Heartworm pills in winter

Talk about diets, exercise, and disease.

Do you give your dog heart worm pills through the winter?

Poll ended at Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:20 pm

Yes, I give the meds year round
No, I stop when it is cold, and start up when it is warm again
Total votes: 36

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Heartworm pills in winter

Postby rallykid » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:20 pm

So I am contemplating if I should continue with Moto's heart worm pills since it is winter, and he is indoors 95% of the time.

I found this, and wanted to get your guys opinion, and run a poll.

Do you give your dog heart worm pills when the weather is consistently cold (below 60F, per the article) or do you stop, and re-administer when it is warm again?

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Postby Misskiwi67 » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:25 pm

I do not give heartworm in December, January and February. These are the only months it is considered 100% safe to skip the treatment in my area, and my dogs are heartworm tested prior to beginning treatment again in the spring.

Having a 95% indoor dog does not decrease the risk of heartworm at all. The mosquitos that carry heartworm are also found indoors, and it has been determined that a significant percentage of 100% indoor cats in endemic areas are heartworm positive, proving that being indoors does not prevent infection.


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Postby rallykid » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:25 pm

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Postby rallykid » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:39 pm

Interesting Video explaining heart worms.


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Postby pitgrrl » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:53 pm

I'm not sure if you can get an answer by polling the members here as the living situations, locations, health, etc. of each is different and, in my opinion at least, these are all the things one must look at when deciding what medications are appropriate.

Where do you live?
What's the risk of heartworm in your area?
What type of temps do you see in the winter?
What kind of shape is your dog in, health wise?

There are probably other factors to look at too, but I would really urge you to look at your situation, speak to your vet and come to decision you feel comfortable with.

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Postby jlphilli » Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:02 pm

I live in NC, so risk of HW is pretty rampant year-round. Even though it does get very cold here in the winter, it has been up to 70 degrees this past month (while also being 20-30 degrees--it's so weird!) so I don't want to risk it.

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Postby Kingsgurl » Tue Jan 01, 2008 9:08 pm

I live in an area where heartworm is not usually a threat in the winter, but I medicate against it year round. Mysti and Martin are on different medication though. Mysti's does more then heartworm (which is why she stays on it), while Martin is on an Ivermectin based heartworm only medication. Martin had heartworms when I got him, though he was in early stage. His cure was successful, meaning he is heartworm free, but it has effected his wind and some of the dogs who underwent treatment at the same time as he did died. I figure, why risk it?

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Postby Melody » Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:21 pm

I'm in south Florida (with constant temps in the 70-80's throughout winter) so I definately give Heartgard all year round. My 100% indoor cats also get it year round. I take no chances. It's not that expensive to prevention, but extremely costly to treat. In the case of a cat, it will cost them their life.

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Re: Heartworm pills in winter

Postby charlemagne » Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:37 pm

rallykid wrote:Do you give your dog heart worm pills when the weather is consistently cold (below 60F, per the article) or do you stop, and re-administer when it is warm again?

Actually, I don't give him heart worm preventative at all since moving to North Dakota. I read the study you cited here a few years back. Where we live, it is not a "risk" factor, and talking with my vet, she has not recommended what she considers for dogs and cats here, an unnecessary preventative.

From the article you cited


In a study entitled “Seasonal Timing of Heartworm Chemoprophylaxis (Heartworm Meds) in the United States”, Dr. David Knight and James Lok of the American Heartworm Society have taken the guesswork out of when to start and stop heartworm prevention. It was found that specific conditions must exist in order for the larvae in the mosquito to move on to stage L3, allowing the mosquito to pass on heartworm through its mouthparts. The larvae require approximately 30 consecutive days of 60-degree weather where the temperature does not dip below 57F (14C) in order to reach this condition.

Simply put, it must stay above 60 degrees for 30 consecutive days AND nights for the larvae to progress to stage L3 and be passed through the mouthparts of a mosquito to a host animal. If the temperature dips below 57F the maturation is retarded and cannot continue. This process would become accelerated if there were two weeks of temperature at or above 80F (27C), days AND nights.

That 60 degrees for 30 days, day and night, just does not happen here. When I lived in Minnesota, I administered heart worm meds. I could never understand, though, why one vet we had wanted me to give them year round. I never agreed to that, and did not do it. I gave him meds only in the summer months when we lived there.


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Postby L Boogie » Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:32 am

I won't risk Heartworms. They get interceptor monthly.

In the winter, I do frontline every other month.

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Postby bahamutt99 » Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:37 am

I forgot to give it this month, but its been icy, snowy, or otherwise really flippin' cold here. I didn't skip on purpose, though. I try to keep up with it all year 'round, especially now that the dogs are on Ivermectin and the financial aspect isn't really a concern.

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Postby love for ba brody » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:16 am

I give heartguard all year long, better to be safe than sorry, in my opinion.

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Postby FBODGRL » Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:59 am

Khan is on 9 months, off for 3 months. That is what my vet recommends. The months he is off it is cold and snowy. If I lived in a warm climate I would be giving it year round.

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Postby PitFriend » Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:56 am

I saw a mosquito in my house just a week or so ago. :po: Year-round Heartgard for us.

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Postby innocence621 » Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:44 am

Year round ivermectin--Heartgard was getting costly...especially since Chase ate the whole box!

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