Can you give dog heartworm medicine without testing?

Asked By: Andro Zhernokleev | Last Updated: 19th January, 2020
Category: pets fish and aquariums
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It's important to never give Heartgard to any pet that has not been tested for heartworm disease. Heartworm preventative medication such as Heartgard cannot kill adult heartworms, but instead kills the baby heartworms known as microfilariae.

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Similarly, you may ask, can I start my dog on heartworm medicine without testing?

Puppies under 7 months of age can be started on heartworm prevention without a heartworm test (it takes at least 6 months for a dog to test positive after it has been infected), but should be tested 6 months after your initial visit, tested again 6 months later and yearly after that to ensure they are heartworm-free.

Similarly, do you need a prescription for heartworm medicine for dogs? Giving a dog heartworm medication is easier, safer, cheaper and more compassionate than treating a dog after they have developed heartworm disease. All FDA-approved heartworm preventatives require a prescription, so you will need to visit your veterinarian before purchasing heartworm medicine for dogs.

Similarly, how long can a dog go without heartworm pills?

Most of the monthly heartworm medicines have a safety factor of at least 15 days of protection if a dose is missed. This means that if you're just a week or two late, your pet is likely still within that window of protection and would be unlikely to become infected during that time.

What happens if you don't give your dog heartworm pills?

If you don't test for the disease and your dog is infected, the heartworm disease will gradually progress and cause serious, life-threatening illness. This can happen even if you continue to give heartworm medication because those medications kill only early stage larvae.

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How likely is it for a dog to get heartworms?

Now let's do some math. The risk of a dog's being infected with heartworm disease each year is 250,000 out of 50,000,000; this translates to one in 200 dogs becoming infected each year. The chance that you will be diagnosed with cancer this year is about one in 200—the same odds as a dog's acquiring heartworm disease.

Is heartworm medication really necessary?

If there are no mosquitoes present, there is no need to use heartworm prevention. Many veterinarians recommend using heartworm prevention year round to prevent intestinal parasites. It can also be helpful for pet parents to establish a routine of giving heartworm prevention at the same time every month.

What are the first signs of heartworms in dogs?

Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen.

Does heartworm treatment shorten a dog's life?

This treatment does not actually kill the worms, however it does decrease their lifespan; keep in mind, however, that the average heartworm can live six years, so shortening that lifespan could still mean your dog having a heartworm infection for four more years.

How much does heartworm prevention cost?

The American Animal Hospital Association places the average cost of preventative heartworm treatment for dogs at $5-$15 per month, and the cost of treating a dog already diagnosed with heartworm at $400-$1,000. With both prevention and treatment, costs typically increase with the weight of the dog.

Is heartworm medicine necessary in winter?

Use Heartworm Prevention Medication Year-Round
That's one reason veterinarians often recommend that pets receive heartworm prevention medication all year long. Animal owners who stop giving heartworm prevention medication during the winter run the risk of their animal contracting heartworms.

Are heartworms painful for dogs?

Unlike medications that are used to prevent heartworm in dogs, the medications that are used to kill an advanced stage heartworm infection carry a higher rate of potential side effects, can be painful for the dog and are costly to the owner.

Where can I buy heartworm medicine for my dog?

Prescription Heartworm Medicine for Dogs
There are four heartworm medicines for dogs that Petco carries—Heartgard, Iverhart, Sentinel, and Tri-Heart. The active ingredient Ivermectin is used in Heartgard, Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus, and Tri-Heart Plus.

Can garlic kill heartworms in dogs?

The Truth: While garlic may be effective against other pests that plague your dog, the same isn't true with heartworms. So, in essence, garlic may be able to help you prevent heartworms but not get rid of them. Garlic also has a catch: it is poisonous. If taken in huge amounts, garlic can be toxic for dogs.

Can you overdose your dog on heartworm medicine?

Toxicity can occur if a dog is given an excessive dose of the medication (10 to 20 times the recommended dose). Additionally, certain dogs are genetically hypersensitive to the medication. In these dogs, ivermectin can pass directly to the brain and be toxic or even lethal.

Is there a natural way to kill heartworms in dogs?

These herbs include pumpkin seed, wormwood, clove, sage, garlic, and more. While the product is intended for treating parasitic organisms in humans, some dog owners have tried giving it to their dogs for heartworm infestations.

What does it sound like when a dog has heartworms?

Unlike a regular cough or a kennel cough, which is strong and sporadic, a heartworm- related cough is dry and persistent. In the early stages, the cough may be induced by even small amounts of exercise, as the heartworm parasites make their way into the lungs, creating blockage and discomfort.

What if my dog missed a heartworm pill?

A: Give the dose you missed immediately, then continue giving the medication on the day you've always given it. If the missed dose is more than 2 weeks late, your dog should be tested for heartworm again in six months (click here to learn why).

What is the safest heartworm medication for dogs?

The two most common (and generally considered safe) heartworm preventative ingredients used today are ivermectin (used in Heartgard by Merial, and other products) and milbemycin oxime (used in Interceptor by Novartis).

Can you give Heartgard to a dog with heartworms?

There are treatment options available to kill adult heartworms in dogs that have become infected. Treating dogs with heartworm disease starts with a thorough physical examination by the veterinarian. HEARTGARD Plus is safe and effective in any breed of dog when used as directed.

Can you test for heartworms at home?

Heartworm tests are blood tests run to determine if an animal is infected with heartworms. The test may be run in-house or sent to a reference laboratory. If run in-house, results are often available in as little as 10 minutes. In dogs, heartworm tests work by detecting antigens of the heartworm in the dog's blood.