I really dont understand this at all. I use sentinel heartworm tablets each month on both of our dogs. In the booklet they provide it says 5 in 1 protection. Heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, whipworms, and sterilizes fleas. But when we took our rescue pup in for her first checkup we found out she had roundworms. The vet was very concerned that we pick up her poo so our other dog doesnt get infected with the worms. We pick up our dog's poo regardless, but he knows our first dog is on Sentinel. When I mentioned it he said well that's a heartworm preventative.
So Im a little at a loss. Is it or isnt it protection for all the above parasites? Can my dog still get worms if she were to eat the other dog's poo?
Also Im a little confused about the whole heartworm thing. They say dogs should be tested before given heartworm meds unless they are under six months. My dogs were both under six months so they have not been tested. I keep hearing that they are supposed to be tested every year before getting a new round of heartworm meds. Why is this? I thought the meds were supposed to prevent it, so why would you need to test every year. If someone could explain the whole thing to me that would be great.
Oh and if my puppies had been infected at birth but were put immediately on meds does that take care of the problem? If not how would you resolve a heartworm infection?
The main reason why you have to test a dog for heartworm, before treating is because if the dog does have heartworms, the medication can kill the worms in the pulmonary arteries, causing severe illness, and possible death. The reason you don't need to test before 6 months, is that it takes 7 months for the heartworm to develop.
Journey, I am a breeder of 17 years and have never had an infestation of heart worms in any dog I have ever owned. Early on my vet explained to me that heartguard is simply ivermectin(ivomec is a brand name). It is a wormer that does control all worms except tape worms. You can purchase it at a farm store as ivermectin 1% injectable. No double strength or anything else.It does not need to be injected as I only give 1/4 cc a month orally to each dog. You get 50cc in a bottle so that is 100 doses. HMMMM how does that compare to the price of the" sold at the vet or by prescriptions" meds. This is the medication that is also given for demodectic mange and is given as 3/4 cc a day for 30 days for a 45-70lb dog. 1/4 cc once a month will most certainly not harm your dog. Look at the ingredient in HeartGuard if you suspect that I do not know what I am talking about.I insist on telling you I AM NOT A VET and this is only my opinion and what I have used for nearly 18 years and is approved for me and my dogs by my personal veternarian.
Yes, it should have prevented any potential infestations, BUT, since the preventive medicine can cause possibly fatal problems if there IS an infestation, I think vets want to make doubly sure that there is no infestation. Or maybe (I hope not) they just want the $$ for the office visit and the blood draw. I've wondered this myself, journey. Good question.
Obviously, since your dog has roundworms, the medicine isn't infallible. It probably does a good job, but isn't 100% effective. Like birth control pills, eh?
It is another brand for heartworm protection. My girls use this brand. Our vet also requires us to do a yearly heartworm test regardless to using the preventive year round. Some vets do NOT require a yearly test. I think it is up to the vet.
wow- My vet has never giving any of my dogs any heart worm meds- Bentley is going to be 2 years old in decemeber Daisy is 1 year old and Louie is 6 months old Am i suppose to ask about getting this med? why hasnt my vet even brought this up? I think awhile back he did bring up Bentley needed testing but never tested or brought it up again when we came back to the vet for what ever reason. So now all my dogs have to be tested for heartworms before being on a heart worm med? I think its time for a new vet, this isnt the first time ive found out things that he hasnt done.
Canine Heartworm Primer by Kathleen Cole a member of STAAR
An aid to understanding heartworm life-cycle, prevention, and treatment.
Always follow your veterinarian's advise regarding any heartworm aspect!
Canine Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a growing epidemic in the dog population of the United States. Each year regions not previously considered to be in "heartworm country" are being added to the maps of heartworm afflicted areas. It is now recommended that dogs through-out the nation be on year-round heartworm preventative to protect them from this deadly parasite. Although it has been reported in other animals as well, even man, dogs and other canids are the natural hosts through which the heartworm completes it's life-cycle. All heartworm preventatives and treatments should be administered under your veterinarian's supervision or advise.
Understanding of the life-cycle of the heartworm is necessary for it's proper prevention and treatment. It takes about 6-7 months for a heartworm to complete it's life cycle, although it may live for up to five years within the heart of the host dog. Heartworms grow between 4 to 12 inches in length, and as many as 250 adults may infest a dog's heart. The right side of the heart is where the mature adult heartworms live, absorbing nutrients from the blood flowing through the heart. Their presence interferes with efficient pumping of the heart, putting a burden on the heart and taking years off the dog's life, ultimately resulting in agonizing heart failure and death.
Mature males and females mate in the heart and the females produce live young called microfilariae, up to 5000 a day per female. These microfilariae circulate through the dog's bloodstream as well as travel through body and organ tissues where they can cause cumulative microscopic tissue damage. These microfilariae can live in the host for up to three years. When the intermediate host, a mosquito, bites an affected dog and takes a blood meal, the ingested microfilariae become infective larvae within 10-48 days. The larvae then travel to the mouthparts of the mosquito. When the mosquito bites another dog, the larvae are deposited upon the skin and then burrow into the dog. They undergo several changes in form (molts) during 3-4 months, finally becoming small immature adults. At that point the heartworms find and enter a vein, make their way to the heart, and become sexually mature. There they mate and produce microfilariae for transmission to another host.
Several brands of approved heartworm preventative are now commonly available through veterinarians. These products have been tested for safety and efficacy. One of the first, "Filaribits", uses diethylcarbamazine as the active ingredient. It is given daily as a chewable tablet that most dogs enjoy like a treat. It also comes in a "Plus" version that additionally prevents intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.
The brand "Heartguard" was the first once-a-month preventative, and uses ivermectin as the active ingredient. It also comes in a "Plus" version with intestinal parasite control. WARNING: Ivermectin has been reported to produce side-effects and deaths in some dogs in the collie family. Australian Shepherds are included in the collie family and several Aussies have been documented as suffering adverse Ivermectin reactions. Many Aussies have been given Heartguard preventative without any reactions, but there is a risk of deadly reaction, especially at high dosage levels when ivermectin can cross the blood-brain barrier. Please inform your veterinarian and all Aussie and collie-type owners of this risk (see Aussie Times Jan-Feb 1995 pgs 67-71). NEVER give ANY dog ivermectin livestock-wormer! Dogs of any breed can easily die from overdoses since proper doses for heartworm prevention in dogs are much less per pound of body weight than used to worm livestock!
Another monthly heartworm preventative, "Interceptor", uses milbemycin oxime as the active ingredient. This product also prevents intestinal parasites and is reported to produce fewer reactions in general than ivermectin and is generally regarded as safer to use for collie-type dogs (Aussies). This is also the active ingredient in the heartworm/flea combination product "Sentinel". The first topically applied heartworm preventative is "Revolution", containing selamectin. Given monthly, the product is applied to the skin, where it is absorbed into the body to prevent heartworms. This product also prevents intestinal parasites, fleas, ticks, sarcoptic mange and ear mites.
All preventatives are equally effective against heartworms as long as they are administered in the correct dosage for the dog's weight and at the proper interval (daily or monthly). Regardless of daily or monthly preventatives, it is imperative that the dosage be appropriate for the dog's weight and given at the correct time. Under-dosing or skipping doses allows larvae present in the dog to mature into adult heartworms.
Although the southern regions have long, perhaps continuous mosquitoes seasons, even dogs in northern and mountainous regions should be on heartworm preventative year-round. The preventatives kill heartworm larvae as they pass through their vulnerable periods (molts) through-out their 3-4 month larvae stage. That is why dogs should never be taken off preventative during winter months even though mosquitoes may not be present. Even in winter, the larvae picked up in late summer or fall are still in the dog and must be killed by the preventative during their susceptible periods. The daily or monthly preventative you give your dog today will kill the larvae he was infected with up to four months ago. Don't risk a dog's life to save a few dollars!
WARNING: Never give a dog heartworm preventative unless it had been tested and found to be clear of heartworms. Giving a heartworm-positive dog any preventative could lead to serious reactions including death by anaphylaxic shock. Always have a new dog checked for heartworms by your veterinarian BEFORE giving any type of heartworm preventative, regardless of what any former owner or shelter may tell you about the dog's heartworm status. Remember that with people and their pets moving all over the country, you might have heartworm positive dogs in your arearegardless of where you live!
Always have dogs checked annually for heartworms, no matter how regularly and accurately preventative has been given. Some dogs gain weight without owners noticing, and when owners fail to adjust the preventative dosage for current weight, dogs are under-dosed. Sometimes people forget to give a dose here and there. Sometimes dogs spit out their pill when nobody looks. And sometimes dogs get sick and throw up their preventative. These situations can allow heartworm larvae to become adults. Annual heartworm checks are important!
There are three main types of heartworm tests in use today, with differing degrees of accuracy. All of them test for the presence of mature adult heartworms. Therefor it is pointless to test any dog less than six months of age, the minimum time for adult heartworms to develop. Simply put a puppy or dog less than 6 months old on preventative and have them tested for heartworms at a year of age.
The cheapest and least accurate heartworm test infers the presence of heartworms by examining a single drop of the dog's blood for microfilariae under a microscope. If microfilariae are found, the dog definitely has adult heartworms. However, this test may give a false negative up to 25% of the time for several reasons. Some dogs may only have adult heartworms of a single sex, therefor producing no microfilariae, or the adults are not yet sexually mature. Some dogs make antibodies that destroy any microfilariae the adult heartworms produce. Also, a single drop of blood may simply be too small a sample to detect microfilariae in low concentrations. This test should only be considered a screening tool, and currently is usually used only at animal shelters to identify dogs that definitely have adult heartworms. A negative result of the single-drop test still requires a more accurate test before declaring the dog heartworm clear and putting it on preventative.
A more accurate test for adult heartworms is commonly known as the di-fil test, where a larger sample of blood is examined for microfilariae. Several ccs of blood are drawn and mixed with a special solution, then passed through a filter material which allows blood cells to pass but traps any microfilariae present in the sample. The filter is stained and examined under a microscope for microfilariae. This test is much more accurate than the single drop test in detecting circulating microfilariae due to the larger sample size, but some false negatives can still occur due to strong antibody reaction against microfilariae, or single-sex or immature adult heartworm populations.
The most accurate heartworm tests available to date involve testing the blood sample for the presence of heartworm antigens. This test is called an antigen or occult ("hidden") test. It is also the most expensive, so many shelters can not afford to administer this test. When taking in a dog of unknown or questionable preventative history, request that your veterinarian use this test to confirm any shelter screening. Because monthly heartworm preventatives kill any microfilariae produced by present adult females and sterilize their reproductive capacity, this is the only test to use on a dog which has been on monthly preventatives. A negative test result is a definite sign that the dog has no adult heartworms present at the time of the test. Occasional false positives can occur due to the blood chemistry of some individual dogs, but test manufactures generally will run accurate follow-up confirmation tests at no charge to rule these out. Therefore, if you have a dog who does test positive with the antigen test, request a confirmation test to make certain. You don't want to put a dog unnecessarily through the risks of heartworm treatment.
At present there is no way to detect any developing larvae or sexually immature heartworms that may be in a dog's system. This is why there are cases where a dog may test negative for heartworms even with the antigen test, be given preventative at the correct dosage and schedule, and months later test positive for adult heartworms. Immature adults will not show up on any test, and are immune to preventatives. A later test will find these as mature adults, so it is suggested that all dogs older than 6 months be re-checked for heartworms about 6 months after first being put on preventative.
As long as the dog is on the proper dosage of preventative, no more larvae from subsequent mosquito bites will develop into adults. Monthly preventatives also kill microfilariae and sterilize the female adults so they no longer produce microfilariae. Under these circumstances where it is thought the number of adults is small and there are no circulating microfilariae to cause additional damage, some owners and vets may choose to avoid putting a dog through risky heartworm treatment and allow the adult worms present to die on their own over several years. These dogs are kept on preventative so that no new heartworms develop. This choice should only be made under advisement with your veterinarian. Remember that any heartworm-positive dogs taken into Second Time Around Aussie Rescue, Inc. must be heartworm treated prior to being placed, so this method is not an option for program dogs.
Once you have ascertained that a dog definitely has heartworms, treatment to kill the heartworms is the next step. An organic form of arsenic is used to kill adult heartworms, in an amount designed to be strong enough to affect the heartworms but not strong enough to kill the dog. Because the liver is the organ that detoxifies poisons from the dog's system, it is important to make certain that the dog's liver is healthy enough to handle the job. Before liver functions were tested, fully 50% of all dogs treated for heartworms died of liver failure or arsenic poisoning. Even without problems it may take up to a year for the liver to fully recover from the treatment. Since removing anesthesia from a dog's system is an additional burden on a liver recovering from heartworm treatment, some vets recommend that all elective surgeries such as spay/neuters be done at least 6 weeks prior to any heartworm treatment. Other vets may reverse the order (fearing heart complications if they do surgery on heartworm-positive dogs), but allowing time between procedures for the liver to recover is very important.
The health of a dog's liver is determined by running a CBC & Chemistry blood test to look for elevated liver enzymes. (The dog may also be x-rayed to assess the condition of other organs.) If the blood results show elevated liver enzymes, the treatment should not be given until the liver can be made healthier. A common method of restoring the liver is to give a course of antibiotics (such as Delta Albaplex) plus a daily dose of Kayro Syrup. After a month the blood is checked again and if liver enzymes are normal the treatment can begin. If antibiotics and Kayro Syrup have not brought the liver enzymes down far enough and your dog has microfilariae present, your veterinarian may consider killing the microfilariae as an aid to the liver's recovery. Typically this is done with a dose of ivermectin under observation at the office, so that any side-effects can be promptly treated, and a blood test is run again in three weeks. Whenever the liver enzymes in the blood test within normal ranges, the treatment to kill the adult heartworms can begin.
To begin the conventional treatment to kill adult heartworms, our injections of organic arsenic (Caparsolate) are given intravenously over two to four days, depending on the schedule your veterinarian prefers. Alternatively, a product called Immiticide is administered in two intramuscular injections over two days, and is reputed to be safer for dogs with existing liver problems. Immiticide is becoming the product of choice and soon Caparsolate may no longer be available despite it's lower cost.
Several days after treatment the heartworms will begin to die, starting with the smallest ones. As they die the worms may wriggle about and cause the dog some discomfort and nausea, so monitor the dog closely and consult your veterinarian regarding anything out of the ordinary for your dog. As the heartworms die they are flushed out of the heart and into the lungs, where they lodge in small blood vessels. Any excitement or physical exertion which increases the heart rate can send clumps of dying heartworms into the lungs where they can block off the pulmonary artery, resulting in death of the dog. Therefor, the dog is to be kept quiet and confined for the six weeks following treatment, as the heartworms die and are individually pushed into the lungs. There the dog's white blood cells take up to a year to totally break down and digest the bodies of the dead heartworms.
After six weeks of rest and confinement while the adult heartworms die off, the dog is re-checked for microfilariae. If any are found the dog is given a treatment to kill them, usually a dose of ivermectin, and stays a day at the veterinarian's office for observation where any side effects can be immediately treated. Three weeks later the dog is checked again to see if microfilariae are still present. A second dose of ivermectin may be give. Whenever the dog no longer has microfilariae, it may be started on heartworm preventative.
Because heartworm antigens continue to circulate in the dog's bloodstream for up to four months after all heartworms have been killed, the antigen tests will produce positive results for that same length of time. It is suggested that you wait about six months before running any antigen test on a treated dog. If after six months past treatment the antigen test is positive, do not be alarmed. Studies have shown that in about 10-20 % of heartworm treated dogs one to four of the largest female heartworms manage to survive the treatment. It is generally considered inadvisable to repeat the adultacide treatment due to the stress on the dog's liver and the fact that the worms will likely require a stronger arsenic dose than the dog might be able to withstand. It is recommended that these dogs be maintained on monthly preventative so that microfilariae are not produced by these few surviving females, which will die on their on within a few years without causing noticeable harm to the dog.
If at any time you feel that your local veterinarian may not have the latest information or experience regarding heartworm prevention, testing, or treatment (especially if you live in an area not considered prone to heartworms) don't hesitate to call around to other vet offices to ask about their experience with diagnosing and treating heartworms. Consider calling your closest veterinary school to see who they might refer in your area. Don't forget that our Rescue Reps are valuable information resources, especially those of us in the southern regions prone to heartworms.
Hopefully, this primer has given you a lot of basic heartworm information and answered most of your questions on the topic. Should you ever have to treat a dog for heartworms, this information should help you better understand and communicate with your veterinarian about the procedures. Remember that even if you feel heartworms are not a problem in your area that you need to worry about, your next rescue Aussie could have lived in Florida before his previous owners moved to your town. You just never know, so be careful, and good luck! http://www.ssrr.org/Articles/canine_heartworm_primer.htm
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Most medications that have claims about worms, say help in the treatment in worms, they could still pick it up.You should still worm your pets one to two times a year depending on the dog. The thing about Heartworms is the medication, kills the microfilaria, so when your on the medications, its given to kill them if your dog gets it.If you were to miss a dose of the heartworm medication the larva will develope, and do alot of damage. So in saying this, thats why we test every year, cause most owners don`t actually give the meds every month.And we know this becasue of all the people that come in saying Òh we still have three pills from last year. In our clinic, 0wners sign a waiver if they refuse the test. The company we deal with will treat an animal even if it gets the heartworm (owner at fault or not) if they do the test every year.
When I look up into the sky, I think to myself, Wheres the ceiling?
journey most likely your rescue dog had worms prior to being given the heartworm preventative. in which case the heartworm prevention is not going to kill an already existing worm infestation.
we have had dogs, who have been on heartworm meds faithfully each month develop heartworm disease. for whatever reason the meds did not work with the particular animals body system. if we didnt test and relied solely on the effectiveness of the medication, these dogs would be dead now. our clinic tests every 2 years instead of yearly. we are not in a high risk area, such as the southern part of this country, so if owners are faithfully giving it monthly we wont test every year, just every other year is sufficient. if you live in the south i would suggest yearly or at least testing every 18 months.
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