Finnigan is not on a heartworm medication and the vet has never discussed this with us. I meant to ask when we took him in for his one year shots a few weeks ago but we had to see a substitute vet as ours was out of town and I was so busy bringing her up to date on Finn that I completely forgot to ask her. My family has never had our dogs on heartworm meds when I was growing up and I’ve been told before that it's not a big concern in Arizona (at least in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area). I admittedly know nothing about heartworm medications and I don't want to put him on unnecessary medications. I was even wondering if there was a holistic approach. I'm hoping all of you can share your knowledge and offer advice to help me make an informed decision. Thanks!

Tags: heartworms

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If you live up north with cold winters, then you will only need it from june to november. The Rx is quite cheap, we use sentinel.
I also only keep mine on preventetive through the mid-summer late fall season and if I'm taking them east of the cascades into the desert less populated areas. My vet says that he hasn't heard of any confirmed outbrakes of heartworm in the portland metro area in at least ten years as city owners tend to prevent more and city animals are not living the country life. so your location and lifestyle are prob. gonna play a big part in the year round decision.
We don't see many mosquitoes where we live but I have a coworker who lives 10 minutes away and was constantly being bitten by mosquitoes during the summer. She lives in an apartment as well and it could be that her complex over waters and has a lot of standing water where our complex does not. Regardless though, we do take Finn places like the park or to visit relatives and there's no guarantee that we won't run into a mosquito here and there.
yes, there is always the possibilty and everybody does have their own comfort level in medical decisions concerning not only their pets but themselves as well. I'm cofident that my regement is adequte while others only view full time prevention adequte....your vet should be able to give you a good risk assestment for your area as my vet did for me...
Your Sentinel is a preventative for other parasites, including intestial parasites common to dogs. I used to take mine off in the winter till one of mine had a stool specimen positive for whip worms. These were probably contracted from eating the tasty bunny, squirrel or other wild animal droppings in the yard. Not that serrious in his case, and my vet treated him by starting him back on Sentinel. Tested in a month, stool was negative. As a Nurse, I am pro-preventative. Do people realize that our pets did not get heartworms when we were children, because heartworms were not around? Infections, viruses, and parasites evolve, mutate and are very mobile. Our animals live better lives through proactive, and not reactive treatments. While on any medication, your animal should have regular exams, and any symptoms should be looked into. As for herbal treatments, ingriedents are not regulated. Because something comes from nature, it's not gaurenteed safe. I trust my vet. I go with the most currently available knowledge that way. If you didn't spend seven or eight years of concentrated study on animal health and well being, then I don't feel you're in a better position to treat heartworms. Listen to Bunnies tale. The treatment is tragic.
Heartworm is carried by mosquitoes, and while I'm sure mosquitoes are not common in the desert areas, the fact is you have irrigation, parks, etc with standing water, correct? All it takes is someone with a rain barrel to hatch mosquitoes, and a dog who is a carrier living near by. With all the migration to the sunbelt in the past decade, I can't imagine that people moving in from areas where heartworm is a bigger problem did not move in with infected dogs. If it were me, I'd be worried, but then again my father has hunting dogs and heart worm has been a dark word in my world for decades. Field trial dogs would go to the South where the problem is rampant and come back infected.

If it were me, I'd treat but of course the risk is not as high for you as it is here. Here in the summer you can't step outside after about 7pm without having mosquitoes land on you.
You definitely need to treat them. The way to cure them is much milder than it used to be, but it can still kill them in the process if they do get them. It's just not worth taking a chance.
The vet I saw last was not our regular vet and I was unaware that we would be seeing a different vet when we came in. Our vet is great. I would like to talk to our vet and get his opinion. Maybe I can just call and talk to him since he was not there at our visit to go over such things.
Yes, he was already tested.
Where I live (at the southern end of Australia) we don't need to treat for heartworm at all as it is not found in this area. If we want to travel north with Potus we are advised to worm him for heartworm as it is found in the hotter north. I don't know anything about holisitic treatments but would advise calling the vet and seeing what they say (no need to make an appointment). It may be the same case as ours, Finn not needing meds unless he travels out of the area, or meds may be advised.
Many of the heartworm preventatives also take care of certain intestinal worms as well. Dogs are always butt smelling and stool smelling and eggs can be located in those areas and from your dog sniffing, it gets on their nose and then they lick to ingest the eggs. Not to mention...dogs have encysted larvae that can resurface through stress, illness, hormonal changes, and surgery which means your dog is reinfected. Some of the heartworm preventatives also prevents certain forms of mange and ear mites like Revolution. Not to mention FLEAS which if your dog has fleas, then your dog has tapeworm. This can be a very broad topic but I suggest you read what certain worms can do to your dogs system and the life cycle of a flea. I do know certain regions have higher percentages for certain worms then others just like the Mosquito but for a simple $55 for six months supply to $120 for a yrs supply to protect your dog all the way around..I'd say thats a bargain. If your vet is secure with the no heartworm preventative then make sure you ask them the flea rate, mite rate, or mange rate in your area. Don't forget to mention worm prevention as well. You should be doing periodic stool culturing as well that gets sent out to a lab. Hope this helps. I also feel this vet should of informed you of preventative measures during prior wellness exams. He should of drawn a time table for you on what to expect in the coming months or visits and discussed avenues or reasons for how he made these guidelines. Many vets will over look or not get into detail unless you do some research and let them know you have some knowledge and then they in turn get more detailed with you.
Yes, mine brought up both heartworm and tick preventative in our very first puppy visit. He asked questions about what we intend to do with our dog, will he be in the woods, might he drink from streams, etc before counseling us both on certain vaccinations and on flea/tick and heartworm.

Here everyone needs heartworm, as it's pretty common.

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