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Old 12-20-2010, 01:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Mandatory Heartworm testing at 6 months?

Maiya has had 4 doses of Interceptor (she just turned 7 months old) and is due for her 5th dose this week. According to her regular vet, she is due for her HW test in March - which will be her first heartworm test.

Since I've also taken her to a vet clinic which is closer to our house on 2 occasions (and they have the vet records from her regular vet), I thought I would save myself a trip and just get the Interceptor from the vet near us. However, they said that she needs a heartworm test since she is over 6 months old - even though I explained she has been on preventative all this time.

Just wondering if anyone else had to have their puppy tested at 6 months even though the puppy had been on preventative since they were old enough to start taking it.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've got two thoughts on it....I had a Vet who provided ALL heartworm meds to both of my dogs...who's records were in his office (one dog for 13 years).....who could SEE that I never smidged on a single dose ever. However, he would never let me go without a test (and this is Montana, where there might 8 cases in the whole state each year)...I figured he saw the testing as part of his well deserved bread and butter (he also tried to push yearly vac's....which I refused to do, but it was a batter every single year)....

The Vet I go to now, KNOWS I'm not going to take a chance even here in Montana that my dog might be one of those 8 cases per year....and Moj has only been tested once....

I understand that a Vet can't take a chance that some people would actually lie about it, in order to skip the test....what's your gut feeling? Is this going to be a once or twice a year deal with this Vet? If that's the case, then I'd see it as bread and butter time....your pocket to his...

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Old 12-21-2010, 08:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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My understanding is that even while on preventative, a dog can contract HW. According the the American Heartworm Society:

How often should I have my dog tested for heartworm infection?

answer Annual testing is recommended for several important reasons. First, many of us do not take our own medications as directed let alone medicate our pets. We're busy; we forget; we miss a dose here and there. Second, even if you never miss a dose there is nothing to prevent your dog from eating some grass and vomiting up the medication you just gave. Your pet would be without protection for an entire month. Third, if your pet accidentally became infected with heartworms, your veterinarian needs to detect it as soon as possible before irreversible heart and lung damage occur. Early detection and treatment are always best. Finally, some heartworm tests now come combined with tests that monitor other significant diseases (Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis). With annual testing, you know your pet is heartworm free and not infected with these serious tick-borne diseases, some of which could affect family members. The tests are quick and accurate and make sure your pet is free from infection. Annual testing provides peace of mind in knowing that your pet is free of heartworms, and should your pet be infected, it assures you of early diagnosis.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I've also read that most state veterinary laws require an exam or heartworm test before renewing a prescription. And some sites state that no medication is 100% effective. My understanding is also that if your pet is on preventative year round and tested, the drug manufacturers will cover the cost of treatment should your pet get HW. I would have to research this more to validate some of this, but considering the cost of testing is low, I would rather be safe than sorry.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It IS possible for a dog to get heartworm while on prevention, which I think is the most compelling reason to test even if you've been faithful about giving preventative. My vet also has a policy that she tests every dog around 6 months no matter what - I don't know if that's law or just a policy to decrease liability if somehow the dog DID contract heartworm in the first 6 months of its life (which would be pretty unusual).

In general I think vets WAY overreact about heartworm, but they kind of have to, or people wouldn't pay attention at all. With that said, if I were you I would talk to my vet about NOT giving prevention in the winter.. it is totally unnecessary in Montana. Check out the maps on this site. - Terrierman's Daily Dose -
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jennie ATX View Post
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My vet also has a policy that she tests every dog around 6 months no matter what - I don't know if that's law or just a policy to decrease liability if somehow the dog DID contract heartworm in the first 6 months of its life (which would be pretty unusual).
So it seems that some other vets have the policy to check at 6 months.

I didn't know if the new vet just didn't trust that Maiya had been on meds all this time or if it is part of the clinic's protocol to test every puppy at 6 months. I wasn't able to talk to the vet directly yesterday.

I'll need to ask our regular vet why she requires a blood test in March instead of after 1 year on HW meds or at 6 months of age. Maybe it is timed to get tested before the warm(er) weather in Illinois begins. ?? I also wondered if it took that long before heartworm would show up in a test in puppies - especially if the puppy had begun taking HW preventative as soon as possible.

Our other 2 Dobes were on Heartworm meds year round and did get tested yearly. Our vet at the time required yearly testing.

Last edited by R2reddobes; 12-21-2010 at 02:48 PM..
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