Who else has missed a dose of heartworm prevention? from 1-800-PetMeds

posted: 03/29/2014      view all 1-800-PetMeds coupon posts    Print
What to do when you've missed your pet's heartworm preventative dose
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What to do when you've missed your pet's heartworm preventative dose
MICHAEL DYM, VMD
Missed a dose of your pet's heartworm preventative? Immediately testing for heartworms isn't necessary
A common question pet parents will often ask me is: If they miss a month of heartworm medicine, what do they need to do? Many times clients are given inappropriate information by both their friends and maybe even some veterinarians. It is not necessary to have a pet immediately tested for heartworms if they have missed a month of heartworm medicine.
The reason for this is because it takes at least 6 months for a dog to become heartworm-positive if he or she is bitten by mosquitoes carrying heartworms. Also, most of the monthly heartworm medicines have a safety factor of at least 15 days of protection if a dose is missed.
The simplest answer to those who miss a month of heartworm prevention is to give the pill immediately and restart the monthly preventative schedule. At the time of an annual or semi-annual exam, a routine blood heartworm test is recommended, along with a complete wellness exam and/or vaccinations and other laboratory testing if appropriate. While I encourage pet parents to maintain their monthly heartworm preventative scheduling, accidentally missing a dose will not be a health risk or harmful to their pets in these isolated circumstances.
However, pet parents should not pick and choose their own schedule of monthly heartworm medication administration. Irregular use of many medicines such as prescribed antibiotics and/or parasitic medication may be associated with the development of resistant strains of parasites. It is hard to predict when heartworm transmission season ends or begins in many areas of the country. In fact, heartworm-carrying mosquitoes have been seen even in colder months in some areas of the country.
Monthly oral heartworm medicines like Trifexis, Sentinel, or Heartgard Plus also help control and prevent other parasites such as intestinal worms, which can occur any time of year in most areas of the country.
Oftentimes pet owners will ask why heartworm prevention is so important. I tell them:
 
Heartworm disease is preventable.
 
Heartworm disease has been documented in all 50 states throughout the year.
 
Heartworm infection can cause varying degrees of heart and lung pathology in dogs and cats.
 
This disease can lead to various symptoms from exercise intolerance, coughing, possible heart failure, vomiting, lethargy, abdominal distention, and in some cases, scarily enough, sudden death.
It is for these reasons and more that the American Heartworm Society recommends year-round heartworm preventative medication for dogs and cats.
ABOUT MICHAEL DYM, VMD
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.
More related pet education articles
 
Protecting Your Pet Against Heartworms
 
Don't Skip Your Pet's Heartworm Prevention
 
Heartworms in Dogs and Cats
 
Heartworm Disease FAQs
 
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