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How important/necessary is a heartworm or flea, tick, or parasite medication? Does it depend on where you live? Or should all dogs have it?
 

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In my area it's a must, especially since her have "skeeters" as my little cousin calls them which cause heart worm.
 

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i was told by my vet that if the flea / tick medication also repels "skeeters" then heartworm medication is overkill.
 

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i was told by my vet that if the flea / tick medication also repels "skeeters" then heartworm medication is overkill.
Sorry, but your vet couldn't be more wrong.

Heartworm preventative is the MOST important out of the two medications. We don't do flea/tick stuff but not medicating for HW is like basically gambling with your puppy's life. It is imperative if you live somewhere mosquitos live, your dog be on HW preventative. I think not having your dog on the preventative is basically as bad as hitting it or abusing it.

Flea/Tick depends where you live. Where we are it is really dry and our dogs our outside every day and we've never seen a single flea (knock on wood) so I have the medication if I need to treat for it, but we don't use it monthly.
 

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Sorry, but your vet couldn't be more wrong.

Heartworm preventative is the MOST important out of the two medications. We don't do flea/tick stuff but not medicating for HW is like basically gambling with your puppy's life. It is imperative if you live somewhere mosquitos live, your dog be on HW preventative. I think not having your dog on the preventative is basically as bad as hitting it or abusing it.

Flea/Tick depends where you live. Where we are it is really dry and our dogs our outside every day and we've never seen a single flea (knock on wood) so I have the medication if I need to treat for it, but we don't use it monthly.
Well my vet is the director for vet services for the SPCA in san francisco, and has been practicing for over 30 years. I also asked the vets at UC berkley about this and they also agreed with my regular vet. since heartworms are transmitted via skeeters it would make sense that if you use a flea / tick medication that also protects against skeeters you are also protecting your dog against heartworms. Stastically your dog is more likely to be exposed to fleas and ticks than they are to heartworm. I'm going to go with the recommendation of professional vs. someone on a forum
 

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I also would never skip offering my girls heartworm medication. They get it now every 45 days.
Flea and tick medication, for me, is too harsh/too strong a toxin for my little ones so we pass on that.
 

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Well my vet is the director for vet services for the SPCA in san francisco, and has been practicing for over 30 years. I also asked the vets at UC berkley about this and they also agreed with my regular vet. since heartworms are transmitted via skeeters it would make sense that if you use a flea / tick medication that also protects against skeeters you are also protecting your dog against heartworms. Stastically your dog is more likely to be exposed to fleas and ticks than they are to heartworm. I'm going to go with the recommendation of professional vs. someone on a forum
The general consensus among "educated professionals" basically says your vet is an idiot then. I would look into it, your dog could die because of your vet's negligence.
 

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Heartworm is a killer. I am all for naturalistic and holistic care for our dogs and I don't do the topical flea preventatives at all. But I do believe that protecting our dogs from heartworm is necessary and responsible. I do the medication every 45 days.

Heartworms infect, depending on the temperature. They grow inside mosquitos. There is a very high incidence of death in small dogs infected as their hearts can clog with just ONE worm. I don't take the risk.

Here's a map of the US with the incidence/prevalence of heartworms by states. If you are in a state that has infected mosquitos, then I believe you should be using the medication.

http://www.heartwormsociety.org/download/Incidence-Map-2010.pdf
 

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Well my vet is the director for vet services for the SPCA in san francisco, and has been practicing for over 30 years. I also asked the vets at UC berkley about this and they also agreed with my regular vet. since heartworms are transmitted via skeeters it would make sense that if you use a flea / tick medication that also protects against skeeters you are also protecting your dog against heartworms. Stastically your dog is more likely to be exposed to fleas and ticks than they are to heartworm. I'm going to go with the recommendation of professional vs. someone on a forum
Perhaps you might read this article, published in the San Francisco newspaper about the growing incidence of heartworm in YOUR CITY. It is a REAL THREAT. It is your choice, but you should be making an informed choice based on data, not on the recommendations of a particular vet, whose information, it would appear, is not current.

Is heartworm on the rise? : Tails Of The City

You might also want to research into topical flea and tick medications and their adverse effects. There have been many illnesses and deaths directly correlated with these topical products.
 

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I think people are misunderstanding what I'm saying. I not imply that HW medication is not necessary. I'm simply stating that (based on the dozen or so professional options that I have personnally recieved) if you are using a flea / tick medication that also repels skeeters than HW medication may not be necessary. I would encourage anyone to do their own research as I have done and listen to the differing options and make up your own mind. You should also look at the source of your information (i.e. are the vets / clincs going to be making money from the medication that they recommend). Looking at the attachment in the post from brodymom, I can't help but notice that it's from the American Heatworm Society and I'm sure they have a vested interest in HW medication (considering that all the companies listed at the bottom are drug or chemical manufacturers).

If I did not use flea / tick medication that also repels skeeters then I would definately use a HW medication. If you are already using a medication that repels the vector then that in itself is a form of preventive medicine. I've also done my own research for flea / tick medication, and I'm involved in a class action law suit against one manufacturer that i was using at one point.
 

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Well, consider that if you are using a topical product that repels fleas and ticks as well as mosquitos you are using something that is driving away the insects. Kind of like you using something like Off while outside. How many times have you used Off and still gotten a bite or two somewhere on your body where you forgot to spray? Or the spray wore off? Probably once or twice at least.

Same thing. Only on you it was no big deal. You got an itchy bug bite for a day or two but your dog could be bitten by a mosquito that is carrying heartworm larvae.

In my opinion hearworms are so dangerous to small dogs and so easy to prevent (an easy to give, chewable, pill every 45 days) why take the risk? I know we are all concerned with the amount of chemicals that we put into our bodies and into our pets but would you rather give this small amount of meds monthly or have to treat for heartworms later (a much larger amount of insecticide injected into their bodies that could kill them)? I know what I chose.
 

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I do not use heartworm with my dogs because my vets have never seen a case of heartworm in a dog that lives in my area. (I am so lucky, I live in one of the white ares in the map posted) But we do get a ton of fleas and some ticks here. I only use the flea medicine if the dogs have fleas, it's usually once at the beginning of the summer and then they are good the rest of the year. My cats usually are the ones that bring them in.
 

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I don't use HW medication either, being in So Cal it is so dry here there just aren't many Skeeters. Honestly, i don't think i have ever been bitten by skeeter in all the years i've lived in Los Angeles. I am also in the white area on the attached map.
 

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Raise your hand if you've ever been bit by a mosquito while wearing bug spray...**raises hand**.

Your dog still can very easily get bitten by an infected mosquito and develop heartworm. That is why it is important to treat for heartworm, not just "repel" mosquitoes. To me it sounds like you are gambling with your dog's life, because heartworm is a killer. It only takes one single bite, and your pup is a goner.
 

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I use heartworm meds and I'm really prudent about giving mine meds in general. I don't treat for fleas, but I do use heartworm meds. The risk is definitely not worth it.
 

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thank you svdreamer and tanna, i knew i could not be the only person here that doesn't use HW medication. FWIW, I do have my dogs checked for HW on a regular basis I just don't subject them to the regular HW medication regiment.

Brodysmom - I actually saw that article already and it doesn't make sense with the included chart. The city of SF is in the 1 - 5 incidents/ clinc, which is the second lowest. North of the city has a higher rate of incidents, which makes sense if you know this area.

I've already done my research on this topic for my area and I'm going with the professional "idiots" opinions seeing as they actually service this area and provide treatment. I'm pretty sure that vets at the SPCA, UC Davis (I mispoke when i stated Berkley) and the clincs in the East Bay that I talked to have a little more information than out of state forum members.
 

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thank you svdreamer and tanna, i knew i could not be the only person here that doesn't use HW medication. FWIW, I do have my dogs checked for HW on a regular basis I just don't subject them to the regular HW medication regiment.

Brodysmom - I actually saw that article already and it doesn't make sense with the included chart. The city of SF is in the 1 - 5 incidents/ clinc, which is the second lowest. North of the city has a higher rate of incidents, which makes sense if you know this area.

I've already done my research on this topic for my area and I'm going with the professional "idiots" opinions seeing as they actually service this area and provide treatment. I'm pretty sure that vets at the SPCA, UC Davis (I mispoke when i stated Berkley) and the clincs in the East Bay that I talked to have a little more information than out of state forum members.
You should ask your vet what you should feed your dogs too while you're at it...they will tell you to feed it Science Diet...which is made from SAWDUST and rotten meat of dead dogs and cats. It even contains traces of pentobarbitol (euthanasia drug), just for good health!
 

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I'd really welcome the opportunity to read more about this. I have honestly searched and searched (since this post got my interest!) and I cannot find any documentation, white papers, etc. that would give me background/rationale to read and decide. If you know of any or have links to them, I'd really love to read/learn more for myself.

Yeah, my vet group boasts serving the Kansas City area for over 65 years with a combined years of practice and teaching of over 240 years and there are things that I, in my educated, yet VERY limited experience know FAR more than they.
Nutrition for my girls is chief among them. My vet is now the first to admit that. They have never even heard of the last 4-5 things that I fed the girls nor had even pondered the reasons why.
 

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In my opinion you should treat with HW meds about every 45 days. Mosquito repellent is great, but if just one infected mosquito bites your pup then it can become infected, which isn't worth the risk. No repellent is 100% fool proof. Having regular HW tests, unless done every 2 months will only alert you when the problem is far advanced. HW meds are a safety precaution that can save your pups life. : ) Of course the final decision is always left to the owner of the pup.
 

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You should ask your vet what you should feed your dogs too while you're at it...they will tell you to feed it Science Diet...which is made from SAWDUST and rotten meat of dead dogs and cats. It even contains traces of pentobarbitol (euthanasia drug), just for good health!
Wow, so that's your level of maturity flippedstar. I actually listen to differing opinions, do independent research, apply logic and form my own opinions. i don't take the advice of ranting closed minded "idiots" who fail to recognize credible sources. way to make new members feel welcome flippedstar, i hope the some of the older forum members are a little more open to varying ideas / opinions.
 
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