Posts Tagged ‘heartworm’

Some Online Pharmacies are Awesome. Some are not.

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Near the end of March 2011, I was happily researching for my April heartworm post, Happy Heartworm-Free April! when I came across this website:  heartworm-medicine.info.  I e-mailed the site administrator to let him know that dispensing prescription medication without a prescription is illegal.  (Ever the optimist, I was hoping he just did not know…)  His return e-mail (basically) said, no, it isn’t.

My formal complaint to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and copied to AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) (basically) said:  He’s not playing fair and someone is going to get hurt!

From the Heartworm Medicine website:  “Can I get non prescription heartworm medicine?  Absolutely. All the heartworm medicines available from here are prescription free. This should make the ordering process much easier for you.”

From the website of the “pharmacy” they use:

  • Choose items and place them in your shopping cart.
  • When you checkout you will be asked to create an account and fill out a brief patient profile.
  • Follow the steps to complete your purchase.
  • Fax or mail the prescription from your Veterinarian to us.
  • Your Veterinarian’s prescription will be reviewed and re-written by a Canadian Veterinarian or Doctor and dispensed by an Independent Pharmacy.

I am usually extremely easygoing.  I can find good and the upside to about anything and anyone.  I can count on both hands my non-negotiables.  Among them,

(1)  the welfare of pets

(2)  the well-being of people

(3)  high ethical standards.

OK, I don’t have many non-negotiables, but I admit, the ones I have are kind of big.

And not that this matters in the least, as far as grand sweeping ideals go, but the heartworm preventatative medications carried in house (which is probably true of many veterinary hospitals) are cheaper than those being offered on this “prescription-free” website.

Veterinary teams really do try to keep costs reasonable for pet owners.  We have pets too!  We know what little money-sucks they can be!

This situation made me so angry!  We have the medical protocols in place that we do for very good reasons.

Here is the basic heartworm prevention program of most veterinary hospitals, and most clients are just fine with it, knowing we are trying really hard to keep their pets safe and to keep costs manageable…

  • Establish a veterinary-owner-pet relationship.
  • Have a wellness examination of the pet done.
  • Have an annual heartworm test done.
  • Choose a safe, effective, pet-specific and weight-specific heartworm preventative medication from a reliable source.
  • Obtain it legally right from the veterinary hospital or an excellent veterinary pharmacy trusted by both the client and the veterinary team.

Pharmacies are NOT the bad guys here…Rule breakers are.  Most pharmacies (including Wedgewood Pharmacy online) do an excellent job partnering with veterinarians to keep pets healthy and safe and provide a much broader range of medical options than we can in-house.

It just made me mad enough to write a strongly worded letter!

Dear Rule Breaker,

Pets, and by association, owners, could be seriously hurt by what you are doing.  It is also unethical.  That’s three strikes.  Do not mess with what is important to me.

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Happy Heartworm Free October!

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

If you give your pets their heartworm preventative medication on the first, it’s the first!  And, as a friend pointed out, if you do not…it is still the first. :)

Happy October!

GUEST POST!!!! By Russ

I am kind of spoiled.  Shawn (Dr. Finch) takes such amazing care of our pets and keeps really good track of what they need and when, including the heartworm stuff.  I can do the stuff like fill water and food dishes, open the door to let them out or in, play tug with Joy, give lots of pets.  I can do stuff like build scratching posts or steps up to the bed.

I cannot keep track of medicines.  I always have leftovers from prescriptions and can’t get the concept of “daily”  vitamins or taking pills as prescribed, and that is for me!  I am amazed at how my awesome vet and wife can keep track of our pet’s health needs.  I am glad that she does it.

But today, Shawn went to work.  Then we had a birthday party.  At a bowling alley/arcade/laser tag/noisy/crowded place.   Followed by a sleepover.  With cake, ice cream, candy and hyperactive 9 year old girls.   So, while we are both kind of drooling and not focusing our eyes from the party, I have more energy right now.

This is what the party feels like:

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011_01_01_archive.html *

So I am reminding you to do your heartworm preventative stuff now, then I am going to do ours.  I guess that what is important is that someone remembers to do it.   Shawn remembered and may need to help me figure it out, but I can do this…I think.

Today’s Checklist:

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Joy the Puppy – Wormshield tablet

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* Permission granted to repost images from Hyperbole and a Half with the website link included.  How cool is that??  Thank you so much!  We appreciate it ALOT.

Happy Heartworm Free September!

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

If you give your pets their heartworm preventative medication on the first, it’s the first!  And, as a friend pointed out, if you do not…it is still the first. :)

Happy September!

Recent Heartworm Related News:

Immiticide, the ONLY approved heartworm disease treatment, is once again unavailable, and Merial does not know when it will be available again.

Read more here:

Treating Heartworm Disease – Another Immiticide Shortage

In response to the Immiticide unavailability, American Heartworm Society published recommendations for veterinarians who have heartworm positive patients waiting for treatment.

Read more here:

Guidance for Heartworm Disease Management During the Adulticide Unavailability

Pfizer modified their recommendations for ProHeart use.  Included in the updates is provision for dogs with allergic dermatitis to receive ProHeart injections.  The recommendation has been changed to “Use with caution in dogs with allergic disease.”

Read more here:

ProHeart 6

We are waiting on confirmation that Revolution for Kittens and Puppies (and they should add, dogs) under five pounds pleases Ernie Dog.

Read more here:

A Story of Ernie Dog

In Finch Family news…

We have decided to switch Joy the Puppy back to Wormshield (oral monthly ivermectin) from ProHeart (injectable twice a year moxidectin) because of her allergic dermatitis (food allergies, recently diagnosed).  I do not think ProHeart made her worse by any means, but I would rather have her on a medication without the known risk of complicating allergic dermatitis!

We have switched Max the Cat’s Revolution application to the 15th, which coincides with Joy and Noodle’s flea and tick topical medication application.  That is neither here nor there, but I did not want you to think poor Max is off of the heartworm preventative checklist.  May it never be!

Today’s Checklist:

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Joy the Puppy – Wormshield tablet

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Happy Heartworm Free August!

Monday, August 1st, 2011

A story of Ernie Dog…

Ernie is my Mom and Dad’s four pound Poodle Dog.  He is my favorite dog in the whole wide world.

When he was a kid, Ernie was on Heartgard Plus.  Ernie loved Heartgard Plus.

One month, Ernie noticed that everyone loved that he loved Heartgard Plus.  He decided not to love it anymore.  When he was given his heartworm prophylaxis, he turned his nose up and said it hurt his feelings that we would offer him something so gross.

So we switched Ernie to Iverhart.  Ernie never liked Iverhart.  He would allow himself to be pilled, but reminded us every month that being pilled hurt his feelings.

And so it went with every flavored oral heartworm prophylaxis on the market.  No medication pleased Ernie.  Most recently he has been on Wormshield, Banfield’s small, flavored oral heartworm prophylaxis.  First as a treat.

No.

Then as a pill…

No.  *sniff*  “Why would you do that to me?”

Then as a powder smashed into peanut butter…

First:  *sniff*  “Why would you do THAT to me?”


Then, *sniff*  “Why would you do that to me AGAIN?” and then… *BARF* and then…sulk.

I could not take hurting the feelings of my Favorite Dog in the Whole Wide World one more time.

Next month, we are starting Ernie Dog on topical Revolution.  I will let you know whether or not Revolution pleases Ernie Dog.

I love you Ernie Dog!  Oo, looks like you need your ears cleaned…

 

Happy Heartworm Free July!

Friday, July 1st, 2011

January

February

March

April

May

June

July!

Heartworm Disease in Cats

The Good…

Cats are not a natural host for heartworms. They are infected roughly a tenth as often as dogs.

Cats on heartworm preventative medication are completely protected from heartworm disease.

The Bad…

Heartworm disease is difficult to diagnose in cats.

  • Before an infection is fulminant, sometimes there are no signs.
  • When signs appear, they are often non-specific.
  • The ELISA test detects antigens from mature female worms.  Cats usually have a low adult worm burden (typically one to three worms), so the odds of all male heartworms is pretty high.  If that occurs, the test will read as negative.
  • An antibody test is available, but can also yield false negatives.  (Back to the good for a second:  The two tests together may increase accuracy.)
  • A cardiac ultrasound can detect adult worms in or near the heart, but is much more expensive than a blood test.

I am convinced that because of all of these hurdles to diagnosis, feline heartworm disease is underdiagnosed.

At this point in time, heartworm disease in cats is untreatable. We manage secondary signs and inflammation while we wait for the adult heartworms to die, which can take several years.

The Ugly…

Cats become sick with a very low worm burden.

A common sign is difficulty breathing, which can be mistaken for asthma.

The most common sign of heartworm disease in cats is sudden death.

The End of Feline Heartworm Disease…

Every cat should be on a monthly heartworm preventative medication, even an indoor cat in Nebraska.  That the risk is relatively low would not make one bit of difference to me if Max the Cat were the one to contract heartworm disease and I could have prevented it.

Great information at American Heartworm Society’s website:

Feline Heartworm Disease

Today’s Checklist for the Finch Household:

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Max the Cat – topical Revolution

Give treats to the fish and Joy the Puppy, who is on ProHeart6

Hope you have a happy, healthy, minimal-mosquito heartworm-free summer!

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Happy Heartworm-Free May!

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

January

February

March

April

Actually we have had two cases of heartworm disease this spring, which is really discouraging.  Another sobering fact – last year Banfield Pet Hospital diagnosed over 5000 cases of heartworm disease in dogs!  I did not hear how many cases were treated or how the dogs did, but FIVE THOUSAND!  Granted, there are 750 + Banfields across the country, but that is still so many for a disease that is 100% preventable.  As a community of pet people, we can do so much better.  The number will not be zero this year (It will be at least two) but I hope it is WAY lower than 5000!

This month’s topic…

Proheart 6

Where does Proheart 6 fit into the world of heartworm preventative medication?

Proheart 6 is an injectable sustained release medication labeled for dogs only (not cats or ferrets).  Its active ingredient is moxidectin, which, like the heartworm larvae killing component of all of the oral and topical preventatives available, is a macrocyclic lactone.  Moxidectin is also found in Advantage Multi, a combination topical heartworm-flea preventative that is applied monthly.  Proheart 6 is also labeled to treat hookworms.

Why is Proheart 6 only given every six months?

The moxidectin in Proheart 6 is in a sustained release formula, which means medication is constantly released over several months.  It stays in the dog’s body at therapeutic levels for six months, after which it tapers off to levels that are both ineffective to kill heartworm larva and are also safe when combined with another full dose.

Will Proheart 6 save the world?

No.

Pfizer recommends that veterinarians not give Proheart to dogs who are too thin, dogs who are ill, puppies under six months of age, and dogs who have not had Proheart before the age of seven.  If they have had Proheart before the age of seven, they may then have it at any age.  They also recommend that Proheart not be given to dogs who have allergic dermatitis.  Generally, allergic dermatitis includes any allergies, food, inhalant, or contact allergies that manifest as itching or skin problems.  Reactions to Proheart may occur.

Who should be on Proheart 6?

Every other dog, unless he or she has issues your veterinarian has deemed incompatable with injectable moxidectin, should be considered for Proheart 6.  I really think this is a great tool in the fight against heartworm disease.  Joy the Puppy had her first dose of Proheart 6 on February 1, 2011 and has done great.

Things to consider when deciding whether to use Proheart 6:

  • Proheart 6 is an injection given every six months (thus the clever name).  You have two chances a year to space giving your pets’ heartworm preventative instead of twelve!
  • Even better, the responsibility, at least in part, for remembering your pets’ heartworm preventative switches from you to your veterinary team!  You will receive a reminder when the time for Proheart is approaching, and the visit itself will be a quick one, or incorporated with a biannual wellness exam you would already have planned.
  • The cost of Proheart tends to be similar to that of monthly topical and oral heartworm preventative medications.
  • You will not be tempted to flout the American Heartworm Society‘s year-round heartworm prevention recommendations and guess at future weather patterns  and presence of mosquitoes in those iffy (AND VERY DANGEROUS AS HEARTWORM RISK GOES!) spring and fall seasons, as the twice yearly Proheart administration will protect your pet all year.
  • You could put a box of chocolates for yourselves on that safe-from-pets tip-top shelf where you used to keep the box of heartworm preventatives.

Great Heartworm Posts I Have Read This Month:

“Reading About Heartworm is One Thing, Watching a Dog Suffer is Another” – guest post by Pet Saver Ashley on Dawg Business by Jana Rade

“Don’t Let Heartworm Become Heartbreak” – guest post by Awesome Veterinarian Lorie A. Huston on Dawg Business by Jana Rade

…And maybe the best, and also the most discouraging, heartworm post I have read this month is on heartworm preventative resistance:

Heartworm Prevention for Dogs:  New Concepts and Concerns – by Lorie A. Huston, DVM on her website, Pet Health Care Gazette

Yes, heartworm preventative resistance does indeed seem to be a reality in a very, very small portion of the dog population…*sigh*  I was hoping it was not.  But I trust Dr. Blagburn, one of the very best veterinary parasitologist in the world – I have always very much admired his work, and I trust Dr. Huston…It sure looks as if it is true.  All the more reason to be neurotically vigilant about heartworm prevention…And because Proheart is so easy and convenient, you can be vigilant without being neurotic…if you want.

Tomorrow’s Checklist…

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Max the Cat – topical Revolution

(Joy the Puppy is on injectable Proheart 6.  Perhaps I will spend the few saved minutes reading her this post.  Naw, I will give her a cookie!)

 

Coming Soon on Riley and James…

Friday, April 8th, 2011

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Skills for Communicating with Patients – Five Stars! This may be the most helpful book I have read from the  Veterinary Economics 25 Books List.  It is an excellent communication book written for MD’s, though the authors have worked with veterinarians too, which I thought was cool.  It is a medical school textbook and is taking me FOREVER to read!  SO worth it though.  I will review it for you as soon as I finish it!

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Summary of my Favorites from the Veterinary Economics 25 Books List – Very fun project…I am finishing the last two books.

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Anesthesia for the Pet Practitioner – Five Stars! This will be a two part review, the first part here and the second part on Wagging Tail.  Anesthesia for the Pet Practitioner is a wonderful veterinary anesthesia book that I have used for years.  The third edition was recently published by Banfield Pet Hospital, and that is the one I am reviewing.  It is also the best one yet!

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The Complete Cat’s Meow by Darlene Arden – Five Stars! OK, I just started this book, but it has a gorgeous Max the Cat cat on the cover and is written by one of my Very Favorite People AND Darlene mentioned me in the acknowledgements.  (Thank you Darlene!!)  What’s not to love??  Even though I am only a few pages in, I can tell it is also an EXCELLENT resource for cat lovers.  See, I can be objective! : )

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Love Wins by Rob Bell – Just kidding!  Different blog!  I do love it though.  The topics covered in this book are ones I have been struggling with and studying Scripture about for the past few years.  Just reading the intro sitting with Abby in the bookstore allowed me to breathe a deep cosmic sigh of relief.  Not that Rob Bell is the end-all authority on truth, or even claims to be.  He IS, however, very good at making a person think, and tackling Ideas That Shall Not Be Mentioned head on.  At least one Christian leader has been fired over saying he liked the book.  But I am a vet.  I like the book.  And now…back to pets!

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Why all the book reviews?

Life is still sad.  I miss Ebony Dog and Wuzzy Rat terribly.  I also miss Fuzzy Rat, Piggy Pig and Princess Gerbil.

Max the Cat is in the beginning stages of Chronic Kidney Disease.  Not always a big deal for an old cat, actually.  (You know, unless he or she is your cat, or…unless it is.)

But then, when Ebony first got sick, I was hoping that if and when we found the underlying cause of her Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia it would not be awful, but it was.  So I am still in a pretty rough season and having a sick cat is freaking me out a bit.  I am writing about all that, but trying hard to keep it upbeat here.

Even so, a Princess Gerbil Memorial is in the works.  She deserves one as much as the other four!  It is not her fault she passed away when I was too exhausted to write One More.  And she was super cute and kind of quirky, so I think you will like it!

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And finally…

Happy Heartworm-Free May!

And then…

I dunno!  A happier season maybe?  Just an idea…

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Happy Heartworm-Free April!

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Wouldn’t that be something?  If we went through this entire month and NOBODY was diagnosed with heartworm disease??  We just saw another case of heartworm disease very recently…So sad.  I know I have been on an “I hate cancer” kick lately, but as always, I am on my “I hate heartworm” kick too.  (I have quite a few kicks…)  Heartworm disease is 100% preventable, and though treatable (treatable in dogs – not so much cats and ferrets), prevention is so much less expensive and easier on the dogs’ systems.I promised to be more upbeat here at Riley and James as soon as possible!  So here goes…

Today’s monthly heartworm post is on how heartworm preventative medications work!

Science…medicine…the wonders of canine physiology…heartworm examined not as a pet stealer or dog damager, but more clinically, as a very cool (disgusting) mortal, intricate parasite.  How exciting is that??  Well, I think it is exciting…

The Medicine

All heartworm preventative medications currently on the market are a form of macrocyclic lactones, medications derived from bacteria in the Streptomyces genus.  They do not prevent heartworm infection in the strictest sense, they prevent heartworm disease – they kill the larvae (L3 and L4, “baby heartworms”) before they can mature into adult worms.(Interesting side note!  Until the late 1980’s, only daily medications were available because they were only powerful enough to kill the “L3” stage, which lasts only two or three days.)Macrocyclic lactones are neurotoxins to the heartworm larvae (L3 and L4), paralyzing their mouthparts and causing them to starve to death.  The medication needs to be repeated monthly because they kill all of the parasites that are in the pet’s system that have infected him or her in the last thirty days.  The picture that came to mind when I was trying to make it understandable was one of a rainstorm.  Bear with me…Heartworm preventatives are not umbrellas – they are windshield wipers.  Your dog is continually at risk of being bitten by a mosquito that is carrying heartworm larvae (L3) – the mosquito would be the cloud and the heartworm larvae would be the raindrop…if clouds were buzzy and annoying and raindrops were potentially fatal.

The Worm

We think of heartworm preventatives as protecting our pets against heartworm disease, and they do.  But they do it more as a windshield wiper (that sweeps every thirty days) than an umbrella that is a constant barrier to infection.  Our pets are at risk of being infected by heartworm larvae – but are protected from heartworm disease that is caused by adult heartworms in the pulmonary vessels and heart.

The Disease

I think the disease should be called subcutaneous-tissue-then-pulmonary-arteries-and-if-it-is-a-really-heavy-infestation-even-right-heart-and-vena-cava-worms, but it is not.  Heartworm is too cute of a name for such a horrid disease.

That’s All I’ve Got.

If that helps you understand the pathogenesis of heartworm disease, awesome.  It helps me to be disciplined when giving heartworm preventative medication to my pets to think of it as a “windshield wiper” stopping heartworm larvae that may have already started their unholy travels to the very heart of my pets, rather than a barrier or “umbrella” that I can just put up when it is sunny and warm and just right for a heartworm attack.  If it just grosses you out, and you like being grossed out, that is good too, I suppose!

Coming Soon…More Awesome Heartworm Information of Some Sort

Let me know what other heartworm related topics you would like to cover.  Ideas…heartworm disease in cats and ferrets, treating heartworm disease, I would love a guest post from someone who has had a pet with heartworm disease, or worked in a rescue organization and dealt with heartworm disease, or any guest post with a heartworm-related story!  Let me know if you have topic ideas or would like to write a guest post here!

Today’s To Do List:
Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet
Max the Cat – topical Revolution
(Joy the Puppy is on injectable Proheart 6.)

Coming Next Month…

How do injectable sustained release heartworm prevenative medications (Proheart 6 and Proheart 12) work?

Previous Happy Heartworm Free Month Posts…

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

American Heartworm Society Website

Isn’t this FUN?

 

The more that you read,The more things you will know.The more that you learn,The more places you’ll go.

-Dr. Seuss

Happy Heartworm-Free March!

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

March 2011…Safety of heartworm preventative medication – Is it safe to give my Collie heartworm preventative medication?  Why is Joy the Puppy getting Proheart but not the old dogs?  Are some pets developing heartworm preventative medication resistance?  Are there valid drug-free options for preventing heartworm disease?

Confused?  You won’t be after this episode of…Pets!

Who knows that super-awesome…I mean cheesy…I mean awesome…reference?  First person to tell me wins coffee…or cocoa…or whatever.  (C’mon, Dad!)*

Is it safe to give my Collie heartworm preventative medicine?

Short answer…yes.  However, this is a very valid concern that stems from the genetic tendency of some dogs (most notoriously Collies, but some herding and other breeds) to process ivermectin and other medications less efficiently than they should.

A veterinarian at Washington State University, Dr. Katrina Mealey, DVM, PhD, Diplomate, ACVIM (American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine), has done a great amount of research on this drug sensitivity issue.  Some dogs have a mutation in a gene (called the MDR1 gene) that should make a protein (P-glycoprotein) that is an important part of the blood-brain barrier.  If they have one abnormal gene, they are carriers (They will not have the drug sensitivity, but their offspring may).  If they have two abnormal genes, they will have the drug sensitivity.  Because the barrier is not normal in these dogs, they are less protected from the effect of some drugs, and doses that would be safe in dogs without the gene mutation can be dangerous.

The amount of ivermectin in heartworm preventative medication is such a low dose that it is safe in dogs even if they have the gene mutation that makes them extra-sensitive.  If you are at all worried, there are many ivermectin-free heartworm preventative alternatives available.

A genetic test is available to determine if dogs have this genetic mutation.  This could be especially helpful if your pet needs to be treated with higher doses of ivermectin than that used in heartworm preventatives OR if he or she needs other medications to which they may be sensitive OR if you are considering breeding.

For a MUCH more articulate discussion of the MDR1 gene and genetic drug sensitivity, you may want the information right from the horse’s mouth (Animal joke in a pet blog!  Always funny!)

Ivermectin Toxicity in Collies

on

Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Website

Why is Joy the Puppy getting Proheart but not the old dogs dog?

*sigh*

Proheart is intended for healthy dogs over six months of age who are not underweight.  Not that old dogs can’t be healthy!  And they usually are…but, to be safe, we administer this medication to dogs who are over six months of age and under seven years of age the first time they are given Proheart.  Because Ebony and Noodle were over seven when it came back onto the market, we kept them on monthly oral Wormshield (ivermectin) tablets.

Are some pets developing heartworm preventative medication resistance?

Honestly, we just do not know yet.  I suspect it is the same old compliance issue.  (Please correct me if your pet has been a victim of heartworm preventative resistance – I hope it is not real, but realize it could be.)  If some pets are resistant, it is such a low number of the population, that consistent heartworm preventative use is still warranted.  For an excellent discussion of the issue, see Dr. Lorie Huston’s October 2010 article:

Are there valid drug-free options for preventing heartworm disease?

No!  That was kind of a trick question – there are no valid drug free options that will kill the larval (L3 and L4) stages of heartworm (the little guys in the subcutaneous tissue and bloodstream – ick) but all the medications are VERY safe and used at VERY low doses compared to other things they are used for.So I always always recommend staying on heartworm preventative medications even though there ARE good non-drug ways to decrease mosquito exposure – you just can’t keep every one away.

Georgia Little Pea…I would say your Mama wins coffee for making me think through that question!  Again…as soon as I have my private jet I will come right over!  *sigh*

Next Month: How do these medications work?  Plus I will address any other questions you have!  Let’s do what we did in February – we can discuss it all in “real time” in the comments (or over coffee if you win the contest!) and I will also incorporate your questions and answers into the next month’s post.

Today’s Checklist…

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Max the Cat – topical Revolution

Joy the Puppy received a Proheart injection on February 1, 2011 which has a six month duration.  Thus, she got a biscuit at the exact second Noodle got his Wormshield tablet, which they both deemed “fair.”

*UPDATE: Dad did indeed win the contest – the reference is to the show SOAP, which my parents loved when I was a kid…I think as much as Russ and I love Scrubs.  Dad tied with Russ, who yelled “SOAP!” as I was posting the picture.  I initially called cheating, but revised my ruling to a tie and will be taking both of my favorite guys out for coffee next week.

:)

Happy Heartworm-Free February!

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Reminder:

If you give your pets heartworm preventative medication on the first…it’s the first!

Heartworm Preventative Medication

The following is a list of prescription medications available in varying combinations and permutations from your veterinarian.  (If you see any I missed, let me know and I will add them!)  Getting the weight-based dose and species correct is super important AND your veterinarian has your pet’s medical history which could impact which preventative is ideal.  So please get your veterinarian’s input in choosing which medication is best for your pet!

The brand names are listed first, with the active ingredient against heartworm disease in parenthesis.  Many of these medications also protect against other parasites.  I can add that information too if you would like!  You really only need to know which meds YOUR pet is on, but isn’t veterinary information FUN??

Dogs

Heartgard Plus (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Iverhart Max (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Tri-heart Plus (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Wormshield (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Interceptor (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Sentinel (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Trifexis (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication – new!

Advantage Multi (moxidectin) – monthly topical medication

Revolution (selamectin) – monthly topical medication

Proheart 6 (moxidectin) – sustained release injectable medication, given every six months (a form given every twelve months, Proheart 12, is available in Australia and parts of Asia)

Cats

Heartgard (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Interceptor (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Advantage Multi (moxidectin) – monthly topical medication

Revolution (selamectin) – monthly topical medication

Ferrets

Heartgard (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

My checklist for today:

Ebony Dog – Wormshield tablet

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Joy the Puppy – Proheart injection

Max the Cat – topical Revolution

Princess the Gerbil – no prophylaxis needed*

*Since Princess is not susceptible to heartworm disease, she, Max and Joy get snacks since Ebony and Noodle get oral medication so as not to feel left out, which they would all argue is MORE important than having a heartworm-free household.

Potentially Helpful Links…

#barkoutloud Heartworm Discussion Notes

Heartworm Disease on Riley and James

(This one was written when I treated the dogs seasonally and poor Max the Cat not at all – now I treat everyone year-round!)

Heartworm Disease and Omaha Pets – Wuzzy Chronicles

American Heartworm Society Website

Coming Soon to The Riley and James Heartworm Series!

March 2011…Safety of heartworm preventative medication – Is it safe to give my Collie heartworm preventative medication?  Why is Joy the Puppy getting Proheart but not the old dogs?  Are some pets developing heartworm preventative medication resistance?  Are there valid drug-free options for preventing heartworm disease?  If you have other questions or concerns, let me know, and we will address those too!

(Do not wait until next month’s post if you need to know the answers to these questions now – ask me or ask your local vet – do not worry about spoiling the surprise!)

April 2011…How do these medications work?

May, June, July…I have not planned that far ahead!  What do YOU want to know about heartworm disease??  THAT is what we will talk about!