The Facts About Heartworm Prevention and Testing

The Facts About Heartworm Prevention and Testing

It has come to my attention that there are several misconceptions about how heartworm prevention and testing work. To clarify this matter, I would like to address how heartworm prevention works against heartworms and how the testing works to detect heartworm disease.

Most types of heartworm prevention prevent against intestinal parasites and heartworm disease - it is more accurate to refer to heartworm prevention as parasite prevention. Heartworm prevention for the most part consists of some type of antiparasitic medication such as Ivermectin, Milbemycin oxime, Selemectin, or several others.  Depending on the type of prevention, it is also combined with an antiparasitic for intestinal parasites. In order to understand how the prevention works, we need to briefly review the heartworm life-cycle.

Heartworms are transmitted via the bite of a mosquito.  A mosquito will land on an infected dog (or coyote) and ingest blood that is infected with baby heartworms (also known as microfilaria or larvae).  These baby heartworms have to mature in the mosquito for about 10 - 14 days.  After that time they are ready to move on.  The next time that mosquito bites a dog the larvae are deposited on the dog and they crawl through the hole and into the dog's body.  They spend about 2 months in the tissues of the dog maturing and working their way to the heart and into the bloodstream.  They then spend another 3 to 5 months developing into fully mature adult heartworms.  At this stage they are living in the heart and the arteries within the lungs, and they begin to produce larvae or microfilaria of their own.  Then the cycle begins all over again.

Heartworm prevention kills off the microfilaria within the dog's body.  It does not work on adult heartworms that are already mature in the heart and lungs of the dog.  It actually works by what is known as a reach back method.  So when you are giving your dog heartworm prevention, you are actually killing all the microfilaria that have been deposited on your dog over the last 30 days.  I know that in the holistic community there is debate about giving heartworm year round.  One of the reasons year round is recommended is that it is thought that 30% of heartworm positive dogs are infected during the winter months.  I believe that this is because people stop giving prevention too soon.  Some people stop giving heartworm prevention in November or December.  The problem is that if you stop in these months you are not killing off any microfilaria that were given to your dog in October or November.  Most of the time, October is certainly warm enough for there to still be mosquitoes out transmitting heartworm disease.  I do not say this to start a debate about what is the best method, but to help people understand better how to use whichever method they are using.

There also seems to be a misconception about how heartworm testing works.  Many of the people who do not do heartworm prevention year round do a heartworm test in the spring before they start their dog on heartworm prevention.  This is great if you are looking to follow manufacturer recommendations so they will cover treatment if your pet comes up positive (you also have to retest in 6 months, and keep your dog on prevention year round), but not so much if you are looking to determine if your dog became positive while they were off prevention over the winter.  The most commonly used heartworm tests are what are called ELISA tests and they are testing for a protein that mature female heartworms produce.  Therefore, looking back on the lifecycle, if your dog is infected with heartworms the soonest you will be able to tell is 5 - 7 months AFTER they were infected with heartworm disease.  

To summarize, heartworm prevention is actually better termed parasite prevention.  It has a 30 day reach-back effect and kills heartworm larvae that were deposited over the last 30 days.  Finally, the testing can not detect a positive dog until 5 - 7 months after they have been infected.  I hope this clears up some of the confusion about heartworm disease, please let us know if you have any questions we can clarify for you.  Also, some great information can be found on the American Heartworm Society's website https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources.

 

Fitness and Conditioning Seminar

Introduction to Fitness at Conditioning Seminar.

Our second Introduction to Fitness and Conditioning Seminar will be held at Lucky Dog Academy in Plainfield from 7 - 10 pm on Friday July 24th.  During the seminar we will cover the basics of fitness and conditioning, including work needed for your sport, body mechanics, warm-ups and cool-downs, and basic fitness exercises.  Feel free to contact us for more information.  Working spots will be $60 and Auditing spots will be $30.

Call us at 630-923-5383 or email us at rtgvetrehab@gmail.com to reserve your spot today!!  We are looking forward to seeing you all there!!  

Exciting Times

It is a very exciting time here at Ready to Go Veterinary Rehabilitation.  Dr. Woodside starts Acupuncture certification training the second week in June.  She is taking the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society certification course.  We are really looking forward to the new and exciting things this will bring to our practice.  If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of acupuncture or the certification program that Dr. Woodside is taking you can find more information here:  https://www.ivas.org/about-ivas/what-is-veterinary-acupuncture/.  Of course you can always call us any time to see if your dog is a candidate for Acupuncture and we would love to discuss that with you.

Also, we are in the planning stages for another Introduction to Canine Fitness and Conditioning Seminar.  It will most likely be hosted Friday July 24th from 7 - 10 pm.  The location is still TBA, but contact us if you are interested in attending and we will add you to the list.

As always thank to to our amazing clients for helping us on our journey.  Have a great day!!

FITNESS AND CONDITIONING SEMINAR

On April 17th we will be giving our first fitness and conditioning seminar at Dash K-9 Sports in Geneva, IL from 7 - 10 pm - Fitness and Conditioning 1.  Come out and have some fun learning the basics of fitness and conditioning for your sport companion.  

During the seminar we will cover the basics of fitness and conditioning, including work needed for your sport, body mechanics, warm-ups and cool-downs, and basic fitness exercises.  Feel free to contact us for more information.  Working spots will be $50 and Auditing spots will be $35 - Continuing our Grand Opening Special Pricing.

We are looking forward to seeing you all there!!

Thank you and April Weekends

Hi There!!

Well, so far week one is in the books and we had a really great week.  I am overwhelmed with the support we have received from all of you.  Thank you so much!!  We wouldn't be successful if it we didn't have great clients like you!!

Looking forward to April.  Our weekend plans for right now are to be at the UKI trial at Lucky Dog Academy on April 18th and 19th pending Heather's approval and we will be at the Chew on This Dog Barkery in Frankfort on Saturday April 25th.  Call now to start scheduling your appointments, since I'm sure weekends will fill quickly (630 - 923 - 5383).  We look forward to meeting you and your furry friend or re-visiting old friends!!

Finally, if we have treated your dog or cat, send us a picture and we'll add your fur kid to our patient gallery!!

Take care and have an awesome day!!

Counting Down the Days

Almost there, just a little over a week before we are officially open!!  I am so excited about this new adventure!!  

In honor of our grand opening, we will be waiving first appointment fees for the first month.  Instead of a first visit fee, we will just be charging for the visit or for chiropractic depending on what you are bringing your pet in for.

Also keep looking for our Saturday locations and hours.  We will be at the UKI trial at Lucky Dog Academy on March 21st, call to schedule an appointment or schedule with us in the morning that day.

Have an awesome day everyone!!

 

 

Opening March 2015

I am excited to announce that we will be opening March 16, 2015.  On our contacts page you can see our hours of operation and our locations.  Feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email with any questions you may have.  We are really looking forward to working with you in the future!!  Stay tuned for Grand Opening Specials!!