Best Heartworm Preventative? & other HW questions

Shabnam S

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Jul 3, 2019
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Hi, I’m new here. I have been searching through fb groups, online articles, and the forum on the best HW Preventative. I was hoping to get Dr. Jeff’s input. My conventional vet says Heartgard every month and my holistic vet says Interceptor every 6 weeks. I would rather not give him chemicals but also don’t want him getting HW. I have read Dr. Falconer’s HW guide but getting him to optimal health is a journey that won’t protect him right now since we are in the middle of mosquito season. Help would be greatly appreciated. These are my questions:

1. Best natural HW preventative other than getting them to optimal health?
2. If a dog can’t get to optional health what is the least harmful chemical regimen?
3. What’s the earliest HW can be detected in a blood test?
4. What is a natural HW treatment and does it work?
5. When is the painful/ toxic long term treatment with activity restriction necessary?

Thanks!
 

lizkunz

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Aug 29, 2017
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Hopefully this is of interest. I have just started dabbling in Essential Oils. For a few years now I have been pouring over Dr. Shelton's animalEO website. I finally placed my first order. She has a section on heartworm.


I've been using the recommended oil, Boost in a Bottle. (It's not for infusion.) I'm not sure I'm ever going to know if it helps. But hopefully it's another thing I can do to build their health.

I'd be interested in what the Drs. think.
 

Dr. Jeff

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Welcome Shabnam!

1. There's lots of non-drug heartworm preventives, but none, to my knowledge, work any better than having good immune function while reducing exposure to mosquitoes and thereby lowering risk.

This does not require being in optimal balance right away.

I agree with Liz about using topical essential oils to help reduce heartworm filarial transmission by mosquitoes.

You can also do this using the mosquito tag from 0Bug Zone (previously Shoo Tag) and by environmental modification like eliminating standing water and adding aerators to ponds.

@Dr. Christina may have other ideas to add.

2. Heartgard every 6 weeks.

3. ~6 months. The twice annual test is useful if you choose to not use Heartgard.

4. Dog's Naturally has a useful summary here:


Please avoid #3 (mixing a bunch of homeopathically-prepared remedies together).

I would not rely on any of these, nosodes, etc. in most cases.

Personally, I treat positive cases homeopathically based on the symptoms. However, in many cases, there aren't many so I also may use Heartgard to prevent further heartworm babies while the adults die off.

Doxycycline can also be helpful for speeding heartworm death.

5. If a dog is in heart failure secondary to heartworm then immediate drug treatment and exercise restriction is indicated.

This is very rare in my experience.

The decision to treat is individualized for every pup.

Are any of your pups in this situation?

The bottom line is that Heartgard every 6 weeks (or 8, 12, etc.) may be your safest and most effective "prevention" (Heartgard and Interceptor are early treatments and not really preventatives).
 

Shabnam S

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Joined
Jul 3, 2019
Messages
6
Welcome Shabnam!

1. There's lots of non-drug heartworm preventives, but none, to my knowledge, work any better than having good immune function while reducing exposure to mosquitoes and thereby lowering risk.

This does not require being in optimal balance right away.

I agree with Liz about using topical essential oils to help reduce heartworm filarial transmission by mosquitoes.

You can also do this using the mosquito tag from 0Bug Zone (previously Shoo Tag) and by environmental modification like eliminating standing water and adding aerators to ponds.

@Dr. Christina may have other ideas to add.

2. Heartgard every 6 weeks.

3. ~6 months. The twice annual test is useful if you choose to not use Heartgard.

4. Dog's Naturally has a useful summary here:


Please avoid #3 (mixing a bunch of homeopathically-prepared remedies together).

I would not rely on any of these, nosodes, etc. in most cases.

Personally, I treat positive cases homeopathically based on the symptoms. However, in many cases, there aren't many so I also may use Heartgard to prevent further heartworm babies while the adults die off.

Doxycycline can also be helpful for speeding heartworm death.

5. If a dog is in heart failure secondary to heartworm then immediate drug treatment and exercise restriction is indicated.

This is very rare in my experience.

The decision to treat is individualized for every pup.

Are any of your pups in this situation?

The bottom line is that Heartgard every 6 weeks (or 8, 12, etc.) may be your safest and most effective "prevention" (Heartgard and Interceptor are early treatments and not really preventatives).

@lizkunz Thank you for the advice. I appreciate it. :)

@Dr. Jeff Thank you very much for the information. I greatly appreciate it. I don’t know if the @‘s are necessary on this forum. :) I have one 9 year old pup (he’s still a baby to me) and thankfully since I stopped giving him hw/ tick/ flea preventatives a couple of years ago (thinking 2 but it could be 3) he’s been heartworm negative. But he used be outside a lot less because of the ccl tear he had 2017 and subsequent surgery/ recovery he had in 2018. Now he’s out a lot more. Since we live on 18 wooded acres where we’re outside a lot and I see the mosquitos on him I do worry a lot. I have been stressed so I’ve been limiting his time outside and have been trying to run around with him inside but he is not happy about it. I don’t think we can limit his exposure unless we move or walk him quickly but he loves his freedom. I bought the interceptor but since he got a rabies vaccine recently :( and I’ve been in the holistic fb groups reading so much about the chemicals in the preventatives I have not been able to give it to him. My ex holistic vet said the treatment is very painful and toxic so it scared me. Thank you for the information I will definitely read the article and look into the essential oils.
Are the essential oils safe if licked off accidentally? I heard the strong scent can bother them.

I can give the Interceptor every 12 weeks as well?

I was planning to get him tested every 3 months but I’m thinking that’s unnecessary if they can’t be detected until around 6.

I heard that even if caught early and treated successfully that the damage is done. Do you find this to be true?

If I give him the Interceptor is there anything I can give him to help him handle (detox?) the chemicals? Like milk thistle? Because of his surgical hardware in his leg and a mole on his abdomen that I’m very concerned about (wanted to ask about that as well but didn’t know if I should include it here or on another thread) I don’t want to bombard his body with chemicals.

I skimmed the article and looked through the natural preventatives. I’ve seen many of them recommended in the groups but since I am so new to all of this I don’t feel confident giving him any of them without exact directions from a professional. I don’t know if they conflict with anything else he eats/ takes.

This may not be a question you can answer but if a dog who was your patient lived in the woods with a pretty good mosquito population (I don’t think it’s considered endemic necessarily) and his owners didn’t want to limit his outdoor time, would you suggest they give the “preventative”? If so, how often? Basically I want to know what you would do for your dog in this case. :) I hope you don’t mind me asking.

Thank you!
 

Dr. Jeff

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You're very welcome Shabnam!

Yes, the @tagging is a good idea especially if you want someone to see the post who has not already posted in the thread.

Typically, essentials oils are safe, tho not 100% due to toxicity if ingested in large amounts.

Flower essences and Reiki are 100% safe.

Regarding heartworm "preventative" dosing, the answer depends on the part of the country, the temps and rain.

The warmer and more tropical parts of the country have a higher incidence of heartworm.

However, in every part of the country, whether a pet takes meds or not, some will get infected whereas others will not.

As with any other infection like kennel cough.

That's because the ones in better balance have higher resistance.

This translates to less chance of heartworm dis-ease.

The quotes around "preventative" are because heartworm meds are actually early treatment.

The drugs stop the development of the babies that live in the blood into adults that live in the heart (and pulmonary veins).

They therefore work after transmission of heatworm infective larvae.

Giving the meds is a personal choice which won't significantly affect the health or longevity of your pets in my experience of 34 years in CT.

In this area (lower CT near NY), most of my clients choose to dose Heartgard every 6-8 weeks between June-July and Oct-Nov (again, depending on weather).

I have not seen any difference in the dis-ease (imbalance) or longevity rates of pets whether they take the drugs at all or not.

Those who have pets who don't take the meds, run heartworm tests every 6 months to detect early infection.

Some holistically-minded pet parents choose to give Heartgard monthly (which is the current conventional recommendation).

I and most of my clients monitor their pets very closely and we've seen very few ill-intended medication effects.

Compared to an insecticide, ivermectin and milbemycin (the 2 main active ingredients in heatworm medicines) are very safe.

In my practice, I rarely see any symptoms result from their use.

Which means (to me) that their was very little disturbance of internal balance.

I heard that even if caught early and treated successfully that the damage is done. Do you find this to be true?
Not usually, no.


f I give him the Interceptor is there anything I can give him to help him handle (detox?) the chemicals? Like milk thistle?
Yes! Milk thistle, wild blueberries, celery juice, basil, cilantro and others are great for detox.

My friend Anthony William has some wonderful resources at:


Avoid the grapes he mentions as good for people (as they aren't 100% safe for the few pets who are susceptible to them).

This may not be a question you can answer but if a dog who was your patient lived in the woods with a pretty good mosquito population (I don’t think it’s considered endemic necessarily) and his owners didn’t want to limit his outdoor time, would you suggest they give the “preventative”? If so, how often? Basically I want to know what you would do for your dog in this case.I hope you don’t mind me asking.
Absolutely no problem!

1. Start by decreasing the mosquito population to reduce risk.

Minimize standing water and use aerators in ponds if possible (to keep the water moving and reduce mosquito breeding).

2. Reduce risk of a bite further with magnetic tags (like 0BugZone), and essential oil sprays and spot-ons like Dermoscent.

3. The most important step is to optimize immune health by building and preserving Vitality and Balance with fresh food, sun, play, and avoiding toxins.

Easy peasy!
😁
 

Shabnam S

Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2019
Messages
6
You're very welcome Shabnam!

Yes, the @tagging is a good idea especially if you want someone to see the post who has not already posted in the thread.

Typically, essentials oils are safe, tho not 100% due to toxicity if ingested in large amounts.

Flower essences and Reiki are 100% safe.

Regarding heartworm "preventative" dosing, the answer depends on the part of the country, the temps and rain.

The warmer and more tropical parts of the country have a higher incidence of heartworm.

However, in every part of the country, whether a pet takes meds or not, some will get infected whereas others will not.

As with any other infection like kennel cough.

That's because the ones in better balance have higher resistance.

This translates to less chance of heartworm dis-ease.

The quotes around "preventative" are because heartworm meds are actually early treatment.

The drugs stop the development of the babies that live in the blood into adults that live in the heart (and pulmonary veins).

They therefore work after transmission of heatworm infective larvae.

Giving the meds is a personal choice which won't significantly affect the health or longevity of your pets in my experience of 34 years in CT.

In this area (lower CT near NY), most of my clients choose to dose Heartgard every 6-8 weeks between June-July and Oct-Nov (again, depending on weather).

I have not seen any difference in the dis-ease (imbalance) or longevity rates of pets whether they take the drugs at all or not.

Those who have pets who don't take the meds, run heartworm tests every 6 months to detect early infection.

Some holistically-minded pet parents choose to give Heartgard monthly (which is the current conventional recommendation).

I and most of my clients monitor their pets very closely and we've seen very few ill-intended medication effects.

Compared to an insecticide, ivermectin and milbemycin (the 2 main active ingredients in heatworm medicines) are very safe.

In my practice, I rarely see any symptoms result from their use.

Which means (to me) that their was very little disturbance of internal balance.



Not usually, no.




Yes! Milk thistle, wild blueberries, celery juice, basil, cilantro and others are great for detox.

My friend Anthony William has some wonderful resources at:


Avoid the grapes he mentions as good for people (as they aren't 100% safe for the few pets who are susceptible to them).



Absolutely no problem!

1. Start by decreasing the mosquito population to reduce risk.

Minimize standing water and use aerators in ponds if possible (to keep the water moving and reduce mosquito breeding).

2. Reduce risk of a bite further with magnetic tags (like 0BugZone), and essential oil sprays and spot-ons like Dermoscent.

3. The most important step is to optimize immune health by building and preserving Vitality and Balance with fresh food, sun, play, and avoiding toxins.

Easy peasy!
😁
@Dr. Jeff Thank you so much for all this great information. I feel so much more confident making a decision now. I really appreciate it. My worries have been put to rest. Thank you very much! :)
 

Dr. Jeff

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🙏
 

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