Ask the Vet About Heartworms in Dogs and Cats

Ask the Vet About Heartworms in Dogs and Cats
Dr. MichaelDym
Dr. Michael Dym

As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Dym has over 19 years of experience and dedication to enhancing the overall health and well-being of pets. His commitment and passion for pet health continuously drives him to learn more about the art and science of homeopathy through ongoing training and education.

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Date: Jan 10, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Heartworm
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Question:How many inches long are adult heartworms?

Answer:They can get up to 14 inches long.

Date: Jan 9, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Trifexis vs Simpatica Trio
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Question:My dog is currently taking Trifexis and I found that the park I go to has ticks and is not covered by Trifexis. I have ordered Simpatica Trio and was wondering how quickly I can start my dog on Simpatica Trio. It is Jan 9 and her last dose of Trifexis was on Jan 1. I would also like to know how quickly Simpatica Trio starts working so I can start taking her back to the park to play.

Answer:Call and speak directly to the Simparica TRIO manufacturer's veterinarian for the best advice. Their contact information should be on the box or package insert.

Date: Jan 4, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: My dog expelled his monthly heartguard plus med a day after he got it. This is the 2nd month he has done this. He vomited it up It was still whole but smaller in size and very hard.
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Question:Should I give him another or try something else? He has been on Heartguard Plus for years.

Answer:That is really odd. I would call and speak directly to the manufacturer's veterinarian about that - they will ask you a lot more questions (how often he normally vomits, any diarrhea, weight loss, etc.). There are MANY causes of vomiting, so seeing your veterinarian to rule out other causes is certainly ideal if it continues and isn't always related to the Heartgard.

Date: Jan 1, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Seasonal Heartworm Preventative
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Question:Is it safe to stop heartworm preventative December thru April or when temps stay below 57 degrees. I am worried about the neurotoxicity of the medication. Thank you.

Answer:No - the veterinary parasitologist recommend giving it year round if you live in the continental United States.

Date: Dec 11, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: When to worry about complications?
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Question:Hello, we adopted our dog 3 weeks ago heartworm positive from the shelter. She's scheduled for her adulticide shots in a month. I know that heavy breathing, lethargy and a cough are symptoms of heartworm disease, is there any symptom I should watch out for that says "call the vet now" while we wait for her shot appointment? Something like coughing blood, blood in stool, etc.? I know the breathing/coughing is just something we have to wait out and keep her relaxed.

Answer:Coughing - or worsening or the coughing is the biggest thing, but not eating well, vomiting and lethargy are some other things to watch for.

Date: Dec 6, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Prevention
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Question:Hello Is there a prevention medication for heart worms, hookworms, fleas and ticks combined. Thank you

Answer:Yes, Simparica Trio just came out & covers all of those. Here is a link if you would like to read about it: https://www.1800petmeds.com/Simparica+TRIO-prod12499.html

Date: Nov 28, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Dog is extreme weight loss
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Question:Hello How are you doing I’m concerned for my dog I don’t have much money I was told to treat heart worms is $500.-$1000.00 Is there anything I can do His symptoms are extreme weight loss Bulging ribs A cough

Answer:Ask your veterinarian about the "slow kill method" - it is not as ideal but better than doing nothing.

Date: Nov 24, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Medication
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Question: Our 5 year old black lab changed heartworm medication from Tri-heart to interceptor plus. He has had 2 seizures since taking this medication. Should we switch back to Tri-Heart? He never had any side effects. Or is there a natural alternative?

Answer:That is more than likely not the cause, but if switching back is easy to do, sure, try it. No, there is not a natural alternative.

Date: Nov 8, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Giving Heartgard pluse
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Question:My puggle is 15 years old and has an auto immune disease and can’t have her yearly shots anymore. Can I give her the Heartworm monthly chewable. She is an indoor dog and gets walked on a leash.Does she need a blood test? Could anything happen to her if I give the Heartworm chewable to her with out the test?

Answer:Heartgard Plus should not affect her autoimmune disease - getting heartworms would not be good so yes, she should have the preventative. A test is ideal, especially if she has missed any months.

Date: Nov 6, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Heartworm and flea/tick meds
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Question:How many months should we feed our dog the heartworm and tick/flea meds? He's a 10 month old mini goldendoodle.

Answer:If you are in the continental United States, parasitologists recommend year round. If you are not, or if you are in the extreme northern states, contact your local veterinarian for the best advice.

Date: Oct 29, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Heartworm
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Question:I have missed 2 months of heart worm preventative for my Roti. He now has a cough not regularly. Should I take him to get tested, or should I buy a months dosage for heartworm prevention and administer?

Answer:Both actually - get him started back as soon as you can & the parasitologist say test now and again in 6 months.

Date: Oct 26, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: missed 4months of heartworm preventative!
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Question:I just realized that i haven't given my 9yr old and 2 yr old dog their heartworm in 4 or 5 months! Otherwise, i have been very diligent in giving it to them monthly. The 9yr old had her annual check up 3months ago and was negative for heartworm. Do you recommend I start them back on their preventative (triheart) as soon as possible or you think i should take them both in for another test? thank you.

Answer:Yes, start Tri-Heart back immediately. Parasitologists will say to test now and again in 6 months after the last missed dosage to know for sure.

Date: Sep 15, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: preventing
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Question:which is better . Sentinel or heartgard

Answer:They both prevent heartworms well - Sentinel has added flea protection, but isn't as strong for fleas as adding something like NExgard or Bravecto to HEartgard which covers ticks while Sentinel does not.

Date: Sep 8, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Heartworm positive & nutritional needs
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Question:While visiting my parents at the end of July I found a dog in thier back yard. After not being able to find the owners I decided to keep him. While getting him checked out at the vet for vaccines and what not he tested positive for heartworms. The xrays show inflammation in the arteries going from the heart to the lungs and blood work shows poor liver and kidney function. I was instructed to keep him on a low protein, low phosphorus, low sodium diet. Is there a dry kibble you recommend other than hills science diet k/d? Also treats?

Answer:The prescription diets work the best - a few different companies carry them: Science Diet K/D, like you mentioned, then Blue Buffalo carries this one (https://www.chewy.com/blue-buffalo-natural-veterinary-diet/dp/174497) and Purina carries this one (https://www.chewy.com/purina-pro-plan-veterinary-diets-nf/dp/49995) and Royal Canin carries these: https://www.royalcanin.com/us/dogs/products/renal

Date: Jul 23, 2020
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Heartworm medication
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Question:Earlier I ask to compare tri heart plus to heart guard plus you said they were the same so would you consider tri heart plus and feel ok about it keeping my dog Heartworm free

Answer:Yes, definitely.

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