Many people email asking about heartworm prevention-and the best form of it to use. Depending on your dog and where you live you will have a few things to weigh out before making a decision. We'll do our best to give you the info and some links to check out for you to make the best choices you can.
The one thing we can emphatically say is NEVER get a PROHEART SHOT! It can prove to be deadly. If your vet wants to give your pet this shot---you should change vets! If they insist it's safe, still StiCK to YOUR GUNS AND SAY NO!!!! Again you are in charge of your pet. So many people write and say they are sorry they didn't stand up to their vets. All you need to do is research online about PROHEART and it will tell you all you need to know and why you need to stay away from this! Stick with oral meds! Vets may take risks… it's not their pet. They can't be sued… they might want to risk your pets life and take a chance but do you?
Another to avoid is TRIFEXIS. If you vet pushes it, just say NO and find another vet! Read this: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/the-heartworm-medication-trifexis-is-causing-dog-deaths/?inf_contact_key=24f1e97adfbf6b68682d2f1099aab94dc5bab938b91546cba1f32be6260b51c8 Note: May also be called and dispensed as 'Panoramis'. Exact same active ingredients as Trifexis but sourced Internationally.
Several friends who are veterinarians (holistic & conventional) have told us "off the record" that most heartworm medication may work for close to 3 months, not 1 month. However people are told to give 'monthly' to keep them on a 'schedule' and also I'm guessing to make money for the companies that make and sell these products. What I have personally chosen to do is (based on my vet friends suggestions) is give my dogs their heartworm meds every 2 months without stopping. If you live in a low risk area where you only need to worry about mosquitos during summer months and have very cold winters you may even consider not giving through the winter months (Dec-Jan-Feb).
Because of doing this, I no longer get a yearly check up for heartworm. Nor do I do yearly vaccines after reading all the studies. Only thing I do every 3 yrs is the Rabies vaccine that is required by law. But we do not put this to tell you what to do- this is my personal choice. What we recommend at CanineCare is that you read everything, research on the web and then make an informative decision.
As to types of Heartworm, most of the usual popular ORAL brands are fine, such as HEARTGUARD, IVERHEART etc.. but we at canine care really like a 2 products from Australia, that you now can get in the USA. We were 1st told about this from a holistic vet. She said this product does not contain any other chemicals or additives, it's just plain old "IVERMECTIN" without all the other unnecessary toxins.
All other 'name brands' do have chemicals and additives that are always best to avoid if possible. I've cross referenced it with several of veterinarian friends and they agree it's a good product. They are called VALUHEART and NUHEART and it can be found now online through several websites.
Some collie, terriers, Shetland sheepdogs, Australian shepherds, and Old English sheepdogs breeds/mixes may have problems with Ivermectin due to a mutant gene. Not every individual dog from these breeds is sensitive to ivermectin. There is now a test available to check this. It's recommended that speak with your veterinarian prior to starting your animal on heartworm prevention. For dogs with these issues your vet will recommend other heartworm preventatives that are ivermectin free.
This mutant gene may also give adverse reactions to other medications: Imodium Doxorubicin Vincristine Vinblastine Cyclosporin Digoxin Acepromazine Butorphanol
Other studies have shown that this mutant gene has the potential to act in over 50 different drugs and may include: Ondansetron Domperidone Paclitaxel Mitoxantrone Etoposide Rifampicin Quinidine Morphine
Please read this article courtesy of PET CONSUMER REPORT The Heartworm Hype This article is from Pet Consumer Report - http://www.petconsumerreport.com/freeissue/heartworm.htm
Please note that this article is meant as an alternative to traditional thinking and animal care. As always, please discuss any changes in your dog's medical care with your veterinarian.
If your dog or cat is on a daily or monthly heartworm preventative, or your vet has tried to sell you one, read this. For years consumers have been mislead on the subject of heartworm. Here are the facts. Most veterinarians will have you believe that giving a daily or monthly pill to prevent heartworm is safer than the treatment to cure it. Once again, the veterinarians may not have the right answer here. Let's look at the bottom line:
1: The majority of these preventatives kill the heartworms before they mature. So every day or every month you give your animal that pill, you are actually administering the cure for heartworm, you're not really preventing it
2: The cure for heartworm is not safe, it has toxic consequences
3: These "preventative" products are just that, cures
4: Sure, the dosage is much smaller when given in a preventative dose. But when you give it to your pet month after month, this is where the toxic effects become a serious health risk. And they expect us to believe this is safer? Heartworm prevention treatments are a chemical insecticide, no matter what brand or what type. The chemicals alone are enough to potentially cause disease. Here is how:
These pills beat up your pet's immune system
Your pets system recognizes the chemicals as a foreign toxic substance
The system then works harder to eliminate the toxins
The major organs (such as liver and kidney) become strained unnecessarily
The system becomes run down, suppressing the immune response
When a real disease or virus enters the animal's body, it can not fight it off and the animal is consumed by sickness
Side Effects The chemicals used in most of these heartworm preventatives can cause serious side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and convulsions even in the healthiest animals. It is not uncommon for pet owners to rush into vet offices confused about what is wrong with their pet. Here is the irony, when the vets see these symptoms, they usually want to start your pet on a heartworm "preventative" medication thinking the symptoms may be heartworm, and they want to take precautions.
Thankfully, a portion of the veterinary industry has acknowledged these dangers. Known as "alternative vets" they are open to re-examining treatments for the safest and most effective "alternative." Some actually recommend not giving your pet the chemical heartworm preventatives. And many of those alternative veterinarians believe that long term use of heartworm prevention is a link in the chain of diseases such as skin allergies, arthritis, liver and kidney diseases and many types of cancers.
If your pet is on a heartworm preventative, the mosquito's will still bite them. True prevention would mean you have to get to the source of the problem, the biting mosquito.
1. Stock up on an all natural insect repellant spray (citronella works great).
2. Spray your animal before going into mosquito territory. This will keep the mosquito's away.
3. Put your pet on either Wormwood or Black Walnut (liquid or capsules). Note:We like the liquid because it is so easy just to put a few drops right down the back of your pet's throat. These herbs not only keep the mosquito's away, but they also kill any worms or parasites that enter the body. So if a mosquito carrying heartworm does decide to bite your pet, the worms will die before ever reaching the heart. Find these herbs at any health food store or vitamin shop in your area. Ask them for dosages and frequency for your specific pet.
Here are guidelines for dosages - but check with your vet or health store for dosages:
The dosing for dogs: (as a preventative only)
up to 10# - 1/2 capsule three times a week
20-40# - 1 capsule three times a week
41-60 # - 1 1/2 capsules three times a week
60# and over give 2 capsules three times a week
The recommendations above are for a 250mg capsule. For liquid preparations = 10-15 drops usually is equivalent to 1 - 250mg capsule. The above schedule can be administered during mosquito season, and in areas where there is a high incidence of heartworm.
We continue to remind you, don't get caught up in the hype. As you can see there is always a healthier choice to chemicals that can work. However, if heartworm is prevalent in your area, you should consider contacting an alternative veterinarian for additional natural support.
Pet Consumer Report promotes an insecticide-free philosophy. The evidence is overwhelming to us. As always, we encourage you to make your own decision. Perhaps you will look into this more on your own. Natural prevention can be accomplished quite easily and inexpensively.