Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Heartworm preventatives. Pros, cons & thoughts...

I hate bugs, worm, any type of parasite. But I hate chemicals and pumping my dogs full of toxins also. Is there a happy medium?
Someone recently asked me, 'Why do I feed my dogs home cooked, and grain free premium kibble, provide supplements, use natural products on them only, but still continue to give them a toxic heartgaurd plus chewable every month? I really cannot answer that question. I have so many thoughts running through my head about it. Is it worth the risk? To use more natural ways, but risk getting your dog infested with heartworms and going through that painful & expensive treatment? Or is it worse to administer an insecticide to your pet monthly? And WHY do I give my 5lb yorkie the same dosage I give my 23lb cocker spaniel? The 1lb-25lb range is HUGE and scary! So I have begun research, digging for info, and asking people in the dog community that I know, to share their opinions with me. More people than I ever imagined, just simply do NOT give their dog heartworm preventative in any form. Either they don't know about the dangers of the disease, or they are forgetful. They lady I buy my dog food from, swears she has not used it in years, and her dogs are fine. If you have a healthy dog, healthy immune system, it's less likely to get worms anyways.
So what is SO bad about the heartworm preventatives, here is what I dug up:

Most preventatives contain Ivermectin. It is a parasite drug that causes neurologic damage to the parasite, resulting in paralysis and death. Some breeds are MORE prone to Ivermectin Toxicity, such as: Collies, Australian shepherd Shetland sheepdogs, Old English sheepdogs and English sheepdogs. Some other side effects of the drug are: vomiting, diarrhea, possible allergic reaction, behavior changes, weakness, depression, Neurological Side Effects, respiratory changes, loss of balance and blindness.

Dr. Jeffrey Levy. DVM - Heartworm parasite is a source of great anxiety among dog caretakers. Thanks in large part to the scare tactics of many veterinarians in promoting preventive drugs, many people believe that contracting heartworms is the equivalent of a death sentence for their dogs. This is not true.

Stressing importance of a healthy immune system. Mosquitos are less likely to bite a healthy dog, and a healthy animals own strong defense system will fight off any worms that enter bloodstream. So what will WEAKEN your pets immune system? Low quality commercial dog food, stress, over vaccination, usage of chemicals and toxins on your pet, are just a few.

My holistic vet prescribed me: Heartworm Nosode, to use as an alternative. And stressed importance of exams every 6 months, fecal and blood to check for any parasites. Nosodes are defined as: Homeopathic remedies prepared from the infected tissue, disease discharge or casual organisms. This is as opposed to the use of a similimum.(A substance that created the same symptoms)

Check your area for Heartworm occurrences. I definitely wouldn't recommend stopping the usage of Heartworm preventatives to just anyone. You need to be diligent about your pets health, and it takes a lot of work. But if you love your pet, it's worth it.
Read more in depth about it here:

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