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: Jun 11, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Comparison
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Question:How does Heartguard vary from Triheart?

Answer:Not much: it is the same active ingredient, but made by a different manufacturer.

Date: Jun 3, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Best Alternative?
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Question:My dog tested positive for heartworms and I'm wanting to know the best alternative treatment for this. I don't want to do the shot as I have an energetic dog who will not sit in a kennel or anywhere for that long. I also work a full time job so I cannot always keep him inside as I don't work from home either. My dog is on Trifexus currently and I also have the antibiotics that are needed before getting shots, so i'm unsure if those are even needed if I am wanting to do an alternative method of treatment.

Answer:You definitely don't want to give Trifexis - only use an ivermectin based heartworm preventative like Heartgard. Here is a good article about treating heartworms, written by another veterinarian, from a site that I trust - she discusses the alternative method of treatment for heartworms in the last paragraph: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951486

Date: Jun 3, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Sentinel for Heartworm Prevention
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Question:I have 2 dogs. One is a 7 year old female pomsky weighing 37 lbs. named Starla that I have had since 6months old. The other dog we rescued at 5 months old and has now just turned 1 year old. He is a carolina dog weighing 52 lbs. named Rocket. The rescue group gave us a supply of Heartgard for Rocket when we adopted him. He just took his last dose. For next month, I was thinking of switching him to Sentinel, as this is what Starla has been taking her whole life and seems to do well on it. Sentinel comes based on weight. The box we get for Starla is for the weight group of 26lbs - 50lbs. Would this be ok for Rocket, too? Or is the 2 lbs. over significant? Thank you!

Answer:Get him the appropriate weight range, so 51-100.

Date: May 27, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Sentinel for Heartworm Prevention
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Question:My husband and I recently rescued a carolina dog named Rocket. He is currently 1 year old and just weighed in at 52 lbs. We were given Heartgard once monthly for him from the adoption agency but now we ran out. Our other dog (7 year old pomsky female named Starla) has been taking Sentinel monthly her whole life for heartworm prevention and has never had a problem, so we'd like to switch him to that so they're on the same thing. My question is about the weight recommendations on the box of Sentinel. The one we have buying for Starla is the 26-50lbs. box because she is 37 lbs. Since Rocket is 52 lbs. can he take this, too, or does the 2 lbs. really make a significant difference? Thank you for your help!

Answer:I can't recommend underdosing like that. Call and speak directly to the manufacturer for the best advice - their contact information should be on the packaging or package insert.

Date: May 27, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: questionable missed dose
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Question:My dogs take heartguard and I cant remember if I gave it this month. Was due on the 10th, now the 27th; should I give it now in case if missed it or wait? Thank you!

Answer:It would probably be safer to go ahead and give it. Call and speak directly to the manufacturer if your pet has any health issues or is a breed that might be sensitive to the ivermectin active ingredient. Their contact information should be on the box or on the package insert.

Date: May 26, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Dog threw up a bit after taking pill
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Question:My chihuahua got into the cats wet food. I didn’t think about her having a bad stomach reaction as I looked at the calendar and realized it’s been 30 days it’s time for her pill I gave my dog her interceptor she ate a few pieces of kibble additionally . About 20-30 min later she threw up. I did try and see if I could find it in the vomit(gross) as she swallows it/won’t chew it. I did find cat food and a piece of kibble but nothing definite the pill . Should I give her another dose? If so should I wait a day or so?

Answer:Call and speak directly to the manufacturer for the best advice - their contact information should be on the box and/or package insert.

Date: May 23, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: prescription
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Question:Hello. Our vet will not write a Rx for heartworm pills unless we vaccinate our dogs. My husband feels that is an unnecessary and that they are over vaccinated. We live out in the country and our dogs are very loved and taken care of. Is it necessary to have a Rx to order heartworm pills on 1800petmeds?

Answer:Yes, the prescription must be approved by a veterinarian that has met your pet face-to-face. It's unusual to require a lot of vaccinations for heartworm pills - they may require Rabies (required by law in most states) and a heartworm test, but you can usually decline all the other vaccines. Hope that helps.

Date: May 20, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Missed medication
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Question:I missed my dog’s heartworm med for 2 months can I resume giving to him w/o a test?

Answer:Usually, but it depends on the medication. Feel free to submit another question with which heartworm medication you use and I will try to help you.

Date: May 20, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Tri-Heart Plus
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Question:I want to buy Tri-Heart Plus for my dog. 6 month supply.

Answer:Sure - here is a direct link to Tri-Heart Plus: https://www.1800petmeds.com/Tri-Heart+Plus-prod10413.html (A veterinarian that has met your dog face-to-face will legally have to approve the prescription.)

Date: May 18, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Legitimate online heartworm test
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Question:Hi, Is there any way to send a sample of my dogs feces through the mail to acquire a prescription to purchase heartgard for my dogs? Or is the only legitimate way to take the dogs to a vet for the prescription.

Answer:All heartworm tests require a blood sample, so yes, you will need to see your local veterinarian.

Date: May 11, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Dewormer
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Question:Hello, My fur baby is A Morkie Puppy that's 6 months old 5 lb he takes sentinels spectrum chews monthly I would like to know is this something that he's going to have to take monthly the rest of his life or is it a certain time frame he takes his medicine how does it work he's never had worms before if that helps nor fleas.

Answer:It depends on where you live and the incidence of heartworm disease there - parasitologists recommend monthly year round, forever for dogs that live in the continental United States.

Date: May 6, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Heartworm medication
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Question:How do I go about purchasing heart worm medications for my dog when the site says I need a prescription?

Answer:A veterinarian that has met your dog face-to-face (and ideally tested for heartworms) must approve any prescriptions.

Date: May 3, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Simparica trio
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Question:My dog is a 18 month old, 10lb Maltichon Yorkie mix and has trouble with Heartgard (possibly too strong for her since their lowest dosage goes up to 25lb) vet is recommending Simparica trio. I'm reading on the literature provided that Simparica trio causes kidney, liver, and seizures with long term usage. Has this drug been tested long term and what are the chances of this happening to my pup?

Answer:All medications have potential side effects. Contact the manufacturer for the exact percentage chance of side effects but it is very low.

Date: May 1, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Prevention
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Question:Want to buy heartworm prevention product.

Answer:There are many options - here is a direct link: https://www.1800petmeds.com/search?q=heartworm%20prevention

Date: Apr 20, 2021
Category: Heartworm Disease
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: forgot to give heartworm med
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Question:I had my dog tested 4 months ago for heartworm, all was good. I gave the med Jan 28 and Feb 28 but forgot March, we are April 20 and wanted to know if its ok to give her the med without having her checked again. She is a 3 year beagle that is always home only goes out to the back yard.

Answer:It entirely depends on which heartworm preventative you use. Most are safe to start back, but some are not. Feel free to message me back with exactly which one she takes.

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