Only Natural Pet Easy
A safe, chemical-free
way to keep harmful pests off
of your pet that utilizes
your pet's own energy to
create a natural barrier to fleas,
ticks and mosquitoes
90 Dog Tablets
Dogswell Happy Hips
Duck - 15 oz
for Hips & Joints
In Clover K9 Connectin
Zukes Hip Action
Dog Treats Beef - 6 oz
Pet Naturals of Vermont
Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes
It’s getting warmer outside — time for sellers of heartworm medications to start scaring you to death. Television and print ads, which used to push medications only during warm summer months, now urge you to keep your dog on medication year round.
Drs. David Knight and James Lok of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, addressing recommendations for year round medications warn, that the practice of some vets to continuously prescribe monthly chemo-prophylaxis are responsible for:
Heartworm prevention is a major health decision for pet parents, and a multi-billion dollar business for drug companies, vets, testing labs and on-line sellers of medication. When health intersects money, there is a lot of room for conflict of interest.
Only by understanding the business aspects and the truth about heartworm transmission can you make an informed decision about if, how, and when to protect your dog with commercial products.
While everyone agrees that heartworm infestations can be life-threatening, infestation is far from inevitable nor is it the immutable death sentence advertisers would have you believe. Otherwise, all dogs (and cats) not on medications would die of infestation. But of course they don't!
Every holistic vet I've researched has concerns about the long-term safety of heartworm medications. Well known vet, author and columnist Martin Goldstein wrote in his wonderful book "The Nature of Animal Healing", that he sees heartworms as less epidemic, than the disease-causing toxicity of heartworm medicine.
Dr. Jeff Levy, vet and homeopath, concluded that, it was not the heartworms that caused disease, but rather the other factors which damaged dogs' health, to the point that they could no longer compensate for an otherwise tolerable parasite load. Those factors include:
Heartworm medications do not, by the way, prevent heartworms. They are toxic chemicals (poisons) that kill heartworm larvae (called microfilariae) contracted during the previous 30-45 days, and maybe longer, due to what is called the reach back effectThe reach back effect is a technique common to Heartguard (a heartworm drug manufacturer), meaning if a dog has contracted heartworm in the previous four months, their medication will effectively clear the infection if medication is continued every month for at least 12 months afterwards. This effectively locks unsuspecting pet parents into purchasing one year's supply of Heartguard medication for their pooch.
The heartworm industry authority, The American Heartworm Society offers a font of information. However, do bear in mind their website is not only a public service, but also a marketing tool aimed at buyers and resellers of heartworm medications.
Sponsors of this website are a who's who of drug companies, e.g. Fort Dodge Animal Health (Wyeth), Merial, Pfizer, Bayer Novartis, Schering-Plough, Virbac and Eli Lilly. Most of these companies have sales representatives who regularly call on vets, and show them how to sell heartworm medications to pet parents.
With any purchase of any drug concerning your furry friend, we recommend you ask the following information:r
Well, now that we've looked behind the scenes of the heartworm industry, let's take a look at how the heartworms themselves (called Dirofilaria immitis) do business.
Seven steps must be completed in the mosquitoes life cycle to give your dog a dangerous heartworm infestation:
In order for your dog to become infected with heartworm three conditions have to exist simultaneously:
Female mosquitoes act as airborne incubators for premature baby heartworms (called microfilariae). It is very important to understand that without the appropriate species of mosquitoes, dogs can't get heartworms. Period.
That means dogs can't "catch" heartworms from:
Our hungry female mosquito needs access to a dog already infected with sexually mature male and female heartworms and heartworm babies.
The heartworm babies in the infected dog must be at the L1 stage of development when the female mosquito bites the dog and withdraws blood.
Ten to fourteen days later, if the temperature is right, the heartworm babies mature inside the mosquito to the infective L3 stage and then migrate to the mosquito's mouth. (Yum!)
Madame mosquito continues the cycle by transmitting the L3's to your dog's skin with a bite. Then, if all conditions are right, the L3's develop in the skin for three to four months (to the L5 stage), before making their way into your dog's blood. But, your dog still isn't doomed yet!
Only if the dog's immune system doesn't naturally get rid of these worms do the heartworms develop to adulthood.
It takes approximately six months for the surviving larvae to achieve maturity. At this point, the adult heartworms may produce babies if there are both males and females present, but the babies will die, unless a mosquito carrying L3's intervenes and bites the dog to carry on the heartworm cycle to the next dog it bites. Otherwise, the adults will live several years and then die off.
Published studies about heartworms in summary
The University of Pennsylvania Veterinarian School in a study funded by Merial found:
The Washington State University Veterinarian School reports that laboratory studies indicate that maturation of heartworms requires "the equivalent of a steady 24-hour daily temperature in excess of 64°Fahrenheit (18°Centigrade) for approximately one month".
In other words, it has to be warm day and night, otherwise development is retarded even if the average temperature is sufficiently warm. They add, that at 80° Fahrenheit, "10 to 14 days are required for development of heartworm babies to progress to the infective stage".
Bearing mind the content of the above report, it is interesting to note, that a recent news release from the American Heartworm Society states:“By giving heartworm prevention every month, forgetful pet owners will have their pets protected when they need it most". But doesn't that also mean they get it when they need it least? Or need it not at all? Are you a “forgetful” owner?
Jerold Theis, DVM, PhDJerold Theis says, "If the average monthly temperature is only a few degrees above 14 degrees Centigrade (57 degrees Fahrenheit) it can take so many days for infective larvae to develop, that the likelihood of the female mosquito living that long is extremely remote".
In all my research on heart worm disease I have never found this temperature-dependent information on a website promoting "preventatives", it is only published in more scholarly works not easily accessed by the general public.
There is, as far as I can find, only one mention of temperature on website of the American Heartworm Society (on the canine heartworm page).
There is no mention of the temperature factor importance in the Merck and Merial Veterinary Manual site or Merial’s heartworm video, even though Merial funded the University of Pennsylvania study!Please proceed to Part 2, Heartworm medication, Options to fear-based recommendations
This article and information forms part of the Carole's Doggie World Library and is presented for informational purposes only and not intended as an endorsement of any product. The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local veterinarian. Instead, the content offers the reader information researched and written by Carole Curtis for www.carolesdoggieworld.com
If you enjoyed this link, please Like and Share, and leave us a Comment
Want to keep updated with all that's right for your best friend?
Then please click on this link and subscribe to our free mailing list for "Carole's Doggie World" tips & newsletters
A special tip from Carole -
I have used Rescue Remedy (shown below) for the past 24 years (actually, lets be specific - I have used it for my darling doggie Poppie and her predecessors) and found it absolutely marvelous! If you need to calm your pet down at any time, give it a go, you won't regret it (Poppie usually uses it before her bath time). Each bottle lasts her for ages!
Rescue Remedy Pet
Arthritis & Achy Pain
Overby Farm Hip
Flex Daily Cherry Treats
Overby Farm Hip Flex Cherry Chewable Joint Supplements
Follow these links and soak up the free information to gain a happier, healthier dog who thinks you are the best person on the planet!
Copyright © 2015 Carole Curtis
Copyright © 2015 Carole CurtisWebsite by Carole Curtis with