Category Archives: Parasites Inside n Out

The Difference Between Heartworm Treatments

The Difference Between Heartworm Treatments

My friend is fostering a dog through a rescue and the dog is heartworm positive. I was wondering what is involved in slow kill treatment for dogs with heart worms? This rescue seems to be preferring the slow kill treatment while the foster is unsure of the slow kill treatment. I’d like to ask your expert opinion on what is involved in the slow kill treatment.
Brilliant question.

Here are the actual facts on heartworm treatments.

  • Slow kill has a 1:1,000 Chance to kill the patient with anaphylaxis
  • Slow kill has a 1-out-of-2 chance to cause further damage however slight, to the heart valves, and function over 18-24 months.
  • Slow kill has a 1:200 chance of embolism and death over 18-24 months.
  • Fast kill is organic arsenic. It’s just a ‘different’ delivery system than the older IV Caparsolate.
  • Fast kill is a risky and carcinogenic compound.
  • Fast kill has a 1:500 chance of anaphylaxis but only for the first 3 weeks.
  • Fast kill has a 1:200 chance of further consequential damage to the dog, at the heart or organs.
  • Fast kill has a 1:200 chance of embolism and death, but only over 6 weeks.
Conclusions:
The Difference Between Heartworm Treatments
The Difference Between Heartworm Treatments

Slow kill is a long process which leaves the door open to embolism and heart damage. But it’s unarguably safer.

Fast kill closes the door on long term issues by ‘wrapping up’ the infection in weeks instead of years, but on the very short term, doubles the chance for problem of consequence.
My decision would be based on the value of the dog sentimentally or economically, the age of the pet, and the pet’s realistic activity level and “years-left-to-live.”
My dog Ajax is 3 years old (2019) and I love him so, so much. If he contracted heart worms I would perform an electrocardiogram and find out if it was a heavy burden. If his heart was compromised in any way I would give him Fast Kill via Immiticide.
If the case were a rescue and costs were always a factor, I would let Slow Kill do the job. That would be predicated on whether I trusted the foster to give the preventative without fail.
Doc Johnson

Why We’re Not Giving ProHeart 6 or 12* To Our Patients.

Why Won’t I Prescribe ProHeart 6/12?

It’s not because of money!

I’d *double* my preventative revenues recommending and giving that product!

It’s not because of effectiveness!

It works just fine! In fact, fully 1% (one percent) better than monthlies.

Not because of convenience!

What could be easier than a shot every year to prevent heartworms?

Nope.

It’s because nobody’s dog dies from heartworm pills. But people’s dogs die every year from ProHeart 6 and ProHeart 12 injections.

Liver disease: Once ProHeart’s in the dog, that’s “it” …there’s no ‘stopping it’ if it starts to ruin the liver. It’s a 12 month decline you can watch with your hand over your mouth. Oops.

And more: If the dog starts to mysteriously lose weight after the first injection, and nobody pays attention or remembers that’s “A Thing”, the second injection ^will^ kill it.

Anaphylaxis: While a chewable is available, and that chewable literally can’t kill your dog, why would you use an injection that has been known to (rarely) kill dogs?

Forgetting a dose?

As long as you’ve got receipts for 12 doses a year of the chewable pills directly from your Vet, *IF* your dog contracts heartworms, the preventative manufacturer will pay for the diagnosis and adulticide treatment. So the fear of ‘missing a dose’ is just marketing.

So my position is: “Why risk it?”

You would KICK yourself if you killed your dog for nothing but convenience.

The monthly chewables are guaranteed*, taste like a tail wagging treat, cost considerably less, (especially with rebates), and they CAN’T jack up your dog like ProHeart can.

To close:

What dog *WOULD* you give ProHeart to?

Three types of dog should get ProHeart:

•Any dog that bites women and children without provocation.

•Any dog that routinely gets out and kills people’s cats.

•Any dog that just won’t get preventative any other way.

*ProHeart 6 and 12 are injections that form a small reservoir of preventative in the body which is absorbed over 6, or 12 months respectively.

Facts:  proheart-6-prescribing-information

Lyme’s Disease – What Is It? Is It Common?

In 2000 they did a study in Georgia and the DNR found that only one in twenty ticks carried Lyme’s borrelia bacteria.

Lyme’s Disease is often talked about, and for good reason. In the Northeastern United States, it is safe to assume that if your dog carries ticks at all, it will be exposed to Lyme’s Disease organisms.

The disease gets its name from a town in Connecticut where the disease was first promulgated as a real syndrome, Lyme, Connecticut.

Lyme’s Disease in the Southeastern United States is certainly reported, but not with the regularity of the cases seen in the Northeastern part of the country. Recent surveys in Georgia showed that only one out of twenty ticks tested carried the Borrelia agent.

Lyme’s Disease, what is it?

Lyme’s Disease is a bacterial infection. It is caused by a leptospire called Borrelia burgdorferi.

The bacteria gains entrance to your dog by way of a tick-bite, and most often by the bite of the Deer Tick, Ixodes damini, but can be carried, according to some authors, by other types of ticks as well.

A few dogs suffering with the disease will develop signs of fever, arthritis and possible myocardial (heart muscle) disorders as a result of infection, but more recent research suggests that the clinical symptomatology is really caused by an overly-aggressive immune response to the leptospires in the system.

In the state of Georgia, only one out of twenty ticks carries the Lyme’s disease organisms. It takes several ticks attached for several hours to transmit the disease.

Some research shows that many dogs are already actively infected with the bacteria and have no clinical symptoms at all.

There are also results from several studies that show that false positive test results are common, due to vaccine administration, exposure to other Leptospires, and other conditions that interfere with the test, resulting in positive results.

The vaccine for Lyme’s disease, for example, will cause positive tests, itself, leading one to believe that the animal is infected, when it is actually only immunized.

NOTE: Like many infectious conditions that result in systemic immune responses, it may be the deposition of activated immune complexes that cause the clinical disease picture. With regret, I must also report that in the opinion of specialists at Cornell and Tuskeegee Universities, the first vaccine company producing the Lyme’s Disease vaccine did not perform adequate studies of the vaccine’s appropriateness, or efficacy. Much of the companies’ research is considered proprietary (a.k.a. trade secrets) and therefore cannot be challenged or verified.

Since the “disease” may only be a serological condition that is measurable primarily in terms of a laboratory test and not in terms of pet misery, why would one still recommend vaccination?

1. Dogs carrying ticks should be immunized to avoid that chance that they will have the debilitating immune response to the disease.

2. The vaccine is harmless, and I have it for my pet, just in case, until the debate is settled. After vaccination, the dog will have a positive titer to Lyme’s. Please make sure you tell any vet treating your pet that this was the case.

For clinical symptoms, antibiotic therapy reduces the bacterial invader, and resolution tends to be swift. Some permanent damage can remain in affected tissues, most notably, the arthritic joints.

Do Ticks Freeze to Death In Winter? How Do Ticks Survive Winter?

It turns out, ticks are HARD to kill with frost. They have to go down to TEN DEGREES Fahrenheit – and stay there for a couple DAYS before they perish. Fact is, most of them never get that cold, can get into the dirt and leaf litter in the forest or better: Onto a warm host and make it through.

Something I didn’t know: It’s not the great big obvious ADULT tick that spreads Lyme. It’s the “nymph” phase, see picture below. And it’s not the American Dog Tick as much as the Black-Legged DEER tick that carries and spreads Lyme Disease.

From: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/index.html

Ticks not known to transmit Lyme disease include Lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum), the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus).

Here’s other stuff I found (References cited):

WHAT HAPPENS TO TICKS IN THE WINTER?

Ticks are more active during certain times of the year depending on the species and region. Spring, summer and fall can be dangerous times for anyone who enjoys nature. But you may find yourself wondering: Are there ticks in the winter? What happens to ticks in winter weather may surprise you.

DO TICKS DIE IN THE WINTER?

No. Ticks survive the winter in a variety of ways, but do not go away just because it is cold. Depending on the species – and stage in their life cycle – ticks survive the winter months by going dormant or latching onto a host. Ticks hide in the leaf litter present in the wooded or brushy areas they tend to populate. When snow falls, it only serves to insulate the dormant ticks, which are protected by the layer of debris. Or, in the case of soft-shell ticks, they survive by staying underground in burrows or dens.

Can You See the Difference Between Tick Species?

ARE TICKS OUT IN THE WINTER?

It depends. Some types of ticks can be active if the temperature is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit and the ground is not wet or icy. The American dog tick and lone star tick are not typically active during the fall and winter months. Blacklegged ticks, which carry Lyme disease, remain active as long as the temperature is above freezing. The adults look for food right around the first frost. Additionally, the winter tick, which hatches in late summer as temperatures begin to decrease, is active during cooler months. This tick is typically found on moose, and sometimes deer, in the Northeastern part of the country. These ticks are different from other species, because they will spend their entire lives on one host. Winter tick eggs hatch on the ground in August and September. Larvae seek out a host between September and November. Those that find a host will overwinter on it, holding onto its hair when they are not feeding. Those that cannot find a host will likely die. Females will remain on a host until the end of winter or start of spring. Then they drop into the leaf litter, where they will lay up to 3,000 eggs before dying.

Special thanks to the folks at Terminix
https://www.terminix.com/pest-control/ticks/facts/ticks-in-winter/

More, this is from:  https://www.colonialpest.com/where-do-ticks-go-in-the-winter/

Blacklegged ticks decrease activity only when the temperature drops below 35 degrees F. or the ground is snow-covered, but they quickly recover when things warm up just a little. For freezing temperatures to actually kill ticks, there must be a sustained number of days below 10 degrees F. This happens less often as our winters, in general, are warmer than they used to be. Even then, any tick that has attached to a deer will be kept warm by the animal’s body heat and will easily survive a cold snap.

LYME DISEASE TICKS ARE A THREAT YEAR-ROUND

What this means is that you can’t really let down your guard when it comes to ticks and the possibility of tick-transmitted diseases. You can take a small breath though because, in the Northeast, the risk of Lyme disease is lowest from late December to late March. This is due not so much to the weather as it is to the complicated life cycle of the blacklegged tick. The nymphal stage of the tick is responsible for most transmitted cases of Lyme disease, but by late fall the nymphs have molted into adult ticks to spend the winter.

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Fleas

Flea Control in Dogs and Cats

The Home

I’ve treated the house lots of ways over the years. I’ve bombed (when we didn’t have kids around on the floor) and then when we had kids around we used boric acids. (FleaBusters specifically). If there’s a problem with Fleabusters, it’s that you don’t have traction on hardwood floors and so the method there is a damp mop. Make SURE to get corners (even vacuuming) because eggs and larvae reside on these floors and baseboards just fine. Then the carpet gets dusted with the Fleabusters (anhydrous boric acid)

The Yard

You can get “Spectracide Granules” (Click image at right) that kill fleas at Home Depot, and other places. I like the granules because it puts the ‘mojo’ right where it’s needed, and doesn’t kill stuff that lives on plants and flowers in your yard. With any luck you’ll put it down and a light rain will wash it in. As the pupae emerge, they simply die in the soil. Follow packaging instructions.

The Pets

Dog

Initial flea control on a dog is a deep cleaning flea-cidal bath. There’s tons of those. (Here’s the best one – Adam’s)

Maintenance for fleas with dogs is best accomplished with NexGard (Veterinary prescription drug) given once a month. The compound is very, very safe and binds to the blood protein “albumin” and then when the flea takes any blood, it ingests the NexGard on the albumin and keels over. Savoryyyyyyyy.

Cat

Cats can be ‘de-flea’d with Capstar (Veterinary) to start off, followed by monthly dosing with Comfortis (Also veterinary prescription). The Capstar achieves fast blood levels (an hour!) and kills every single flea on the cat and every flea that gets on them for 24-36 hours. Some people use Capstar a lot, like every other day and that can knock down the population of fleas in the first week’s kickoff.

Maintenance for fleas with cats is best accomplished with Comfortis given once a month. The compound is very, very safe and binds to the blood protein “albumin” and then when the flea takes any blood, it ingests the Comfortis on the albumin and keels over. Excellennnnnnnt.

Lyme’s Disease in Dogs – Prevalence and Treatment

Lyme’s Disease
Almost twenty years ago, they did a study in Georgia and the DNR found that only one in twenty ticks carried Lyme’s borrelia bacteria.

Lyme’s Disease is often talked about, and for good reason. In the Northeastern United States, it is safe to assume that if your dog carries ticks at all, it will be exposed to Lyme’s Disease organisms.

The disease gets its name from a town in Connecticut where the disease was first promulgated as a real syndrome, Lyme, Connecticut.

Lyme’s Disease in the Southeastern United States is certainly reported, but not with the regularity of the cases seen in the Northeastern part of the country. Recent surveys in Georgia showed that only one out of twenty ticks tested carried the Borrelia agent.

Lyme’s Disease, what is it?

Lyme’s Disease is a bacterial infection. It is caused by a leptospire called Borrelia burgdorferi.

The bacteria gains entrance to your dog by way of a tick-bite, and most often by the bite of the Deer Tick, Ixodes damini, but can be carried, according to some authors, by other types of ticks as well.

A few dogs suffering with the disease will develop signs of fever, arthritis and possible myocardial (heart muscle) disorders as a result of infection, but more recent research suggests that the clinical symptomatology is really caused by an overly-aggressive immune response to the leptospires in the system.

In the state of Georgia, only one out of twenty ticks carries the Lyme’s disease organisms. It takes several ticks attached for several hours to transmit the disease.

Some research shows that many dogs are already actively infected with the bacteria and have no clinical symptoms at all.

There are also results from several studies that show that false positive test results are common, due to vaccine administration, exposure to other Leptospires, and other conditions that interfere with the test, resulting in positive results.

The vaccine for Lyme’s disease, for example, will cause positive tests, itself, leading one to believe that the animal is infected, when it is actually only immunized.

NOTE:

Like many infectious conditions that result in systemic immune responses, it may be the deposition of activated immune complexes that cause the clinical disease picture. With regret, I must also report that in the opinion of specialists at Cornell and Tuskeegee Universities, the first vaccine company producing the Lyme’s Disease vaccine did not perform adequate studies of the vaccine’s appropriateness, or efficacy. Much of the companies’ research is considered proprietary (a.k.a. trade secrets) and therefore cannot be challenged or verified.

Since the “disease” may only be a serological condition that is measurable primarily in terms of a laboratory test and not in terms of pet misery, why would one still recommend vaccination?

1. Dogs carrying ticks should be immunized to avoid that chance that they will have the debilitating immune response to the disease.

2. The vaccine is harmless, and I have it for my pet, just in case, until the debate is settled. After vaccination, the dog will have a positive titer to Lyme’s. Please make sure you tell any vet treating your pet that this was the case.

For clinical symptoms, antibiotic therapy reduces the bacterial invader, and resolution tends to be swift. Some permanent damage can remain in affected tissues, most notably, the arthritic joints.

Heartworm Disease in Dogs – Preventable

One of the more common deadly diseases of dogs is heartworm disease, which can be prevented. Heartworm disease can occur in cats with about the frequency of winning the lottery.

The adult worms live inside the dog’s heart. They will cause heart disease, but also they’ll drift into the lungs, where they will cause respiratory disorders. The adult worms produce microscopic larvae (babies) called microfilaria. These circulate in the dog’s bloodstream and can also cause organ damage.

The disease is transmitted by mosquitos. If a mosquito bites a microfilaria-positive dog, it will ingest some of these microfilaria along with a blood meal. When the mosquito bites the next dog, it injects some of these infective larvae into the dog’s blood stream. They will migrate to the heart and grow into adult heartworms, and the cycle begins again.

Heartworm disease is a treatable disease, however the treatment carries risks, mostly due to the tissue damage and organ damage already present in the dog. Delayed treatment may result in heart failure and/or permanent damage to the liver, lungs, and kidneys – possibly causing eventual death. Unfortunately, the signs of heartworm disease, such as coughing, lethargy, and weight loss occur after the disease process is well underway, perhaps as many as three years after the dog becomes infected.

It is therefore important to have your dog’s blood tested yearly. The earlier this disease is detected, the greater the chances are of your dog surviving the treatment. Also, some infected dogs will have reactions if given the daily preventative while carrying the disease, which can be fatal, and this would be prevented by checking for the presence of adult worms. There are two basic preventive programs provided by our clinic. Your choice between the two types depends on what program is more practical and convenient for you.

1. Daily chewable tablet
2. Monthly chewable (preferred)

Our office does not recommend or endorse Revolution, or any of the cheap knock-off heartworm preventatives being made available these days. There are two now, that are supposed to give me “wider profit margins” to quote the drug-representative, however I do not trust the products. Nor do they present ANY warranty of fitness.

In the southeastern United States, I recommend that medication be given all year long since our mosquito season is variable. Also, stopping in the Fall permits maturation of the last mosquito’s microfilarial inoculation.

Basic Facts on Heartworm Disease

1. It’s treatable
2. It’s preventable
3. It’s carried by Mosquitoes
4. Costs less than 70$ per year to prevent
5. Costs over 300$ to treat
6. Usually fatal within 3 years of contraction.

Starting the preventative before the pups are 6 months old saves you the expense of a heartworm test before starting the preventative. Then a test each year will ensure that no adults are surviving the medication.