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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Our boy was not a puppy when we got him and while we spoiled him like crazy and cared for him with all we had, we did not know a lot of things we know now with the girls.

We did not give him heartworm meds nor flea and tick medication. Can you share the whys, why nots, timing, etc. for me, please?
 

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Here's my own philosophy.

Flea and tick topical solutions are insecticides. They are a neurotoxin. They are absorbed through the skin and come with a whole packet full of warnings about how you shouldn't touch the drops nor get them anywhere on your skin. (Yet we are putting it on our tiny 5 pound dogs?) Ugh. I would not use them. If I noticed a flea infestation, I would soak Brody in dawn dishwashing liquid suds for 5 minutes (it kills fleas), and then flea comb him. That would take care of the fleas on him. Then spray your yard, vacuum your house and car (if the dogs have been in the car), wash the pet bedding. I might use a flea spray in the house around baseboards if it was a horrible infestation.

In the rare case that we were over run with fleas, I would use a one time dose of Capstar from the vet. It's what the humane societies use and is relatively safe. For me, it would certainly be the lesser of the evils. I don't trust the topical drops and wouldn't use/recommend them.

For heartworms......

I use Heartguard Plus every 45 days. And only in the hot summer months. In Kansas, I start in June and go through November or after we have a couple of hard frosts and the temps are getting cool. Heartworms can only grow in certain conditions, although the vets and their pharmaceutical reps will talk this down. Heartworms can only grow in a mosquito when the temperature is over 57 degrees consistently, day and night, for 2 weeks. So if you have a week of 80 degree days and 60 degree nights and then one night it gets cold and drops to 45, the heartworm growth cycle is interrupted and they have to start over in the mosquito. The mosquito has to be female. It has to have bitten an infected dog, etc. There are a ton of circumstances that must be just right for the mosquito to become a heartworm carrier.

Those scary looking hearts riddled with worms that you see in jars at the vets? They are provided by the vendors to vets free of charge and collected from sick, homeless strays in Mexico. (Straight from the mouth of a heartguard rep).

The biggest propaganda about heartworms??? They call them a PREVENTATIVE. Well, they don't prevent ANYTHING. They kill heartworms in a dog that is infected. If the dog is NOT infected, they don't do anything. You are killing heartworms AFTER they have been acquired.

Why do they say to give it every 30 days? Because that's what most people will remember. Studies show that heartworm meds are effective against dogs infected for 2 months. So you could give it every 60 days and be fine. That dose every 60 days would kill the micro larvae before they grow to the heart clogging worm stage. I give it every 45 days (write it on my calendar) just as a compromise between the 30 and 60 day window.

here's a couple links on heartworms -

Unknown Facts about Dog Heartworms

http://www.blakkatz.com/spellcast/HW.pdf

- Terrierman's Daily Dose -

My advice? Read the links. Look up other articles. Make up your own mind as to what you are comfortable with. Do you live in a super hot, humid climate where just about every dog that is picked up by animal control is heartworm positive? Does your dog live outside all the time? Or is it outside just to potty and then back in. Then factor your circumstances into your decision. Don't let anyone bully you into thinking their way. Do the research for yourself. Make up your mind and do what is right for you and your dog. :)
 

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I give my two Iverheart Plus once a month, the small dog formula. I know a lot of people don't agree with giving it because it is such a broad weight range, up to 25lbs. but I have yet to have a bad reaction out of either of them.

Mosquitoes breed like crazy here and heartworm is a real threat all year long.

I don't treat for fleas or ticks, I haven't had any problems. Every now and then I give them a flea shampoo, the repellent kind, if I plan to be out with them for anything out of the ordinary but i'm not sure how well that works anyway.
 

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Oh and I wanted to reinforce what Brodysmom said - I was instructed to give mine the heartworm preventative every 30 days but as I forget often, I set myself a reminder and it usually comes out to be every 6 weeks, give or take. Last time I took Gretel to the vet I explained how I was late and they told me the same thing she just did, how it's effective longer than the package reads and as long as I was in the 2 month window I was safe.

As I live in SE Texas what she said about the worm cycle is completely right, if it's cold it starts all over, that is why I had no idea about heartworm preventative when I lived in Idaho - too dang frigid all the time.

To get heartworms there are quite a few hoops to jump through, but my OH's parents have two JRT that got them last year so bad they both almost died and it cost over $4,000 to fix them both, it was a long painful process for them and the owners and i'd rather be safe than sorry.
 

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I give interceptor heart worm Meds about every 6 weeks as well(I forget sometimes). I have to trick them into taking it.I have used Frontline on the dogs in the summer but 2 years ago Oreo had a reaction to it and I refuse to use anything now. It's just not worth the risk.
 

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I use heartworm meds every 45 days on all my dogs from April through December-ish. They also all get Frontline Plus every 45 days from April through November-ish. We are out and about a lot, go to the park where they run and play in tall grasses and run through woods, go to the agility field and play and practice, as well as run around in the backyard all the time. I can't flea comb the border collies and don't want to deal with a flea infestation so everyone gets treated.
 

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We use Interceptor every 45 days. I would write an Essay, but I agree 100% with Tracy. I don't treat for fleas/ticks. The only time I have is when we go visit my folks in muggy humid New Hampshire were fleas are rampant. Otherwise, I would rather deal with it if it becomes an issue than poison my dogs.
 

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i use advantage for fleas this can go on animals as young as 2 days old and is the safest the vets sell , we have high heart worm rates in Australia so once my dogs are old enough i get them the yearly injection .
 

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Here's part of a quote from a fascinating article on heartworm, reinforcing what Tracy said:

"Heartworm infection is NOT rapid and will not kill your dog overnight.
It takes about three months for microfilaria (baby worms) to grow inside your dog to a larval stage, and even longer for these larva to mature into adult heartworms. If your dog is dosed with a simple Ivermectin treatment at any time during this period before adult worms are present (a period that lasts about three months long), the larvae will never develop into adult worms, and will die. Read that statement again: a single dose of Ivermectin will stop heartworm dead up to 3 months after your dog is first infected.

3 In most of the country, only seasonal heatworm "prevention" is needed. The short story here is that heartworm is a kind of nematode (dirofilaria immitis) spread by mosquitoes (and only by mosquitoes). The lifecycle of the nematode involves six stages, and a dog can get infected with heartworm only if two of these stages are fully completed inside the body of the mosquito, and those stages can only be completed inside the body of the mosquito if the temperature stays above 57 degrees for at least 45 days straight, both day and night. If the temperature drops below 57 degrees even once during that 45-day period, the lifecycle of the nematode is broken, and heartworm cannot be transmitted to your dog. What this means, in simple terms, is that a year-round program of Heartgard (sometimes spelled 'Heartguard") or some other "preventative" medicine is NOT needed in most of the country outside of Florida, the Rio Grande Valley of Texas."


There's more, but this gives you an idea. There's also a map accompanying this article, to give a sense of when to start and stop the treatment depending on where you live and the temperature fluctuations. My dogs are treated for heartworm 6 months out of the year, on a 45 day schedule. That will keep them safe.

Also I don't treat for fleas. Our garden is flea-free. I'm grateful that I've never had a flea issue where I live, and I'm careful where I take them during the summer months. I'm not sure what I'd do if I found out my dogs had fleas....but whatever it was, it would be the least aggressive treatment possible with as few chemicals as possible.
 

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For us...we live in an area that is peppered with fleas & ticks (we're in the woods of Maine). I usually dose the Chi's with Frontline in the spring & then not again unless we see any fleas there after. Last fall is the only time I had to really redose because Mari had a little infestation going on. In that case I flea bathe, flea comb, wash all the beds/blankets, vaccuum like mad daily, do a need spray & give everyone another dose of Frontline. Hopefully we won't have to go through that again. But we have many friends & family members (some next door) who's homes have been infested for long periods because the fleas are just so bad. I don't want to chance a flea ridden home. **shudder**

For heartworm we use Heartgard Plus every other month in the warmer months (May-September).
 

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you guys are so lucky to not have to use anything most of the time , fleas and heart worm are such a big thing here :( , i have seen so many baby animals pass away because of flea infestations :( i not long ago had a rescue kitten in the vet for 3 days because of the not being treated before he came to me ,he was so sick :( , out of all the dogs i have seen get heart worm only 1 survived :( and it was a bigger bull breed , very sad .
 

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Once your dog has lived through a bout of tick-borne disease, it's hard to forego the Frontline. That having been said, in spite of using Frontline faithfully, we almost lost Kali to anaplasmosis last spring. I'm picking up some K9 Advantix tomorrow, because we Frontlined her on the 7th and she had a tick on her this week - in April, in Wisconsin. Dary was terribly allergic to all the tick meds, so I just gave him garlic in the tick season and hoped for the best (oddly, you'd think he'd be the one to get TBD; seems that's the only thing he didn't get). Especially in your moderate climate, I would do year-round HW prevention and test annually as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
SO much to read and consider. Thanks so much-as always, you are all a WEALTH of information!

We went for a walk a few days ago and husband insisted that they "wanted" to go through a walking trail in our neighborhood. Went through the woods a bit. On the walk home, I noticed something on Hope's light fur. It was on her leg. A TICK!! It was walking, not attached but it is April and still cool here.

Thanks again for the links and details. I will study up!
 

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I use Revolution on my 4 pounder once a month. Its prescription only and costs less than $20 a month if I buy 6 mos I get one free. It's a heartworm, flea, parasite topical med. Make sure they give you the puppy strength. My Lulu has not had any issues with it at all.
 
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