them unless he does the heartworm lab work. At $60.00 a piece, for 3 dogs. Then I gotta buy the medicine! Which costs a fortune.

Please don't slam me for being 3 months late. Just don't write if it upsets you.

My dogs have a great home, good food, lots of love. I just wish the vet trips didn't cost more and more each year.

Does everyone have their animals on heartworm?

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Where do you live? What chance do your dogs have of being exposed. The link has three maps that show prevelance. You can click on the map & get a larger image.

Here is a link that might be useful: map

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 9:27AM
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I understand your situation.Mine was a lot worse.My dog hadn't been on the medicine since she was 6 months old.I thought house dogs weren't likely to get heart worms.She's now 3 years old and I just had her tested and she was negative.She just started her medicine yesterday.I was lucky this time.The other dog is due for a test.I don't know her previous history so I have no idea if she was ever on it.I do think it is necessary though.I can relate to the financial aspect of it though.Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 12:00PM
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I can really sympathise. It gets harder every year to pay the vet bills. Why not call around to different vets to see if you can get the tests cheeper. I've always continued the heartworm medication year round because I know I'd have a hard time paying for heatworm treatment.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 1:08PM
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Thank you glassquilt, the map said I'm 1 in 5%? I'm not sure if that's good or bad!

I'm glad others can relate to the expense. It's just awful. Office visit, lab work and pills. And 1 of my dogs is 137 lbs, so he has to get TWO boxes of pills! One box is for dogs up to 100 lb, then the other for dogs up to 50 lbs. Then I have to buy heartworm pills for my other 3 dogs.........
This could easily be over $500.00. The vets office wouldn't work with me yesterday so I left a message to talk with the vet directly and see if he would reduce his price a bit since I've got 4 dogs. He's not called me back....
Looks like I will have to change vets, which I hate to do, he's been their vet since puppy-hood.
Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 3:30PM
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hi aunt j...love your pancakes.

do a google search for heartworm medicine. your'll come up with a lot of options/prices/ways to obtain. not all meds have to come from your vet.

i agree it does in fact get pricey and i think we are at the disadvantage because we love our pets and wouldn't want to deprive them of what they say we need for them.

i don't think anyone would slam you. you are giving them warmth, love, care and attention. i do think you have other options of paying less though and you have a computer, so search away :)

good luck.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 4:03PM
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I am continually shocked at the cost of vet services and medications. I spent over $10,000 on care for a dog with lung cancer. She lasted less than four months after diagnosis. Last year, my dog had a bad ear infection. She had to be knocked out to have her ear thoroughly cleaned out. That bill was over $600. I consider regular check-ups with heartworm and flea medication at $200 per year to be fairly reasonable. Just my experiences. I really love my vet, she is so kind and has pulled my pets through some serious injuries and illnesses in the past. One dog jumped over a chain-link fence and cut her belly on the wire prongs. I hysterically called my vet at nine at night, she met us at her office and stitched up my dog, including internal organs. I don't remember the cost.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 4:07PM
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I've tried online, but they all require an RX from a vet. I can get flea and tick medicine w/o a RX, but for some reason the heart worm is very strict. I think it must be a $ racket because how can you go wrong. Order the pill that fits the weight of the dog. Duhh.
But no, testing, testing, testing before order.

OH, try this one:

Strawberry French Toast
4 1-1/2" slices Kings Hawaiian®
Sweet Bread
2 cups sliced strawberries
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
powdered sugar, garnish
Aunt Jemima® Syrup

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 4:09PM
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What kind of Heartworm medication do you use? I just ordered a 6 month's supply of Heartgard Plus for my small dog for $16.95 from www.petsuppliesnet.com The 26-50 lb. package is $21.95, and the 51-100 lb. package is $27.95, which is much less expensive than what my vet charges, and the cheapest that I've been able to find online. And you don't need an Rx to order from them from this site. For Frontline, I've had great luck on Ebay. It's amazing how much money you can save if you search around online. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 4:20PM
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Where we live if you dog is not on a preventative it WILL get heartworms. I can completely understand about the high cost of testing and the preventaive. Have you ever looked into the horsewormers that you can buy over the counter? At one point I ended up with sixteen dogs, Some were ours and some were my father in laws dogs that he could no longer care for after he became ill with lung cancer. Fortunately our vet was very understanding of the situation and worked out the dosage of 1% Ivermectin for us to give the dogs. They took that for years and every year I would randomly pick a couple dogs to test and we never had one test positive.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 5:04PM
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I don't believe any Vet will give you the prescription without doing the bloodwork. But after negative bloodwork you certainly have the right to ask for the prescription and get the medication elsewhere.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 5:45PM
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Yeah, we're in the same boat as Lisa- mosquitoes all year. So HWP year round. Same with flea and tick control. I consider HWP just as important as food, water, exercise, and love- it's part of the basic care of a dog.

I don't know where you live, but if your winters are very cold the entire time, then there isn't much risk in stopping. We can't do that here because it doesn't stay cold long enough. The microfilaria (baby heartworms) need a 2 weeks to develop inside the mosquito before they are infective. Here the mosquitoes easily live 2 weeks in the middle of winter; in your area that may be impossible. No mosquitoes = no transmission = no problem. This was a mild winter for most parts of the country, so what normally wouldn't be a problem could be this year. Again I don't know where you live so I can't really judge that.

The good thing is that if you start right away, Heartgard and Interceptor both have a little "reachback" in prevention. They both kill more than one stage of immature larvae. So your dogs are protected for about 1 month prior to when you restart giving the prevention. Meaning that they will have only 2 months unprotected. So things are looking better...

I think it's a bit of a sham to require the test now- it's going to be negative even if they are infected. It takes 6 months after infection for the test to turn positive. You have to wait for the female worm to become an adult and start releasing antigens that are detected by the test. So even if your dogs got infected the day after their last dose of prevention, it will still be at least 3 more months before the test will be positive. And if they got infected yesterday, you've got to wait 6 months for the test to turn positive.

It's OK to start Heartgard (safest, but Interceptor also OK) while waiting the 6 months and then do the test. But definately do the test in 6 months. If they are infected the prevention will NOT kill the worms, (although they will prevent a worse problem with more worms) and your dogs could still die. And giving either of those 2 preventions will not cause a problem even if your dogs are already infected.

A couple of years ago a fellow tech and I calculated the cost of HWP vs one round of heartworm treatment. With the prices our hospital charged, you could do 3-4 years of continuous heartworm prevention for the cost of one treatment, depending on the size of the dog. So it's definately worth it financially to keep the dogs on HWP. Not to mention the trouble heartworms can cause in the dog.

Lisa mentioned the cheapest way I know to give reliable HWP- use ivermectin 1%. You'd have to get the dose from your vet, but I guarantee it will be less expensive than the commercial HWP products. I think (but don't quote me on this) that it can be given orally or by injection. Your big dog may be a challenge orally- ivermectin is a nasty tasting liquid and he'd need a lot of it. I personally use Sentinel because 2 of my dogs (the Huskies) would be PITAs to give orally or by injection, so the tasty flavored Sentinel is the way to go with them. And since I do live in a very bad area for heartworms, I don't want there to be any risk in the dogs drooling/vomiting/moving/ and otherwise preventing the administration of the entire dose. I get HWP for free because I'm a vet student (it's our only perk, trust me).

I sympathize with your current situation. I'd switch vets too because if he doesn't know that it takes 6 months for the test to turn positive after being infected, you wouldn't want to continue seeing him. That's parasitlogy 101- literally. And if he does know that, then he's being very mean making you pay for the test now when it won't tell you anything.

I wouldn't worry too much about your dogs being already infected if it was cold all winter in your area. But get your guys on prevention soon, no matter which route you take. If you balk at the cost of that, you'll REALLY hate the cost of treatment!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 6:04PM
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nikchick04: I went to the website and ordered 6 months worth for my 4 dogs. Cost $141.68!! That is a wonderful price for the heartguard! And you're right, no RX needed! In the past I've used 1-800 petmeds, and they will not give anything without the RX.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You saved me $240.00.

P.S. I agree heartworm testing is a good idea and I'm not saying that me not having it done now is the best idea. But I'm glad that at least they will be back on the medicine soon! No mosquitoes here yet.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 7:54PM
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I've always heard the liquid ivermectin described as nasty tasting but none of our guys ever minded it. Gave it straight out of a syringe, and Solomon, one of the Akitas would follow you around begging for more. Strange boy.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 8:05PM
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I live in Canada, and our vet recommends the heartworm medication from june to nov(6 months) Seeing that you can order the mediction online really saves alot of money, do i really have to have my dogs checked if mosquitoes aren't even out yet?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 6:02PM
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There are a few minor things I might skimp on with my huge brood of cats and one dog, but Trixie's heartworm meds is one thing I never miss. This little gal has given me so much happiness that I would do anything possible to prevent any deadly disease possible. Believe me I know what you are all saying about coming up with money for vet visits. With 35 house cats my annual bill just at the vet, not including food and litter, runs about $3000. And I am far from wealthy - I live on a reduced pension and small social security - both combined totaling less than $20,000/ann. but I made a pact with them when I agreed to take them in and I do whatever is necessary to care for them.
I must also defend vet costs. My vet has invested in a lot of extremely expensive equipment so he can care for his patients. The same xray or laser surgery on a human would be 10 times or more what a vet charges. Having access to such equipment has alerted him early enough to save several of my babies by beginning the appropriate treatment early. No it isn't easy and if you can get the meds needed online less expensively then go for it. Every penny counts. But remember your vet has invested considerable money - first in education and secondly in equipment.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 6:25PM
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Aunt Jemima, low-cost spay-neuter clinics in your area might also offer low-cost heartworm testing. The one in our area charged $15 per dog last year, which is a lot more reasonable than what our vet charges.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 10:03PM
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I buy "generic heartguard" from PetShed.com online. The company is actually in Australia, but it only takes about a week to get it. It is a lot cheaper, and Heartguard is just Ivermectin anyways, so is the generic. Heartguard is expensive because we have to pay for the brand.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 8:40AM
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Heartworm testing should be done when it's going to give you the most information- 6 months after possibility of infection. In Canada where heartworms are a problem only every 6 months of a year, I'd do the test once yearly. It doesn't matter when really, since giving the prevention won't hurt if they are infected. Just do it around the same time every year.

If your dog has been off heartworm prevention during a time when mosquitoes are out, start the prevention NOW and wait to test until 6 months LATER. You'll waste money doing the test earlier than 6 months. It takes 6 months AFTER the dog has been infected for the test to turn positive. I hate to hear of vets requiring heartworm tests prior to restarting lapsed HWP. They either don't know anything about heartworms and testing (not a good vet) or are purposely wasting your money (not a good person). Makes the whole profession look bad.

Aunt jemma- you're doing the absolutely right thing by getting your dogs back on prevention now. Just get them tested some time AFTER 6 months from now. Don't do it before November because you'll be wasting money and not even learning if your dogs are infected.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 6:39PM
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It makes me upset when people who don't know what they are talking about, post something on a message board for other people to read. Yes, a vet that requires a heart worm test before you get the prescription may seem stupid. But realize this, they may not know for sure when you stopped giving your pet the heart worm pill. They can only go by what you say. Also, if they give you the medicine without testing your pet during a lapse in monthly treatment, they can be liable if you pet dies from undiagnosed heart worms. If a pet has heart worms and take a heart worm pill, it can kill it. If you cant afford your pets and their treatments, then don't have them. Vet have to pay bills too. People are used to paying their $15 dollar copay. What you don't see is the real cost of medical expenses. -- btw -- I work as a vet tech at an animal hospital. I would find it both scary and neglectful for a vet to prescribe heart worm medication without testing if there was lapse.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 11:15PM
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I agree with Sheryl 100% and I would like to add that if you are buying heartworm preventative online to buy from a reputable company. Any website that does not require an rx is not reputable and you may not be getting the true product. I have seen a few people that have done that and their dogs did end up having heartworms. If you cannot afford the preventative you will not be able to afford the tx and then what happens?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 11:48PM
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I've got a dog and have owned several dogs in the past. I, too, complain about the cost of vet care and the cost of heartworm medication. I live in an are where I do give heartworm medicaiton year round.

However, my daughter has worked in a vet clinic for the last 4 years and is in her first year of vet school. Vet school is expensive!!!!! Scholarships are few and far between but student loans are plentiful. If we didn't help DD she would graduate with somewhere between $90,000 and $120,000 in students loans. Payments on that would run close to $650 a month for 20 years.

Vet clinics have vet techs, kennel personnel and office staff to pay. Then there is the cost to maintain the building, equipment, supplies, insurance, utilities, taxes, and almost every other cost a doctor's office has. Just like a people doctor, there is a cost in staying current in the latest developments in vet medicine. In other words, it isn't inexpensive to operate a vet clinic.

So, while we all (well, most of us) complain about the cost of vet care, remember that all the costs the vet has to cover before they start paying themselves. It puts it into a different perspective - at least is does for me.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 8:16AM
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That is why I will never again have more than one animal unless I can really afford it. At one time I had two dogs. and two cats. Way too expensive...

The one I currently have is all I can afford.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 11:07AM
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jlhug: While I appreciate that vets or any physician or professional for that matter have huge student loan bills, I don't think that they should over-price procedures and meds to pay for their bills. I don't expect a client to pay for my college education. The career path is a choice.

I was previously with a vet that was trying to use a small clientele based practice to pay off her new building, student loans, etc. I moved on to a different vet with the same veterinary school degree but with more reasonably priced care and medications. In fact, quite a few of my former vets clients have done the same. I happen to see them sitting in the new vet's office. So, there is lesson to be learned. Some people will blindly pay what a vet charges and others will shop around for the same quality of care for a more reasonable fee.

It is a balance. You cannot expect to become a vet and have your bills paid by inflating your prices.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 2:23PM
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My vet has recommended not bothering with heartworm treatment unless we plan to do a lot of travelling with the dogs and frequently. In my province in cananda, (alberta) All the positive HW tests that have occured have been with dogs who had been out of the province, or had previously lived out of the province.

It just doesn't get warm enough, for long enough around here to worry about it. We are still recommended to do yearly testing, just to be on the safe side but she's told us it'd really just be a big waste of money considering there are maybe one or two dogs a year in my province that test positive, and like I said they came from out of province, or had been visiting.

Paddle, what part of Canada are you in?? If you're in either Sask or AB chances are you're being put out a lot of money for nothing. They're pretty certain heartworm can't survive in either province. However with summers getting warmer that might change eventually. But for now (unless the AVMA website is waaay outdated) there no cause for worry.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 4:15PM
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Labmomma, I didn't say that I expected that a vet's clients would pay for the vet's education by the vet inflating prices anymore than a patient pays for a doctor's education. Nor did I say that a vet or a doctor should pay for his college loans by inflating costs to patients. I'm sorry if I made that impression. No one will survive in a business where there is competition if they aren't comepetitively priced.

I was trying to point out that many of a vet clinic's expenses are very close to being those of a doctor's office. I think that many people simply don't realize that.

I also don't think that most people realize that a vet goes to school for at least 4 years, has educational costs equal to those of a medical student and can do internships for a year or 2 or more beyond that. That was the point that I was trying to make. It looks like I failed miserably if you interperted that to mean I thought it was ok for a vet to inflate prices to cover student loans.

Sorry if I didn't make myself clear. I should have left the info on the cost of a vet's education out of my post. I did not mean to infer that it was acceptable for a vet to inflate prices to cover student loans.

Just a thought and I'm expecting to get flamed. A internet supplier can buy in much larger volumes that a vet can so the cost to the vet is more than that of the internet store. The internet store will always be able to beat the price at the vets. If a vet clinic were to buy the same volume trying to get the cheaper price, first, there would be carrying costs that the vet would have to pass on for maintaining that large of an inventory (doubt that the clinic has that much cash laying around to buy thousands of boxes of heartworm preventative) and second, many drugs would reach their expiration date before being prescribed.

Ok, the vet's cost for a give drug is going to be higher than you can find on the internet. So, my question is this - if your vet sold drugs at his cost or let you go to the internet for drugs to save you money, would you be willing to pay more in vet fees to cover the small markup most vets put on drugs?

Putting on my flameproof suit and quickly backing away.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 9:06PM
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Take off your flameproof suit. I wasn't flaming you. I was simply stating that if you over price yourself to pay your costs of student loans, etc., you will definitely lose clients since there are other alternatives. This is the same regardless of the profession. Many physicians, attorneys, research scientists, psychiatrists and others who have enormous student loan bills and many years of post graduate school, still cannot outprice themselves to pay their bills or they will be without a job or clients.

When it comes right down to it, I am a consumer about all things. I don't view the doctor/vet as some sort of God just because they have a different training than someone else. The only thing that sets them apart is their schooling and the career path is one they have chosen. I have encountered good vets and not so good vets and sometimes terrible ones. Same with physicians. I just think you need to keep a clear head and go with the best treatment available at the best price. Why someone would knowingly overpay is beyond me? Is the quality of care different if you pay more. NO.

I do get my pet meds from my vet. I don't think I want the hassle of trying to get things online. My oldl gal takes 16 pills a day. Also, any site that will give you meds without a rx, in my opinion, is not worth getting them from. Also, meds from different countries, bad idea if the meds aren't mixed the way they are in the States. I don't have time to pay attention to the boxes and where they come from, so the convenience of having my vet dispense my pets meds is more convenient, and I am willing to pay for it, although not to the degree my former vet was charging.

I am not opposed to paying the vet for getting the meds for me. What I am opposed to is a 50 percent markup that I was paying a former vet for the very same medication I am now getting at my current vet who is located approximately 3 miles from former vet.

Also backing away.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 9:33AM
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500 percent YES.

My two girls were (I lost one of my girls Tuesday) are on heart worm prevention medication year round, and are tested every two years.

You'd think I'd be OK because it's winter, right?

I was bitten on the cheek by a mosquito on January 15.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 1:59PM
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We have to keep dogs on heartworm meds year round. I use Revulation because there is a mite infestation here and one of my dogs is McNab so I don't use heartguard on her anyway.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 5:22PM
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My DD and i are very lucky to have a good vet that does'nt charge too much. He told us that giving a dog Heartguard and they had heart worms would kill them. We have to give them all year long.

Yes the heartworm pills are expensive but it's a have to situation.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 10:17AM
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This is a general comment, not to the original poster.

I just looked at my last vet bill and it costs $7 a month to give a 60 pound dog an Interceptor tablet. That's less the a quarter a day. And Interceptor and other preventatives can be ordered from the web (with prescription) for less. Most vets will match a lower web price if you ask. I can't think of $7, or $14 for two dogs, or $21 for three dogs... better spent.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 1:11PM
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"He told us that giving a dog Heartguard and they had heart worms would kill them."

Generally that's only an advanced infection, but you're absolutely correct. Giving Heartguard to a dog that has an active heartworm infection can be fatal.

Even treating a heartworm infection can be fatal.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 7:07PM
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My neighbors dog, died from hearworm, so I am more careful than ever of our dog, she was a darling dog and I felt as bad as they did. So it does happen, they didnt give her the treatment, as they didnt think it was necessary, they had a cottage North of here and thats where she got it. They have another dog now and are more careful of this one.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 6:40PM
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I will admit that I did not read any other post than the first one by the original poster.

I use to manage a shelter a few years ago in Middle TN. At LEAST 5 out of 10 dogs tested POSITIVE for heartworm -- at all times of the year.

There are specifics about when a dog will get heartworm at what age and how the larvae will progress. Sufficeth to say, treat your dog every month without skipping.

I adopted a dog from that same shelter who had heartworm, and the treatment is extremely expensive. The cost of prevention is waaay less than the cost and stress of treatment.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 2:39AM
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Here's what I don't understand: If you have your dog on Heartguard year 'round, WHY would a vet insist on testing for heartworm before prescribing a refill of the medication? Our 7-year-old Westie has been on Heartguard AT THE SAME VET for nearly all his life. Are we thinking Heartguard doesn't WORK?

Tell me why this is a necessary test for my dog. What could it possibly turn up? Does the vet think we buy Heartguard and throw it away? Take it ourselves? We only have one animal.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 1:24PM
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Chisue- No medication is 100% effective, Heartgard included. Your dog could be throwing up the medication while you're not looking. You could be giving the medication to the local animal shelter. Just because you purchase it doesn't mean your dog is taking it. Of course you're giving the prevention, but the vet has no way of knowing how well your dog takes his medication.

Many vets have a policy to test for heartworms once a year, regardless of purchasing prevention.

If somehow your dog got heartworms, giving it prevention won't cure the infection. Your dog could die of heartworm disease without you ever knowing it, unless you get it tested. That's why many vets require annual testing.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 11:22PM
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Though i'd add a little more about my vet. He takes care of any and all animals that come his way,horses,cows, wild critters, down to my chihuahua. He is super nice. He does not take heartworm tests every year if we give the meds. and he cut the price for them since we don't have lots of money. But we do take them in for a complete checkup once a year and get all shots. We were lucky to find a vet that was willing to work with us and loves all animals.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 1:04AM
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What are the stats? How many dogs on year round Heartguard have contracted heartworm? I'd guess fewer than have had an adverse reaction to the medication, but it would be good to know the facts. Then vets wouldn't worry about their malpractice insurerance being canceled and we and our dogs could stop unnecessary visits and tests.

Oh, dear! Think of the losses to the providers of test kits!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 12:13PM
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I live in west Tennessee and have a nephew that lives down in the Mississppi delta.Around thru this region we ARE seeing more and more cases of dogs that have been on preventative and are still coming up positive for heartworm infection. Some Dr's are beginning to suspect that the larvae are becoming immune to the preventative. At least if you can show thru vet records that you do test and purchase the preventative on schedule then the manufactuer will pay for treatment.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 2:07PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

If you love animals, and the cost of hearworm prevention is prohibitive, have you considered asked if you could voluteer to work "x" amount of hours at the Pound to earn a blood test and heartguard?

You could pick up poop, help bathe dogs, clean, sweep, do almost anything until you paid for the service. If you get along well with them, they could entrust you with many tasks. What would it take? Possibly they would need a volunteer for one Saturday a month? If you did this, and if they provided the service instead of money, I think that would be a good solution.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 4:17PM
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The problem with finding out how many dogs on preventative became positive is that frankly, people lie. They say they always give it on time, they say their dog always takes it perfectly, etc but there is no way to actually prove that. People know that if you buy the preventative regularly and the dog ends up positive anyway, then the manufacturer pays for the treatment. There is no way of knowing for sure if the dogs were actually getting the preventative. Vets and the manufacturers give people the benefit of the doubt and if you can prove you have at least purchased the preventative as prescribed, then the manufacturer will pay for treatment should the dog end up with heartworms.

VIN has been all lit up about prevention failures with Heartgard, Interceptor, and Revolution. So it seems that the little buggers are becoming resistant, at least in some areas. They say "hundreds" of calls to FDA in recent months (late 2006 to early 2007), with 30-40% being true positives (the rest were false positives or noncompliance). That isn't a lot of dogs, given the number on prevention, but I wouldn't want MY dog to be infected and not treated!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 5:58PM
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Ah-hah! Now there are some real reasons to a) get the test and b) find out what the stats are. I wonder if there are some areas (climates) where this is more of a problem?

I'n not crying poormouth here, just hate to be too dumb to ask why. I had no idea that the preventative mfg. co. would pay for treatment if a dog on it tests positive. Sad that the preventative may no longer be effective -- has the product been tested recently for any changes in the ingredients?

Thank you all! Ain't GardenWeb great?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 7:05PM
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Yes, most of the resistance problems have been occuring in heartworm endemic areas. Here's a link to a map that shows the biggest trouble areas for heartworms. In general, the biggest problem areas are along the Mississipi and its tributaries and along the Gulf Coast. But all 50 states have reported dogs with heartworms.

I am not aware of any studies that are looking into the resistance issue. The products have been the same for years, which is probably why heartworms are becoming resistant.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 8:17PM
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The map looks like there could be a convergence of climate with puppy mill areas. Thanks for the visual aid! I can't think of the proper term, but what is the acceptable variant -- like the percentage to ignore when you do a survey?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 9:51AM
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I assumed the HWT test for medicated dogs was checking for resistance... I don't give my dogs HW prevenative in December, January or February... I don't give it to them, not because I am trying to save money, its not htat much money...its because I am trying to minimize their exposure to chemicals and medications when its unnecessary. If I lived in a warmer climate, I would medicate all year long.

$60 for each HWT test seems a little pricey, but I can't recall what I paid in February when my dog was last tested.

My vet also offers a multiple dog discount, if you have several pets and bring them in all at the same time, he knocks 10 to 20% off the bill...

And I have started doing vaccine titers in lieu of vaccines as another method to reduce my dogs exposure to un-necessary medications. Its more expensive but give me peace of mind.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 11:06AM
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Ya, we have two dogs and the heartworm tests are a couple bucks every year. No biggie.
We give them it all year long(even though we dont' have too) because one of my boys eats poo and I want to control other parasites too.
Our heartworm protects against hookworm ( i think) and a couple other nasties.
Our dogs are only about 30 pounds each, so the cost isn't bad. However I can see two labs or two goldens costing a lot of money!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 3:20PM
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Chisue- it's all about the climate when it comes to heartworms. They don't care where a dog was born, just if its on prevention or not. Puppy mill dogs are shipped all over the country and I'm sure not tested by the puppy mill. So until they are owned by good owners where ever they live, puppy mill dogs are not included in the sample. You can't test a dog for heartworms until it is 6 months or older, and by then the puppy mill dogs are long gone from their place of birth.

I think you're thinking of the margin of error. It comes from taking a small sample and applying it to a larger population. You don't ignore the margin of error, just have to take it into account. Like when they do election coverage, candidate X is ahead with 32% and candidate Y has 28% but the margin of error is +/- 5%. So the real range for X is 28-37% and for Y is 23-32%.

There are many issues with sampling, but rest assured that heartworms are more common in the areas indicated on the map because the climate is good for mosquitoes. But anywhere with mosquitoes is fair game.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 8:47AM
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"This year my vet wont give me more heart worm pills for them unless he does the heartworm lab work. " I generally kept my dog off the pills for Dec. Jan. and Feb. here in IL where are are NO mosquitoes during that time. And she is mostly a house dog.

But they made me sign something that says they offered to have the tests performed but I declined. Just as long as they were off the hook. And gave me the medicine anyway. I think $60 was what we were charged last time too although I knew our vet was expensive.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 3:43PM
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Yes, "margin of error". So, it looks like mosquito population would be the "overlay" to use with the heartworm map. Thanks for all the information and help.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 6:16PM
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I reccomend going to Bansfield Pet Hospital in Petsmart ' you pay a monthly rate for each dog. All the shots are free and visists , and then get a discount on every medication and sorts. And they also match price ' and if they don't carry it they write a prescription for you. So we are do for some pills ' and we are now getting it for 25 dollars on line for two 90 lb dogs.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 9:58PM
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I originally came to this forum to post a question but had to respond to this one. Two yrs ago, I left my dogs at the vets office to be bathed, clipped, and seen by the vet. When I got the bill I saw where heartworm tests had been done where I had always refused them before. A yr later I went back and refused the heartworm tests, the receptionist did not want to give me the Interceptor that I always give my dogs. My vet happened to be standing there and I asked him, is this med always effective and he said 100%. And then he went into a spiel about if there were to ever be a "bad batch" of medicine, they didn't want it to come back and bite me in the butt so to speak. Also the receptionist piped up about another dog ending up with heartworms because he would go behind the couch and drop the Heartgard instead of taking it. I told them, I'm religious about giving my dogs heartworm meds and I'm not worried about bad batches, or the dogs not taking the meds.
Last week I went back for another checkup, I refused the heartworm test and picked up my Interceptor at the checkout. I had made up my mind last yr, I would go to my local country vet to pick up the meds if my cityfied vets wouldn't sell the meds to me. I guess since I have been going to these vets since 1976, they know they can't bully me too much.
In Alabama, I give heartworm meds year round.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 4:15AM
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In California, you did not need a physical for you animal if it had been receiving heartworm meds continually with no break. The heartworm pills are supposed to work. So why get tested for heartworm when the pills they give you are supposed to prevent heartworm?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 12:02AM
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For the benefit of anyone reading this thread in the future, please consider reading this article which exposes the whole heartworm scam for what it is. Yes, heartworm disease exists, but the level of fear modern veterinary/pharmaceutical companies have successfully created is a scam.
I know the vet defenders on this thread would disapprove, but for the rest of us, who either don't buy into the "MUST treat monthly for heart worm" bit, or are on very limited budgets, (or both), but want to do the best by our pets, this is a must-read.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 3:07PM
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