Heartworm meds
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  • B

    I was looking for advice regarding the heartworm medication, I have heard bad things about it and was wondering what you more experienced basenji owners have done?

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  • I have always had my Basenjis on HW meds for their entire lives. I use Heartguard. All dogs should be on Heartworm, IMO…. and while it is not been a huge problem in No. California, I will not take a chance. Again IMO

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  • B

    What age did you start them? Dexi is 10weeks old.

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  • I believe you can start as early as 6wks? But I start mine around 8wks

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  • My vet gave a puppy sample heartworm pill to my pups on each of their visits for shots, then once they had their rabies shot at 16 week, the next month I had them on my heartguards.

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  • When you start depends on where you live. In southern Ontario we usually start heartworm meds (I use Heartguard) in June, and continue until November. There is no reason to medicate in winter when there are no mosquitoes. With the unusual weather we are having this year, the mosquitoes may show up earlier, so perhaps I will begin in May. It's necessary to do a heartworm test before beginning the medication.

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  • We already have mosquitos and ticks in Missouri and have had for about a month, too mild a winter.

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  • D

    The way the weather has been around the country-much warmer than usual, will need to start the hw medication earlier than normal for the puppies especially in the northern part of the country! In OH we are going to have 60-70 degree temperatures during the day and upper 50s overnight for approximately 2 weeks. It is supposed to be only in the upper 40s during the day and near freezing at night at this time of year.

    I always give hw to my dogs year round but I have known owners in this area that do not.

    Jennifer

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  • There have been some problems with ivermectin and Irish marked herding dogs and the some of the long-haired whippets (sheltie ancestory) but otherwise I have not heard of problems with the heartworm meds or problems with heartworm meds and basenjis. What sort of bad things have you heard?

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  • I live in MA…not too far and IMO you should use heartworm protection, the weathers been good here and this week I already started to see Mosquitos.... In new England it's a big enough deal, I use Heartgard as well.

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  • I give year round also.. were I am we don't have a winter freeze and since I travel to the south… better to be safe then sorry.... And knowing South Jersey... I would never NOT give heart worm and it is much easier to give year round. Might cost a bit more.. but you have the monthly routine....

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  • I'm in Maine and I give heart worm meds (Interceptor) only from April - Oct. I have the retests done every spring as part of the annual exams & bloodwork. Since there is an issue with Interceptor production this year, I may need to switch, depending upon how much my vet has in stock.

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  • @renaultf1:

    I'm in Maine and I give heart worm meds (Interceptor) only from April - Oct. I have the retests done every spring as part of the annual exams & bloodwork. Since there is an issue with Interceptor production this year, I may need to switch, depending upon how much my vet has in stock.

    If I was still back east and in the "freeze" zone, I suppose I might think about only doing it during spring/summer/fall… but regardless it is required by Vets in Califronia to do the blood test even if you are on year round. Not that you can't get it on your own on line... but if through a Vet, blood test is required.

    I am not sure that I agree if on year round the reason for blood tests, but I suppose that they are just "covering their butts"... and that I can understand.

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  • It can be useful to know what the incidence of heartworm is in your area. In Ontario we saw an uptick in occurrences brought in by "Katrina" dogs. No good deed goes unpunished! :)

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  • The other thing to remember about heartworm meds is that it works retroactively. That's very important to remember if you're not doing it year round. Also the newest (as in a few months old) guidelines from AVMA is that if you're on it year round, the vets should do blood work every other year.

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  • @agilebasenji:

    The other thing to remember about heartworm meds is that it works retroactively. That's very important to remember if you're not doing it year round. Also the newest (as in a few months old) guidelines from AVMA is that if you're on it year round, the vets should do blood work every other year.

    Yes, the medication works to remove microfilaria after the dog has been bitten by an affected mosquito. Ivermectin (Heartguard) is less likely to cause problems if it is mistakenly given when the dog is already infected. It is perfectly possible to have a false negative test on an infected dog, particularly the inexpensive Diofilaria microfilaria test. OTOH, it is possible to have a false positive with the more expensive Occult test that tests for antigens of adult heartworms.

    Personally I prefer to avoid medication when it is not needed. Where I live, mosquitoes are not present year round, and the incidence of heartworm is rather low, so the likelihood of infection is slim. Heartguard in the warm months seems to me to be the safest approach. I have used Ivermectin for equine parasites the last thirty years without any serious incidents, so I am comfortable with using this drug.

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  • Here in Florida, we have mosquitos year round, so are on Interceptor all the time, as well as flea treatments whenever we start to see the critters. I have never had any problems with heart worm meds, or known of anyone who did. I like the simplest meds, and don't use flea treatment at the same time as heart worm. Better safe than sorry, heart worm treatment is really rough and expensive.

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  • B

    Thanks everyone for all your good advice!

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  • Just to be clear, starting with a puppy it should not be necessary to do a heartworm test, as the worms could not have time to develop yet in a young pup. I would ask your vet what is recommended as far as what age to begin the medication. Even if the pup got nailed by a mosquito in the first week of life, you should be fine without preventatives for at least 3 months!

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  • On heartworm meds here as well… would never want to take the chance of my Kipawa getting heartworm.

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  • @Kipawa:

    On heartworm meds here as well… would never want to take the chance of my Kipawa getting heartworm.

    Your chances would appear to be pretty low, even without medication. (unless you travel with him a lot). Reported cases in BC for 2010 (most recent I could find) were only 8, 2 of which were Vancouver, 1 each in Richmond and Delta, 4 in Kamloops. Given normal BC weather, I would suspect most if not all cases were contracted somewhere else. :) Heartworm development in mosquitoes requires at least 2 weeks of temperatures about 27C with no nighttime temperatures below 14C. How often do you get that in your area?

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