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Which Heartworm Preventative Is Safe For My Border Collie?

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It depends on where you live. Where I live heartworms are extremely prevalent, and I would consider any dog not on prevention here to be extremely likely to get them. Here is a link that explains some of the cons to using it and has some info to help you decide if you can only use heartworm prevention for part of the year, which is what a lot of Northerners do.

http://www.theholisticchatterbox.com/forums/topic/worm/

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Thanks, we live on the edge of a very small semi-rural town in South Carolina with about 10 miles of woods on one side of our property.

 

I checked out that link and a poster on that page did not have any good to say about heartworm meds, here is part of what was on that page:

 

(quote)

HW Pills are Immune Wreckers

 

Dr. Dodds catalogued disease coming after the heartworm monthly pills (Ivermectin or Milbemycin) that ranged from

lethargy
staggering
vomiting and diarrhea
unable to rise
all the way to

sudden death “2 days after dose”
bone marrow failure
seizures
severe ITP (immune mediated thrombocytopenia, not able to clot blood)
liver failure
IMHA and death (immune mediated hemolytic anemia, dying from immune attack on the dog’s own red blood cells)

 

It’s crystal clear to me now that these drugs pack a much more insidious wallop than just toxins. They are immune disrupters. Serious risks to your animal’s health and very existence

(end of quote)

 

......so this seems to be a dilema, heartworm is supposed to be a serious condition, but many are also saying that the meds used for heartworm can be very bad also - what are we supposed to do ?

 

 

It depends on where you live. Where I live heartworms are extremely prevalent, and I would consider any dog not on prevention here to be extremely likely to get them. Here is a link that explains some of the cons to using it and has some info to help you decide if you can only use heartworm prevention for part of the year, which is what a lot of Northerners do.

http://www.theholisticchatterbox.com/forums/topic/worm/

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I take everything i read on an internet website with a grain of salt. I would be asking my vet and fellow pet owners around me about the meds that do work well in my given area without as many of the side effects as possible. I am neither a vet or a doctor, but I have no problem going to either for more information.

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It's all about being as informed as possible and then deciding about what risks you can live with. The lady on that site is a friend of mine and she was toxically injured almost to death so has a very strong reaction to anybody taking or giving anything that is toxic. She also lives in an area where she only has to worry about heartworm exposure for a very few months at the height of summer. The take away from that article was the info about the weather/temp affecting mosquito transmission of the microfilaria. By knowing the weather where you live, you can tell when it has been warm enough, long enough that you need to worry about mosquitos transmitting heartworms and therefore you will know when you need to use prevention.

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Thanks to both of you and I truely understand that you can't always assume 100% of stuff on the web is accurate, but at least some of those owners must have had some reason for concern, right ?

 

Am I just being overly cautious ? I just care about my dog like I know y'all do and just want to do my research and be reasonably sure about stuff.

 

I take everything i read on an internet website with a grain of salt. I would be asking my vet and fellow pet owners around me about the meds that do work well in my given area without as many of the side effects as possible. I am neither a vet or a doctor, but I have no problem going to either for more information.

 

 

It's all about being as informed as possible and then deciding about what risks you can live with. The lady on that site is a friend of mine and she was toxically injured almost to death so has a very strong reaction to anybody taking or giving anything that is toxic. She also lives in an area where she only has to worry about heartworm exposure for a very few months at the height of summer. The take away from that article was the info about the weather/temp affecting mosquito transmission of the microfilaria. By knowing the weather where you live, you can tell when it has been warm enough, long enough that you need to worry about mosquitos transmitting heartworms and therefore you will know when you need to use prevention.

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I live in the deep south. One of my neighbors did not want to "poison" his dog with heartworm preventative. The dog died from heartworms.

 

Pick your poison, I suppose.

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Exactly. By the way, since I choose to use heartworm prevention on my dogs, I reduce their toxic load in other ways. I don't use chemicals around the house. I feed a natural food. I feed antioxidants so their bodies can clear out any toxins they pick up.

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I live in the deep south. One of my neighbors did not want to "poison" his dog with heartworm preventative. The dog died from heartworms.

 

Pick your poison, I suppose.

Did they never have their dog tested?! HW does not kill instantly-from what I know it can take about 3-5 years. You can choose to not put your dog on a pill and then get them tested every 6 months. But if you live in a warmer climate and don't use a flea preventative that repels mosquitoes, never get your dog tested for years, then you are just asking for HW's to kill your dog. I see a lot of dogs brought up from the south through rescue that are positive. Mostly neglected dogs that lived outside.

 

Here in NY they are not common at all. Never heard of a dog having them but the vets here will make it sound like a serious issue. Though most people don't know what HW is-most think it is an intestinal parasite and have no idea how dogs transmit it or what it does to them. I have talked to many customers who think their dog can get HW from going to the dog park.

 

I choose to use HW pills seasonally, and honestly don't even like doing that. I follow the map that was posted on Terrierman's blog a while ago. There are no mosquitoes here for most of the year. It just does not stay about 50 day and night for much of the year, so why give HW pills year round? I also have my dog tested every year (which is just for my peace of mind-I never expect it to come back positive) and use Advantix seasonally as well.

http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2008/05/billion-dollar-heartworm-scam.html

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I don't know if the neighbors tested the dog or not.

I do know that here in the south mosquitoes are present year around. I do know that shelters and rescues are full of dogss with heartworm.

I do know that if you chose to not give your dog heart worm preventative and if the dog should test positive (and it eventually will in the deep south), you will have to "poison" your dog to get rid of the heartworms. And the dose of "poison" used to get rid of the heart worms is a heck of a lot higher than a single dose of the monthly preventative.

And guess what, mosquitoe repellents are "poisons", too.

I've experiented with various home made "natural" concoctions and they don't work.

Here the mosquitoes are BAD especially after rain. So, bad that the city sprays and so bad that every year humans contract various moquitoe born diseases.

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I live near the NY border in MA. We do have a heartworm problem here. I've treated more dogs in this area than I did while living in "heartworm central" on the Mississippi River. Part of the problem is that this area is full of water where mosquitoes can reproduce. The other part of the problem is people thinking that heartworm isn't found in this area, so they don't use prevention.

 

I would personally much rather risk the monthly pills than the treatment.

 

I am curious how Dr. Dodds decided that all those medical problems occurred in association with the heartworm pills (if people are actually giving them monthly, how do you prove association?).

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I completely agree with you. I was just stating for people who do not want to dose their dogs at all, they don't have to. But they obviously run the risk of their dog getting HW and then having to treat it. Everyone has to make their own call. If I lived in the south I would definitely be dosing yearly.

 

Also, aren't many of the reactions listed on the Dr. Dodds page, also on the boxes for HW pills? I don't think mine warns against death though... <_<

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Well we live in South Carolina in a semi-rural area so I guess mosquitoes can be an almost year round concern.

 

I still haven't decided what to do yet, but from what everyone says it seems like using a HW preventative is much preferrable over not using one.

 

I guess the question then would be should I continue to use Triflexis or something else ?

 

(I already had ordered the next dose before I saw those web sites I originally posted, but from what I read on this forum I don't remember anyone having anything bad to say about Triflexis so should I give her that next does or throw it away ?)

 

Do any of you all use Triflexis or know owners who do ?

 

Someone mentioned that a dose of HW meds is usually good for 45 to 60 days even though 30 days is used simply as a means to make it easier to remember the same day each month, so would it then be ok to switch to 45 days without concern of HW happening ?

 

 

I live in the deep south. One of my neighbors did not want to "poison" his dog with heartworm preventative. The dog died from heartworms.

 

Pick your poison, I suppose.

 

 

Exactly. By the way, since I choose to use heartworm prevention on my dogs, I reduce their toxic load in other ways. I don't use chemicals around the house. I feed a natural food. I feed antioxidants so their bodies can clear out any toxins they pick up.

 

 

Did they never have their dog tested?! HW does not kill instantly-from what I know it can take about 3-5 years. You can choose to not put your dog on a pill and then get them tested every 6 months. But if you live in a warmer climate and don't use a flea preventative that repels mosquitoes, never get your dog tested for years, then you are just asking for HW's to kill your dog. I see a lot of dogs brought up from the south through rescue that are positive. Mostly neglected dogs that lived outside.

 

Here in NY they are not common at all. Never heard of a dog having them but the vets here will make it sound like a serious issue. Though most people don't know what HW is-most think it is an intestinal parasite and have no idea how dogs transmit it or what it does to them. I have talked to many customers who think their dog can get HW from going to the dog park.

 

I choose to use HW pills seasonally, and honestly don't even like doing that. I follow the map that was posted on Terrierman's blog a while ago. There are no mosquitoes here for most of the year. It just does not stay about 50 day and night for much of the year, so why give HW pills year round? I also have my dog tested every year (which is just for my peace of mind-I never expect it to come back positive) and use Advantix seasonally as well.

http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2008/05/billion-dollar-heartworm-scam.html

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I live near the NY border in MA. We do have a heartworm problem here. I've treated more dogs in this area than I did while living in "heartworm central" on the Mississippi River. Part of the problem is that this area is full of water where mosquitoes can reproduce. The other part of the problem is people thinking that heartworm isn't found in this area, so they don't use prevention.

 

I would personally much rather risk the monthly pills than the treatment.

 

I am curious how Dr. Dodds decided that all those medical problems occurred in association with the heartworm pills (if people are actually giving them monthly, how do you prove association?).

I should have been more specific since NY is so large- I am in Western NY and hardly ever see mosquitoes except during warm summer nights or near ponds. Guess I am glad for that, both for me and my dog. Do you see many HW positive dogs that live inside and are typically 'well cared for' by most standards? It always seems that dogs in rescue that are positive around here are dogs that lived outside and were in general, neglected. I have read some about the failure of some brands (many Heartgard) where dogs that were dosed yearly still came up positive. Do you see many of those cases?

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When you said "dosing yearly" did you one dose that lasts a year or dosing all year long ?

 

I completely agree with you. I was just stating for people who do not want to dose their dogs at all, they don't have to. But they obviously run the risk of their dog getting HW and then having to treat it. Everyone has to make their own call. If I lived in the south I would definitely be dosing yearly.

 

Also, aren't many of the reactions listed on the Dr. Dodds page, also on the boxes for HW pills? I don't think mine warns against death though... <_<

 

 

I completely agree with you. I was just stating for people who do not want to dose their dogs at all, they don't have to. But they obviously run the risk of their dog getting HW and then having to treat it. Everyone has to make their own call. If I lived in the south I would definitely be dosing yearly.

 

Also, aren't many of the reactions listed on the Dr. Dodds page, also on the boxes for HW pills? I don't think mine warns against death though... <_<

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I meant year round, meaning every month. Right now, I dose from June until November because I am in NY where the climate just does not support mosquitoes year round. In the south, every month of the year is what I would do if that is where I lived. I suggest reading the link I posted. HW should not be the biggest worry you have for your dog, even in the south. It isn't an automatic death sentence-if you test yearly, you will catch it early and can treat it.

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I should have been more specific since NY is so large- I am in Western NY and hardly ever see mosquitoes except during warm summer nights or near ponds. Guess I am glad for that, both for me and my dog. Do you see many HW positive dogs that live inside and are typically 'well cared for' by most standards? It always seems that dogs in rescue that are positive around here are dogs that lived outside and were in general, neglected. I have read some about the failure of some brands (many Heartgard) where dogs that were dosed yearly still came up positive. Do you see many of those cases?

 

Yes, I see cases that are well loved pets that rarely go outside. Those are the hardest to see, because the owners are so upset at themselves for forgetting a dose or two of prevention.

 

I haven't see a true prevention failure (client swears they never missed a dose) in the northeast, but I suspect that has to do with numbers (fewer months of exposure up here). I did see it when I lived in a heartworm endemic area. The companies paid for treatment as long as the owners could prove they purchased a full 12 months worth of prevention from a vet (they don't honor that guarantee if you purchase via other sources). I went to a conference where the comment was made that most of the failures were with topical products, but the suspicion was that it was a client problem (failure to apply the entire vial) in most cases.

 

BTW, the worst problem I have seen to date from spinosad is self limiting vomiting. I do use a private label version of Trifexis on my dogs. When it wasn't available I was using a product with the same active ingredients as HG+.

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Down here we were seeing cases where long time multi dog, experienced owners were having dogs come up positive that were on Heartgard, to the point that many vets down here quit using Heartgard for many years, until Novartis stopped production of Sentinel and Interceptor for a while. Now they are all carrying Heartgard again.

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You said "I do use a private label version of Trifexis on my dogs." - is there any difference between a "private label" and any other Triflexis ?

 

Yes, I see cases that are well loved pets that rarely go outside. Those are the hardest to see, because the owners are so upset at themselves for forgetting a dose or two of prevention.

 

I haven't see a true prevention failure (client swears they never missed a dose) in the northeast, but I suspect that has to do with numbers (fewer months of exposure up here). I did see it when I lived in a heartworm endemic area. The companies paid for treatment as long as the owners could prove they purchased a full 12 months worth of prevention from a vet (they don't honor that guarantee if you purchase via other sources). I went to a conference where the comment was made that most of the failures were with topical products, but the suspicion was that it was a client problem (failure to apply the entire vial) in most cases.

 

BTW, the worst problem I have seen to date from spinosad is self limiting vomiting. I do use a private label version of Trifexis on my dogs. When it wasn't available I was using a product with the same active ingredients as HG+.

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Thanks, but wouldn't the preventative be better based on what some have said that the dose to cure would be nuch higher and potentally more toxic ?

 

I meant year round, meaning every month. Right now, I dose from June until November because I am in NY where the climate just does not support mosquitoes year round. In the south, every month of the year is what I would do if that is where I lived. I suggest reading the link I posted. HW should not be the biggest worry you have for your dog, even in the south. It isn't an automatic death sentence-if you test yearly, you will catch it early and can treat it.

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You did not mention Triflexis, how popular is Triflexis compared to other options ?

 

Our vet recommended Triflexis that is why we started using it, and even though some things I read on the web recently gave me some concerns, what people are saying on this forum are making me feel like using Triflexis is ok.

 

 

Down here we were seeing cases where long time multi dog, experienced owners were having dogs come up positive that were on Heartgard, to the point that many vets down here quit using Heartgard for many years, until Novartis stopped production of Sentinel and Interceptor for a while. Now they are all carrying Heartgard again.

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I know many people using Trifexis on their dogs. They are very happy with it and their dogs have had no issues with it.

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Thanks for the input !

 

It would be interesting to see if there is a study that can show that most dogs have no serious side effects even after years of use because I was concerned about reading where owners said they did not have any problems till after their dog was on it for a while, but the thing is how can we be sure if it is the Triflexis or not without an actual study ?

 

I just did some more searching online and here are some more things to consider -

 

 

I found a dog forum where there were owners that had concerns about Triflexis and/or Comfertis -

 

http://www.shibainuforum.org/forum/discussion/7900/to-try-trifexis-or-not-that-is-my-question-/p1

 

below are just a few quotes from the above link:

 

(start of quotes)

 

Yesterday, around 4/5ish in the evening Merritt took his Trifexis (he's gotten this in the past and the dose is appropriate). Around 9:30PM Merritt began acting very bizarre.

 

All his vital signs, CBC and chem panel were were within normal limits. With the exception of his ALT, this liver enzyme was almost double. Merritt was given a dose of charcoal, which he managed to get all over himself and both the vet techs (acting more like his lively self).

He has never acted like this with past doses. The vet said it could be side effect from medication and that she has seen dogs come in super doped up from it, but it mainly causes GI upset (which he had none).

Has anyone had a similar experience - with Trifexis? From anything else?

 

There have been other forum members who have reported problems with Trifexis/Comfortis. This anecdote is embedded in an intro thread, but we had a little discussion you may find useful:

http://www.shibainuforum.org/forum/discussion/9132/greetings-from-yoshi

I would also point you to this old post on the vet blog Fully Vetted, specifically the comments, where many people have reported side effects:

http://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2008/march/comfortis-flea-killing-wonder-drug-and-general-state-flea-drug-resistance#.TwfVqCP6NCY

(end of quotes)

 

I know many people using Trifexis on their dogs. They are very happy with it and their dogs have had no issues with it.

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Thanks, but wouldn't the preventative be better based on what some have said that the dose to cure would be nuch higher and potentally more toxic ?

 

I am not sure what you are asking. HW pills are not a preventative, they are a treatment. That is part of why many people take issue with giving it or giving it year round. You are treating for something that tr dog can't get (in the winter months here there are no mosquitoes ). In the south your temps are higher, this is why many people give a pill monthly for the whole year or most of the year. What are you referring to about doses being higher or more toxic?

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Gary I think you need to stop looking for problems where there are not any. Many people have dogs killed from choking on kibble or from toxic commercial dog food. You can find stories online to comfirm any concern you have about anything. It doesn't mean it will happen to your dog. Any medication can cause side effects, millions of dogs take HW pills and do just fine on them. Dont go looking for sad stories just to freak yourself out. I think your dog is more likely to be struck by lightening than die from the HW pills you give her. Did you read the link I posted and all the comments on Terriermans blog? No drug is 100% effective or safe- just decide on a brand you like and go with it. Every time I see a house fire on the news I start to worry that my house will burn down. Sometimes you need to just turn the news off and turn google off. :)

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I don['t know about other areas of the country but I do know that Kansas City and south are all high danger areas for heartworm. I wouldn't take the risk of not having my dogs on heartworm preventative. The whole southeast is high risk.

 

I did read something interesting about first hand reports of problems with heartworm meds - sometimes the competitors put those stories out. You really need to check with your vet and find out what the safest thing to do is. And they will also be aware of problems.

 

When my dog was having problems with her auto immune disease my vet had her on Revolution because it wasn't as stong as some of the others.

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