Debate on heartworm meds

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Heidi2's picture
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Joined: 2019-08-31

I am a bit confused after reading about the heartworm preventative medications.  We are currently giving our pup Interceptor once a month.  I have read that this medication is a neurotoxin to the worms, but what is it doing to our dogs?   I also read that the medication doesn't really prevent the worms, it will kill the larvae once they are in the dog's body.  

I want to do what is best for our dog and wonder what others out there feel on this.   I thought I was doing the right thing by putting her on this monthly regimen and now question how safe it is for her.

 

 

I'm not a lot of help on this since I don't give traditional heart worm medication. If I did, I'd stick with heartguard. 

As I have multiple dogs, I use straight Ivomec.... but I know exactly how much to give. 

Heidi2's picture
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Joined: 2019-08-31

Thank you.  When I take her for her spaying, I will discuss this with our vet.   Maybe I think too much into things, but since our dogs are totally dependent on us...I want to make the right choice.   I've done more reading on the heartworm issue and at this point feel treating now to prevent is better than actually having the worms be able to mature.    It doesn't appear that PA has a high incidence, but there is always that chance.  Also, if we travel and take her with us, guess treating is better.

 

 

 

 

DobermanGuy's picture
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Joined: 2017-12-11

Thank you.  When I take her for her spaying, I will discuss this with our vet. 

When your Vet makes a suggestion about brand throw them a curve and ask them if that particular brand is proven effective against the MP3 strain of heartworms... Not a trick question. If they seem clueless - Perhaps they are.

(ask about urinary incontinence drugs as well while there cause spaying increases odds for that by as much as 20% - increase precentage depends on which study you read but they all show an increase) LOL!  

 

Heartworms are similar to the flu in that there are many different strains and the vaccines that 'used' to work may not work so well tomorrow.

Meaning you can be giving a heartworm preventative today that has been tested and proven to be 100% effective at preventing all 'current' known strains of heartworms from developing and then next year a new strain comes along that is resistant to whatever that drug is and POW - Your dog becomes infected with heartworms.

Currently Advantage Multi is the only one proven effective against strains of heartworms like the MP3 strain. Pricey but it is the latest and greatest thing. They offer NO guarantee that if a new strain comes along next year that your dog will be protected from it...

I give my Dobermans the Heartguard Plus preventatives from Merial. (my mutt gets interceptor) The heartguard stuff is the oldest, most tested, safest for your dog stuff around. While Heartguard by Merial is NOT going to prevent infection if a mosquito carrying the MP3 strain of heartworms comes along and decides to infect your dog - They are the only product on the market with any sort of guarantee at all. Merial guarantees that 'if' you use their product as suggested by your Vet that if your dog does happen to become infected they will pay for any and all treatment to kill the heartworms. They don't have any disclaimers saying 'only this strain or that one is covered' - If you give as directed by your Vet, have the yearly HW tests done, and have the receipts to prove it - Your dog is covered if it contracts ANY strain of heartworm. You will not pay a dime for the treatments in such a case.

For more reading on this matter you can search for acticles by Dr. Byron Blagburn (think his wife is into this as well but cant recall the name).

If you really want to dive on in and do some learning you can go to FDA.gov and look up any drug your Vet suggests. They make readily available (for free to us) massive levels of detail on everything they approve. You can easily find and read about just how much testing was done by each drug company for each particular drug and make your own informed decision. For a drug like Heartguard that has been around for so long the testing and studies cited are numerous and you will be reading for many days...

:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

DobermanGuy's picture
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I'm not a lot of help on this since I don't give traditional heart worm medication. If I did, I'd stick with heartguard. 

As I have multiple dogs, I use straight Ivomec.... but I know exactly how much to give. 

What you are doing is as 'traditional' as it gets in my opinion.

Ivermectin is the primary ingredient in Heartguard and has been around for a very long time. I personally use Heartguard with my Dobermans because of this track record and length of time on the market.

All drugs have the potential to cause side effects depending on the circumstances, or the breed. It seems to me that the longer a drug has been out, approved and available that the greater the chance there is for any possible adverse reactions to have been reported to the FDA or the drug maker so that those cases can be included in the data set for the drug.

If a new drug has not been used or tested in 'fill in the blank' situation with 'fill in the blank' breed then how do we know it is really safe?   

 

Doberman Guy: The reason that I said that I would use Heartguard is that the active ingredient is exactly what I am giving in its pure form.  It is just that when you have multiple dogs, giving heartguard gets pretty expensive.... so a lot of breeders do what I do. 

I do live in a area (SE Pennsylvania) where heartworms are not super common ... but you do see them in dogs that mostly live outside. It is recommended here to treat from March through November.  I actually treat less than that, and have never had an issue. However, if I lived back in Florida (which is where we are from), I'd be treating year round. 

DobermanGuy's picture
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 It is just that when you have multiple dogs, giving heartguard gets pretty expensive.... so a lot of breeders do what I do. 

Not sure if this helps you or anyone else but will share anyway just in case -

My Doberman Vet does not 'stock' the Heartguard brand. At her suggestion I started ordering it from the nice people at 1800petmeds.com. Yes, I still have to have the yearly tests done for the RX but once the test is done the RX is sent by fax and my order usually arrives very quickly.

No Vet in town can beat the price I pay for the stuff. Many do not come close. Usually get free shipping and even lower prices per dose when buying in bulk from them. Buying in 'bulk' for me is usually 2 boxes of 12 each and that lasts a pair of Dobermans for an entire year. IIRC the last order cost me a bit over $90 dollars for both girls for the entire year. The HW antigen test at their Vet was under $50 for both girls for the year.

So lets just say a total of $150.00 for both girls per year for the peace of mind of knowing that if either or both do somehow become infected - The treatment will be paid for by Merial and not cost me a dime. That is cheap insurance in my opinion.

Merial used to advertise this as I believe the 'Plus Guarantee'. No idea what they call it now but have confirmed with my Vet that they do still have their guarantee. No other HW preventative offers any such thing that I am aware of.