Jenn, I look forward to reading the 4-Paws column each issue and appreciate how you sincerely advise and suggest on a variety of different topics to help all sorts of readers. My inquiry is about Heartguard. In the past, I have heard that this disease is really only an issue in the Midwest and in the southern states along the boarder where it is moist and damp. I am beginning to travel more and I want my dog- Spade, a 3-year-old Shepard-mix, protected. Can I just order the meds online and start the monthly treatment?
Hope to see you on the road, Katherine
JENN: Katherine, Thank you for the kind words and your submission on how to go about adding Heartguard to your dogs monthly routine. All dogs, in all 50 states and in all parts of the world are at risk to potentially be bitten by one mosquito that is infected with Heartworm larvae, the organism Dirofilaria immitis, a parasitic nematode (roundworm). It’s true that heartworm is mainly an epidemic in areas where the climate is subtropical and tropical and is common along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and the Mississippi and Ohio River Basins. But just one bite by an infected mosquito is all it takes to infect you dog! To better explain; The insect bites and transmits the larvae that pass into the tissues and bloodstream of your pet. In 47-67 days, they reach the arteries of the lungs where they continue to grow and really begin to do harm. These blood vessels connect to the heart and the worms spend their adult lives in right side of the animal’s heart. In 6 months, Heartworm larvae are adults and once they arrive in the heart and lungs, they can really do damage. All breeds and ages of dogs are at risk for infection and the signs range from none at all to shortness of breath and trouble breathing and even death. It is critical that prior to starting Heartguard Plus (a safe, widely used monthly oral dewormer) your pet have a blood test to be 100% certain that he or she is not already infected with the Heartworms. Precautionary treatment with Heartguard medication to a dog that is already infected can be fatal, so please do NOT buy your product on-line without knowing for certain that your dog is Heartworm CLEAR. Heartguard Plus needs to be given lifelong and each month to ensure protection against this very common danger. If your pet has developed Heartworms, there are treatment options, but prevention is always the best medicine. I give my dogs Heartguard Plus in the blue label (up to 25 lbs) every 30 days, 12 months a year. Dogs weighting 26-50 lbs are the green label and 51-100 lbs are brown Heartguard Plus label. My dogs have been on Hearguard every month since they were 6 weeks old- the earliest age a puppy can receive the medication- so I have never done a blood test on them as adults. In order to get a RX for the meds from my vet, I have to sign a waiver that explains the risk of not completing a blood test prior to the prescription being given out. If you dog has never been on Heartguard Plus, do the bloodtest and be diligent about the monthly medication. Ask about the less expensive, generic pill form as well as the highly palatable & chewable Heartguard Plus. In addition to killing heartworm larvae, monthly deworming with Heartguard Plus also protects your pet against 2 species of roundworms and 3 species of hookworms. For the cost of a fancy latte/mochachino, we can all afford to protect our dogs from acquiring heartworms each month. Thank you for this excellent question on a very important matter of the HEART. <3
Hi, Jenn! 6 friends and I are heading out to explore some of the Thousand Trails parks in Washington this fall and are planning for some big time tent camping and hiking adventures. We all have dogs- yes, that will be 10 dogs total!, and are thinking ahead to what might be a functional, comfortable, lightweight, cool and warm, packable dog bed each of us can buy to best support our canine companions. I’m already taking your advise and using Primal’s Freeze Dried dog food full time for lightweight, superior nutrition so thanks for that tip! Looking forward to hearing what you suggest bedding wise.
Cheers & Woofs, Dillon and Joey the Aussie
JENN: Dillon, It sounds to me like your entire crew is dog-gonne lucky to be able to make this epic dream a reality! The Washington TT Parks are where we are headed this Summer and Fall! I’m thrilled that the Primal is working out so well for Joey- it is the ultimate for canine (& feline!) nutrition and packability. For your pets sleeping needs, check out Ruffwear’s Highlands Sleeping Bag- MSRP $99.00. This lightweight, compressible dog sized sleeping bag doubles as a warm, snuggly bed and soft, durable matt for superior comfort from the hard, damp ground. This mini sleeping bag doubles as a fireside foot warmer and is wide enough for your small to medium sized pet to bed down between your knees. The Highland packs up into itself for easy storage onto your backpack when not in use. Enjoy your trip!