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Heart worm medicine debate.

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

  
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Kiezer

Wanna play!?
 
 
Barked: Thu May 26, '11 11:09am PST 
I was wondering if anyone could help shine some light on the Heart worm medicine issue for me. I am hearing a lot of people talk about how the medicines are a pesticide and somehow bad but no one really backs that up with reasonable information. Anything helps, and I'm just trying to get educated before I decide whether or not to buy more medicine next week. Thanks!

Background information:
Kiezer is almost a year old German Shepherd, Coon Hound mix. He weighs about 38 pounds and is on a B.A.R.F/Prey Model diet. He is healthy, happy, and active.
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Tanuk CGC

Sherpa Tanuk of- Everest
 
 
Barked: Thu May 26, '11 11:53am PST 
Heartworm prevention (Sentinel, Interceptor, Heartgard, Iverhart, etc) are all pesticides. However, as far as preventives go, they're considered very safe. You do have to be careful with herding breeds, they have a gene that the Ivermectin can react with, so it's best to use the product recommended by your vet.

As to whether or not to use heartworm prevention, that is up to you. However, there are no "natural" remedies to use instead that are considered effective. If you choose not to have your dog on preventive and it does contract heartworm, you will be looking at hundreds to thousands of dollars for treatment, depending on severity. The treatment is extremely dangerous as well, some dogs do not survive and some will have lasting health problems because of it. Not a good prospect.

Much safer to have them on prevention.
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The Roo- Crew™- ©®

We go together- like peas &- carrots

moderator
 
 
Barked: Thu May 26, '11 12:50pm PST 
What Sherpa said is exactly what we would say.

Though we would prefer not to have to be on any preventative at all, we know of several dogs that have died of heartworm. One was on preventative, but his owner had a major heart attack and was in the hospital for 2 months and missed 2 doses. He died that same year even though he went through the treatment for the worms. He was a gorgeous chocolate lab... cry

RIP Bridger

Chance

How You Doin'?
 
 
Barked: Thu May 26, '11 1:02pm PST 
It also depends on where you live.
Where I am, there are some vets who don't carry it because overnight temperatures drop so low at night.
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Leah, CGC

All the Beauty- with none of the- Brains
 
 
Barked: Thu May 26, '11 1:43pm PST 
Tanuk pretty much covered the bases - additionally you should be aware that the monthly preventative is a much safer dose of a "toxin" than the treatment is. It is a necessary risk we take to prevent a deadly disease.
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Adam

Vaccine free- -Disease free- goes pawinpaw
 
 
Barked: Thu May 26, '11 2:43pm PST 
I completely disagree with what tanuk said and will back it up as soon as I get home. (I feel that) dogster is very pro conventional medicine yahoo groups doghealth are in the middle and can better inform in this area with a neutral mentality. (So I think it is wise to join that forum as well)

(Mod note- Since it seemed that the spirit of this message was to provide additional information rather than to disparage Dogster, I have edited the text to more clearly reflect that)

Edited by moderator Fri May 27, '11 6:57pm PST

Edited by forums moderator
Samson

Work? What's- that?
 
 
Barked: Thu May 26, '11 2:55pm PST 
Dogster is pro-reason. Pro-rationality.

There is nothing rational when someone is running around saying HWP is going to make all your dogs unhealthy.

~

You should use HWP if you live in an area where there are lots of mosquitoes. We live right in front of a wooded area with a lot of stagnant water so mosquitoes are crazy.

If you live in a hot dry area like Phoenix, Arizona, or a place where it is cold year-round (or drops below freezing almost every night), it's probably an unnecessary preventative.

If your dog shows side effects I would of course cease using it but considering how deadly the treatment is you shouldn't go off it unless it is simply not a risk factor in your area.

The "Interceptor" brand uses a different active ingredient than Ivermectin so if you have a herding breed you might want to consider that. I can't remember the exact name at the moment.

There are no natural remedies with any proven efficacy for HWP. There are a few natural repellents that you could use, but nothing that will kill the larvae if they get in the bloodstream.

The treatment is often deadly, usually has lasting and life-long side effects if they do survive, and requires MONTHS of crate rest which for even a middle-aged herding breed would be very, very difficult.

Much safer to have your dog on HWP than not. Don't succumb to the fear-mongering. There's a lot of that even here on Dogster. People want you to think anything "conventional" is going to kill your dog, etc, it's ridiculous.

In the dog health world you have all sorts of websites which claim to be authoritative and all they really are, is a bunch of people who are looking for a scapegoat and wanted to blame HWP/flea meds/etc/whatever. Even if all those cases could be definitely proven to be linked to HWP/flea meds/etc, they represent an absolutely microscopic number compared to the dogs who have NO problems from HWP.

Edited by author Thu May 26, '11 2:56pm PST

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Tanuk CGC

Sherpa Tanuk of- Everest
 
 
Barked: Thu May 26, '11 3:20pm PST 
Samson - Milbemycin is in Interceptor/Sentinel and Ivermectin is the other.

It's not that I'm anti-natural. It's that I've tried it and it didn't work worth a darn in my situation, not to mention there's no research saying it does, only hearsay. So, if anyone is interested in natural methods, or they genuinely work well for them, then by all means use the method you prefer. I, personally, have seen what happens to dogs who are not on heartworm prevention and cannot fathom subjecting my pet to that when the preventive is proven to be safe. I have never personally heard of a dog or cat at my practice that had a reaction to or life problems due to heartworm prevention.

Flea and tick prevention is an entirely different matter since that's not really a life or death situation.
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Samson

Work? What's- that?
 
 
Barked: Thu May 26, '11 3:28pm PST 
Samson - Milbemycin is in Interceptor/Sentinel and Ivermectin is the other.

Thanks! I knew it sounded something like that but I couldn't remember the actual drug.

It's not that I'm anti-natural. It's that I've tried it and it didn't work worth a darn in my situation, not to mention there's no research saying it does, only hearsay.

The latter is the big thing for me...there are some natural alternatives that DO work for certain things...and have actual proof...HWP is not one of those though.

I don't think anybody on Dogster is "anti-natural" despite the claims to the contrary.

Flea and tick prevention is an entirely different matter since that's not really a life or death situation.

I agree, but I lumped it in there since that is another matter in which people try and claim it is nothing short of poisoning your dog =/.
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Valentine

I has a happy.- It is for you.
 
 
Barked: Thu May 26, '11 4:10pm PST 
I have never seen ANY definitive scientific studies proving the efficacy of holistic preventatives or treatments for heartworm. My Valentine was treated for heartworm last year... It was painful, stressful, and expensive - and not something I'm willing to risk. Here, we use year-round prevention, but that's not necessary in many areas - talk with your vet about the type, dose, and timing of preventatives.

Bear in mind too, that you don't have to live in warm, humid climates to be at risk - Salt Lake City has a very high rate of infection - city officials started a neighborhood beautification program that included planting trees, which became homes for tree-boring mosquitoes that carry heartworm - after three years, SLC has a heartworm infection rate as bad as Texas.

I do explore holistic treatments for less urgent issues, but the consequences of both heartworm and the treatment of it are too great for me to risk my dog's health.
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