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Heartgard Opinions

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Not sure if this would be better served in Health and Genetics regarding heartworm preventatives.  I did a search and found much information from years ago on this subject, but not much recently.  My vet is really pushing for me to put the 4-5 month old puppies on Heartgard....not so much for the heartworm, but for the parasite / worm control.  I live in Western Pa -- not a big heartworm area.   I am more concerned when I read of border collies having seizures following the use of ivermectin.  Would like opinions on the use of Heartgard and what age to start.  My vet says it is safe for all herding breeds (that's a quote), but I have to wonder if that information is coming from the pharmaceutical companies.  Thank you.

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This is from https://vcpl.vetmed.wsu.edu/faqs

Q: What heartworm prevention products can I use if my dog has the MDR1 mutation?

A: All heartworm products labeled for dogs in the U.S. have been tested in dogs with the MDR1 mutation as required by the FDA and have been found to be safe. However, some of the combination flea+heartworm preventive products (those containing spinosad) should be used cautiously in dogs that are MDR1 mutant/normal because of a risk of serious drug-drug interactions.

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I saw a table a couple of years ago that listed the breeds sensitive to ivermectin. IIRC, about 5% of border collies are sensitive (as compared to about 50% Australian Shepherds, and even higher percentage for Lassie-type collies).

If you are really worried, you could have your pups tested for the mdr1 mutation.

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I had bc mix tested for MDR1 (via Embark to find out her breed and other health stuff), it's easy enough and if you just want MDR1 tested it runs about 50 or so. Also if you are in contact with the breeder it may be that the parents of your pups were tested and you don't even need to test. 

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22 hours ago, beachdogz said:

I am more concerned when I read of border collies having seizures following the use of ivermectin.

Were these cases where the dogs were given ivermectin in heartgard pills or livestock dewormer (liquid ivermectin)?  Heartgard has safe doses of ivermectin for each weight range; livestock dewormer requires the owner to administer the correct dose for the dog’s weight.  Overdosing ivermectin can cause seizures in any dog.

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Hi,

     I'm old school and even though both my Borders are MDR1 neg/neg  I still won't give them Ivermectin.  "White feet, don't treat" is the old saying :) so I give Interceptor (milbemycin oxime) it is getting harder to find but you can still locate it online.  It also prevents Whipworm infections (unlike Heartgard.)  Like you, my concern is more for the intestinal parasites rather than heartworm disease.  I'm not fond of Sentinel either since it has Lufenuron added to it and I'd rather use an adulticide for flea control than give my dogs insect growth regulators. 

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Thank you all for your information.  I gave Interceptor years ago to my German Shepherd Dogs.  So is Interceptor considered safe for Collies since it is not Ivermectin? 

 

On 11/12/2019 at 3:17 PM, Mark Billadeau said:

A: All heartworm products labeled for dogs in the U.S. have been tested in dogs with the MDR1 mutation as required by the FDA and have been found to be safe. However, some of the combination flea+heartworm preventive products (those containing spinosad) should be used cautiously in dogs that are MDR1 mutant/normal because of a risk of serious drug-drug interactions.

Re the flea + heartworm - a friend of mine just recently gave Heartgard and Nexgard (flea preventative) together to her dog on her vet's advice, and her dog became very ill. 

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1 hour ago, beachdogz said:

So is Interceptor considered safe for Collies since it is not Ivermectin?

All heartworm meds are in the same class of drugs, macrocyclic lactones (https://www.merckvetmanual.com/pharmacology/anthelmintics/macrocyclic-lactones), and can cause the same adverse reactions when given at too high a dose.  All heartworm meds are safe when given at the recommended dose for heartworm prevention (even for dogs with two copies of the   Mdr1 mutation).

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For what it’s worth we have been using livestock dewormer (ivermectin) for heartworm preventative on for over 15years (over 15 different dogs) without adverse reactions.  We ensure the doses are 2x-3x the effective minimum dose.

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15 hours ago, beachdogz said:

Thank you all for your information.  I gave Interceptor years ago to my German Shepherd Dogs.  So is Interceptor considered safe for Collies since it is not Ivermectin? 

 

Re the flea + heartworm - a friend of mine just recently gave Heartgard and Nexgard (flea preventative) together to her dog on her vet's advice, and her dog became very ill. 

I am not surprised to hear that there could be an adverse reaction if both toxic chemicals are given at the same time (if I am understanding your post correctly). I try to give one treatment around the first of the month, and the other chemical treatment in the middle of the month to avoid overloading the dog's system. Works for me.

I also use livestock ivermectin for heartworm, and use Vectra 3D for ticks/fleas.

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