Heartworm

I’ve been reading up a little on Heartworm and the medicine that vets recommend you give your dog once a month.  Frankly, I was a little leary of it all.  I’d read some things last summer that made me uneasy, but I forgot the specifics, so I went on the search again.  Here’s a quote that I found that seems to reflect what several sites seemed to be trying to convey:

“The Washington State University vet school reports that laboratory studies show that maturation of the worms requires ‘the equivalent of a steady 24-hour daily temperature in excess of 64°F (18°C) for approximately one month.’  In other words, it has to be warm day AND night or development is retarded even if the average temperature is sufficiently warm. They add, that at 80° F, ’10 to 14 days are required for development of microfilariae to the infective stage.’

Jerold Theis, DVM, PhD, says, ‘If the mean monthly temperature is only a few degrees above 14 degrees centigrade [57 degrees F] it can take so many days for infective larvae to develop that the likelihood of the female mosquito living that long is remote.’”

I found that excerpt in an article from Creature Comfort and I highly recommend reading the whole article if you have concerns about this too.  It is a very informative article.  You can Read it Here.

Around here, the temperature at night doesn’t go above 64 degrees F very often and usually for not very many days in a row either.  I would anticipate, based on that information alone, that I might only be looking at giving the dogs one treatment in the summer. 

Incidentally, I emailed that site this question:

“You talked about that the temperature has to be above 64 degrees F for a month…the temperature around here in the summer does go below that for the most part, but our dogs aren’t generally outside at that hour (they sleep in the house).  So, do the dogs have to be exposed to the cold temps in order for the preventative effect of cold to work?  Or does that mean that if the mosquito is exposed to the cold temps, than the larvae won’t survive?” 

They responded the same day:

“It is the mosquito that needs to maintain a body temp above 64 degrees in order for larvae to survive within the infected mosquito.  Once a dog is infected, cold temp would not kill larvae within their bloodstream since their body temp would remain much higher normally”.

Just thought I’d share that info…I was pretty shocked by it, myself.

Thank you to Creature Comfort for such a great article (I hope they don’t mind I quoted it).

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11 Responses to Heartworm

  1. Purplume says:

    Good service you provide giving us this info. It saves over-medicating. Yay.

    • admin says:

      It’s a little scary to think of all the information that is basically hidden from us because of greedy people who just want to take advantage of us.

  2. Betsy says:

    Hi JB,
    Yuck! But a good thing to know if you have a dog!!
    Thanks for stopping by zen mama today!

    • admin says:

      It seems like there is a lot of yuck info to take in about dogs. Sometimes it can get a little daunting.

  3. I was giving my dog the HeartGuard for the past year. I need to have her tested again before they’ll send in another script. I think it’s a money making thing like anything else that they recommend giving it every month. Probably overkill it would seem.

    • admin says:

      And I have yet to meet a vet who doesn’t try to make you feel like sh** if you even question what they are telling you that you should do.

  4. liz says:

    good to know! granted we live in TN and it’s hot a lot. But i didn’t know the info about needing to keep a certain temp for larvae.

    • admin says:

      The whole list of what needs to happen in order for a dog to contract heartworms was very interesting also. A lot of information to have to digest, though.

  5. admin says:

    It’s a little scary to think of all the information that is basically hidden from us because of greedy people who just want to take advantage of us.

  6. admin says:

    It seems like there is a lot of yuck info to take in about dogs. Sometimes it can get a little daunting.

  7. you are a great help.

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