Heartworm Medication Part 2: Options to Fear-Based Recommendations

Written by Jan on June 16, 2009 – 12:01 am

If you haven’t read Part 1 of this article, “Heartworm Medication: Truths, Omissions and Profits,” please read it now unless you completely understand how and when heartworms are transmitted. Click the link at that article’s end to return here. 

heartwormincidencemap2-sized

A Heartworm Society news release 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? Read more »

Share
Tags: dog, dog heartworm, heart worms, heartworm, heartworm disease, heartworm in dogs, heartworm medication, heartworm medicine, heartworm preventative, Heartworms, natural cures, natural preventatives, prevention, reactions, Safeheart, Safety, side effects, split dose
Posted under Heartworms, Uncategorized | 85 Comments » | Email This Post

Heartworm Medication Part 1: Truths, Omissions and Profits

Written by Jan on May 13, 2009 – 1:00 am

Heartworms are Spread by Mosquitoes. Heartworm Meds are Spread by Fear.

Heartworms are Spread by Mosquitoes. Heartworm Meds are Spread by Fear.

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 meds only during warm summer months, now urge you to keep your dog on medication year round. The question is: why the change?

Drs. David Knight and James Lok of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, addressing recommendations for year round meds, warned:  “The practice of some veterinarians to continuously prescribe monthly chemoprophylaxis exaggerates the actual risk of heartworm transmission in most parts of the country and unnecessarily increases the cost of protection to their clients.”

So, is the change to year round meds all about money? Or is there more to this story?

Heartworm “prevention” is a major health decision for pet parents and multi-billion dollar Big Business for drug companies, veterinarians, testing laboratories and on-line sellers of medication. When health intersects money, there’s 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 meds would die of infestation. But they don’t.)

Every holistic vet I’ve consulted had 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 the other factors that damaged the dogs’ health to the point that they could no longer compensate for an otherwise tolerable parasite load.” Those factors include, “… being vaccinated yearly, eating commercial dog food, and getting suppressive drug treatment for other symptoms….”

 

Heartworm meds do not, by the way, prevent heartworms. They are poisons that kill heartworm larvae (called microfilariae) contracted during the previous 30-45 days (and maybe longer due to what is call the Reach Back Effect).

The heartworm industry authority, The American Heartworm Society (and their cat heartworm site) offers a wealth of information. Their website is a public service but also a marketing tool aimed at buyers and resellers of heartworm meds. Sponsors of this website are a Who’s Who of drug companies. Fort Dodge Animal Health (Wyeth), Merial and Pfizer are “Platinum Sponsors.” Bayer merits Silver. Novartis, Schering-Plough, Virbac and Eli Lilly get Bronze. Most of these companies have sales reps that regularly call on vets and show them how to sell you heartworm meds. With any purchase of any drug, we recommend you ask for information regarding possible adverse effects, the necessity for taking this drug and available alternatives.

How Heartworms Infect Dogs: It’s Not Easy!

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 to give your dog a dangerous heartworm infestation:
Read more »

Share
Tags: dog, dog heartworm, heart worms, heartworm, heartworm disease, heartworm in dogs, heartworm medication, heartworm medicine, heartworm preventative, heartworm prevention, Heartworms, mosquito, mosquitoes, mosquitos, natural cures, natural preventatives
Posted under Heartworms, Pet Meds | 161 Comments » | Email This Post

Lowering Vet Bills: 10 Tips for Keeping Costs Down

Written by Jan on December 11, 2008 – 11:26 am

The cost of vet care for 2009 is estimated at $12.2 billion, up $1.1 billion from last year. With the economy still ailing, jobs still disappearing and the stock market way down from previous highs, many of us are postponing or foregoing dog care because we can’t afford treatment. It’s time — past time! — to cut out those unnecessary products and services too many pet parents think are essential — but may actually be harmful. Here are some cost-saving ideas that will also make your dog healthier:

1. STOP VACCINATING UNNECESSARILY! No more vaccinating against diseases your dog is unlikely to catch and against diseases to which your dog is already immune. Not only is unnecessary vaccination a huge waste of time and money, the resulting adverse health consequences can ruin doggy health and cost you a fortune in vet bills down the line. Watch our video Vaccinating Dogs for suggestions, and read or reread “Rethinking Vaccination” in our book, Scared Poopless. Also, read our blog article on titer testing. (Click here.) This simple blood test is especially important to prevent over-vaccinating puppies.

2. FEED QUALITY FOOD. Read more »

Share
Tags: blood test, cost, dog, expense, food, heartworm, help, save money, vaccinating, Vaccination, vet, vet bill, veterinary
Posted under Cancer, Dog Teeth Cleaning, Heartworms, Nutrition, Pet Meds, Uncategorized, Vaccination, Vet Bills, Veterinarians | 23 Comments » | Email This Post

Heartworm Protection: Do We Need ProHeart 6?

Written by Jan on June 18, 2008 – 11:06 am

ProHeart 6, a heartworm “preventative” shot providing 6 months of protection against canine heartworms, is back on the market after having been pulled from shelves in 2004 by manufacturer Fort Dodge. More than 5,000 adverse “events,” including hundreds of canine deaths, prompted the FDA to request the drug’s withdrawal. It is being brought back under a “risk minimization action plan” and restricted use program (including vet training and informed consent notification) — an uncommon plan to try to limit damage from the drug.

I wonder, why is ProHeart 6 so indispensable that it must be brought back? Read more »

Share
Tags: adverse reactions, dogs, FDA, Fort Dodge, heart worm, heartworm, medication, ProHeart 6, side effects, vet, veterinarian
Posted under Heartworms, Pet Meds, Uncategorized | 37 Comments » | Email This Post