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Heartworm Prevention

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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
my vet insists they need Heartworm prevention all year around, we live in Ohio where we have all four seasons. So it get's very cold, I know there is no moskitos around here anymore.

I know some states require all year around protection, but not here, please help me decide if my dogs need it or not, should I change vet's??
 

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Lost Her Mind
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I'm gonna give mine preventative all year long. Our winter has been very mild lately, and I've actually seen a few skeeters in our garage. I don't want to take ANY chance. I figure the preventative is cheaper than treatment, so why not.

:)
 

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Why take the risk? It isn't worth your dogs health. Merial, the makers of HG brand will pay for treatment if your dog gets heartworm, but only if they're on HG year-round. Just some food for thought... also this guarantee is only valid if purchased from your veterinarian, not online.
 

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Why run the risk of them being infected? Then you face expensive treatment that can have severe complications, up to and including death.

If you lived on the north pole maybe skip it during the winter, but even Alaska needs hw preventative!
 

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If I lived up North I probably would skip the winter months too. I already give as little frontline as possible (just a few times a year) because I hate putting all those chemicals on my dogs. Unfortunately, living in Louisiana, we always have mosquitoes. I give Interceptor every 6 weeks.
 

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It gets very cold in Ohio, you do have freezes.

I give Daisy heartworm tablets from early spring through late Fall, usually the end of November ... until the first hard freeze. She's always been heartworm negative. But we don't have a problem with misquitos here, not sure why. I never see them at the lake either ... I think it's the bat colonies. There's a large one at the lake and I know we have a smaller colony down the road a few houses. Bats are good :)
 

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Daisy - my heart
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It's always been my understanding that misquitoes and fleas don't live past the first hard freeze. Fleas will if you have them in your house. But you're asking about heartworm...why would your vet recommend year-round for your area? I don't understand.
 

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The first year I had Hailey, I gave used HeartGuard and K-9 Advantix all year round because I didnt know any better. The second winter I had Mitchell and didnt use them. Last winter a Veterinary advisor to SGRR advised us to use them year round if only to keep the levels even in their blood, and if counteract any warm spells we might have have.
This year I have no choice, because Raine had heartworms when rescued and was treated right before she was transported up to me, so she definately needs a full year before I can take her off.

But, my feeling is , this is expensive medication, but not expensive physically or emotionally having a sick dog.

This is from the American Heartworm Society: http://www.heartwormsociety.org/

About 1/2 way down the page is the explaination for year round heart worm medication use.

http://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/faqs.html#q14
 

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I give heartworm meds all year round as we can have some warm spells here in MD in the winter and I'd rather be safe than sorry. I also use Frontline year round as well. In fact my guys are due for both today!
 

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I was just recently reading up on the subject. What I got from it, is that the weather has to be a certain temperature for a certain number of days for the larva to grow in a mosquito to a point where it can infect your dog. So even IF there are mosquitoes around, if it is cold they cannot infect your dog. However, since no one counts days to figure out whether or not they should give preventative that month it is easier to give it year round. If you live where it gets cold, you are safe not to give it. Growing up in Wyoming we never used preventative and were advised by the vets not to. Why? Because it got too cold there so there was no heartworm in the area...ever.
 

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Living in the south and having experience with swatting mosquitos in February, even after hard freezes, I give my guys HW preventive year round, as well as flea/tick preventive. I know some on this forum space the HW out more than 30 days, though I don't recall if it is 40 or 45 days. Each monthly pill has an effective life longer than 30 days, so maybe someone who does space out can tell you what the ideal interval is.
 

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I live in MA and Maddie gets year round Interceptor. However, I do tend to take a break from Frontline during the cold months ... I think I put an application on her in November and I'll probably wait until February to put some more on her.
 

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I give heartworm year round. I am one who really watches the chemicals that my dogs are exposed to and, even having an immune compromised boy, I wouldn't skip heartworm. It is a terrible terrible disease thats cure is painful and dangerous and expensive. However, the med is good for 42 days, and I space mine out at 35 days (5weeks). Whenever I buy new meds, I mark my kitchen calender and stlil I have a weeks leeway in case I forget. It also cuts down on the amount of med they receive in a year. The monthly dose figure is for the convenience of remembering to medicate the pet.
 

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Here's an interesting article that explains the lifecycle of the heartworm and how it is transmitted http://www.acreaturecomfort.com/heartworminfo.htm.

"
How Heartworms Infect Dogs: It’s Not Easy!
Step 1: To infect your dog, you need mosquitoes (so you need warm temperatures and standing water). More specifically, you need a hungry female mosquito of an appropriate species. Female mosquitoes act as airborne incubators for premature baby heartworms (called microfilariae). Without the proper mosquito, dogs can’t get heartworms. Period.
That means dogs can’t “catch” heartworms from other dogs or mammals or from dog park lawns. Puppies can’t “catch” heartworms from their mothers and moms can’t pass heartworm immunity to pups.
Step 2: Our hungry mosquito needs access to a dog already infected with sexually mature male and female heartworms that have produced babies.
Step 3: The heartworm babies must be at the L1 stage of development when the mosquito bites the dog and withdraws blood.
Step 4: Ten to fourteen days later — if the temperature is right –the microfilariae mature inside the mosquito to the infective L3 stage then migrate to the mosquito’s mouth. (Yum!)
Step 5: Madame mosquito transmits the L3’s to your dog’s skin with a bite. Then, if all conditions are right, the L3’s develop in the skin for three to four months (to the L5 stage) before making their way into your dog’s blood. But your dog still isn’t doomed.
Step 6: Only if the dog’s immune system doesn’t rid the dog of these worms do the heartworms develop to adulthood.
Step 7: It takes approximately six months for the surviving larvae to achieve maturity. At this point, the adult heartworms may produce babies if there are both males and females, but the kiddies will die unless a mosquito carrying L3’s intervenes. Otherwise, the adults will live several years then die.
In summation, a particular species of mosquito must bite a dog infected with circulating L1 heartworm babies, must carry the babies to stage L3 and then must bite your dog . The adult worms and babies will eventually die off in the dog unless your dog is bitten again! Oh, and one more thing.
Heartworms Development Requires Sustained Day & Night Weather Above 57˚F
In Step 4 above I wrote that heartworm larvae develop “if the temperature is right.”
The University of Pennsylvania vet school (in a study funded by Merial) found: “Development in the mosquito is temperature dependent, requiring approximately two weeks of temperature at or above 27C (80F). Below a threshold temperature of 14C (57F), development cannot occur, and the cycle will be halted. As a result, transmission is limited to warm months, and duration of the transmission season varies geographically.”
Knight and Lok agree: “In regions where average daily temperatures remain at or below about 62˚F (17˚ C) from late fall to early spring, insufficient heat accumulates to allow maturation of infective larvae in the intermediate host [the mosquito], precluding transmission of the parasite.”
The Washington State University vet school reports that laboratory studies show that maturation of the worms requires “the equivalent of a steady 24-hour daily temperature in excess of 64°F (18°C) for approximately one month.” In other words, it has to be warm day AND night or development is retarded even if the average temperature is sufficiently warm. They add, that at 80° F, “10 to 14 days are required for development of microfilariae to the infective stage.”
Jerold Theis, DVM, PhD, says, “If the mean monthly temperature is only a few degrees above 14 degrees centigrade [57 degrees F] it can take so many days for infective larvae to develop that the likelihood of the female mosquito living that long is remote.”
I have never found this temperature-dependent information on a website promoting “preventatives,” but only in more scholarly works not easily accessed by the public. There is, as far as I can find, only one mention of temperature on the Heartworm Society (on the canine heartworm page) and none in the Merck/Merial Veterinary Manual site or Merial’s heartworm video — even though Merial funded the UPenn study.
The Society also reports, “Factors affecting the level of risk of heartworm infection include the climate (temperature, humidity), the species of mosquitoes in the area, presence of mosquito breeding areas and presence of animal reservoirs (such as infected dogs or coyotes).”"


There's more in the article if you want to read it all. I really don't think personally heartworm prevention is necessary in most places during the winter, and in some places it is not needed at all. Depending. Regional differences though make it hard to compare...



 

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FWIW, heartworm preventative also protect from all other worms except tapeworm, so if your dog has exposure to other dogs, or to possible dog feces, there's that aspect to consider as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Don't get me wrong my crew has been on Interceptor for years all year around, just been hearing lately that a lot of people around here don't have their dogs on it though the wintermonth an got to wondering.

It's been as cold as 14 here already so I know those skiters are dead..lol
 

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FWIW, heartworm preventative also protect from all other worms except tapeworm, so if your dog has exposure to other dogs, or to possible dog feces, there's that aspect to consider as well.
This is a good point, I over looked the fact that most heartworm preventative also protects against intestinal parasites.
 

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Here's an interesting article that explains the lifecycle of the heartworm and how it is transmitted http://www.acreaturecomfort.com/heartworminfo.htm.

"How Heartworms Infect Dogs: It’s Not Easy!
Step 1: To infect your dog, you need mosquitoes (so you need warm temperatures and standing water). More specifically, you need a hungry female mosquito of an appropriate species. Female mosquitoes act as airborne incubators for premature baby heartworms (called microfilariae). Without the proper mosquito, dogs can’t get heartworms. Period.
That means dogs can’t “catch” heartworms from other dogs or mammals or from dog park lawns. Puppies can’t “catch” heartworms from their mothers and moms can’t pass heartworm immunity to pups.
Step 2: Our hungry mosquito needs access to a dog already infected with sexually mature male and female heartworms that have produced babies.
Step 3: The heartworm babies must be at the L1 stage of development when the mosquito bites the dog and withdraws blood.
Step 4: Ten to fourteen days later — if the temperature is right –the microfilariae mature inside the mosquito to the infective L3 stage then migrate to the mosquito’s mouth. (Yum!)
Step 5: Madame mosquito transmits the L3’s to your dog’s skin with a bite. Then, if all conditions are right, the L3’s develop in the skin for three to four months (to the L5 stage) before making their way into your dog’s blood. But your dog still isn’t doomed.
Step 6: Only if the dog’s immune system doesn’t rid the dog of these worms do the heartworms develop to adulthood.
Step 7: It takes approximately six months for the surviving larvae to achieve maturity. At this point, the adult heartworms may produce babies if there are both males and females, but the kiddies will die unless a mosquito carrying L3’s intervenes. Otherwise, the adults will live several years then die.
In summation, a particular species of mosquito must bite a dog infected with circulating L1 heartworm babies, must carry the babies to stage L3 and then must bite your dog . The adult worms and babies will eventually die off in the dog unless your dog is bitten again! Oh, and one more thing.
Heartworms Development Requires Sustained Day & Night Weather Above 57˚F
In Step 4 above I wrote that heartworm larvae develop “if the temperature is right.”
The University of Pennsylvania vet school (in a study funded by Merial) found: “Development in the mosquito is temperature dependent, requiring approximately two weeks of temperature at or above 27C (80F). Below a threshold temperature of 14C (57F), development cannot occur, and the cycle will be halted. As a result, transmission is limited to warm months, and duration of the transmission season varies geographically.”
Knight and Lok agree: “In regions where average daily temperatures remain at or below about 62˚F (17˚ C) from late fall to early spring, insufficient heat accumulates to allow maturation of infective larvae in the intermediate host [the mosquito], precluding transmission of the parasite.”
The Washington State University vet school reports that laboratory studies show that maturation of the worms requires “the equivalent of a steady 24-hour daily temperature in excess of 64°F (18°C) for approximately one month.” In other words, it has to be warm day AND night or development is retarded even if the average temperature is sufficiently warm. They add, that at 80° F, “10 to 14 days are required for development of microfilariae to the infective stage.”
Jerold Theis, DVM, PhD, says, “If the mean monthly temperature is only a few degrees above 14 degrees centigrade [57 degrees F] it can take so many days for infective larvae to develop that the likelihood of the female mosquito living that long is remote.”
I have never found this temperature-dependent information on a website promoting “preventatives,” but only in more scholarly works not easily accessed by the public. There is, as far as I can find, only one mention of temperature on the Heartworm Society (on the canine heartworm page) and none in the Merck/Merial Veterinary Manual site or Merial’s heartworm video — even though Merial funded the UPenn study.
The Society also reports, “Factors affecting the level of risk of heartworm infection include the climate (temperature, humidity), the species of mosquitoes in the area, presence of mosquito breeding areas and presence of animal reservoirs (such as infected dogs or coyotes).”"


There's more in the article if you want to read it all. I really don't think personally heartworm prevention is necessary in most places during the winter, and in some places it is not needed at all. Depending. Regional differences though make it hard to compare...



Thanks for that article, very interresting!:confused: I will keep mine on the monthly prevention for now!:confused:
 

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I questioned our vet about this when we lived in the San Francisco area. He told me the flea preventative was entirely up to me, but felt the heartworm stuff was a necessity.
 
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