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Heartworm instances in Canada

April 3rd, 2007, 08:15 PM
Does anyone know what the heartworm infection statistics for dogs in Canada are?
I haven't heard great things about the toxicity of heartworm medication and both my previous dogs had trouble with the medication at times.
I would just like to know if it's really a needed medication for our climate.


April 3rd, 2007, 08:45 PM

While not fully current, it says enough for me. Easiest to find 95, 96, and 97 stats.. and the numbers rise.
97 stats.. Ontario seems to be the worst for HW, I wouldn't skip it.

April 3rd, 2007, 09:01 PM

I think it boils down to where you live, if a high risk area I would give meds as it only takes one bite from one masquito to become infected. I tried to find better maps but was having a hard time. It is treatable but you have to know the signs and catch it early to help prevent the least amount of dammage to the heart. Also to treat a heartworm infection they use some types of heart worm meds like heartgard(I think thats the one), something that kills the worms slowly, if they die off to fast they will leave holes in the heart.

I don't think I would skip it either. I am not sure how effective it would be to test in april and then in november(to catch it early if you don't use a preventive), I think it takes 6 to 7mts for the worms to mature and start showing symptoms...not sure though.

April 3rd, 2007, 09:13 PM
The treatment for heartworms is far worse than the prevention.:shrug: I give heartgard from Aprilish to Novemberish...

April 3rd, 2007, 09:15 PM
You can count one positive in Sherrington :sad: I would never skip it either.

April 3rd, 2007, 09:16 PM
7 cases reported in Mississauga last year( then there are the ones that were not tested, or used tests not from vita tech).

April 3rd, 2007, 09:21 PM
I wanted Cider's hw test done in late november along with her full blood panel while she was sick. They said it was pointless. Which is why april-may is when they hw test, long enough for them to mature enough to be seen...

April 3rd, 2007, 09:58 PM
This will be Duke's and my first heart worm season and I am rather confused about when the prevetative care needs to start? My regular vet booked us in for the 17th of April however while at another vet which is much closer for are cats I asked them when they start booking for it (as there much closer and I actually have solid trust in them which is very rare with me when it comes to vets) and they said they don't start until June. This seems very late as I know my aunt's clinic start's booking in April as well. Just curious if someone could shed some light on it for me. I'm not a big fan of putting toxins on my pet's skin but considering were in the heart of Southern Ontario I'd rather take that over the consequences.


April 3rd, 2007, 10:09 PM
They start testing in April in order to fit everyone in, April and May are really busy times for vets, most pets are due for vaccines, people get new pets and of course hw testing. Most clinics don't allow their staff to take vacation time during April and May because they are so busy. Yes the meds start June 1st, you don't have to buy the meds at the time of the testing, just as long as you get them before June 1st. Also by April if a dog has been infected with hw it should show up by then as it does take quite awhile for the worms to mature.

April 4th, 2007, 06:02 AM
I've never skipped getting the medication, I just wondered how relevant it is to use it here. I do live in a high risk area, loads of mosquitos in the summer, there's a flood plain in the fields behind my house. I've known a few people here who've had infected dogs, and while the dogs were diagnosed here, they were from the south initially and infected before arrival here. (the vets guess, I presume because of the stage of the heartworm infection in the dogs).
I don't get the new puppy until the end of this month, and if memory serves me right, he won't be able to start heartworm treatment as a puppy anyway.


April 4th, 2007, 10:06 AM
This topic is very current for my Eskimo - we live in Toronto. On Monday, Apr. 2 we went for Elmo's 3 year physical and he had his heartworm test done - should get results by tomorrow. Our vet told us to start his Sentinel tablets as soon as we get the hopefully good results as it has been a warm winter. Also, since the Sentinel helps to kill intestinal parasites such as roundworm etc. they are now recommending that dogs in the area take the heartworm medication 12 months a year rather than April to Nov. She said that with the large number of dogs - and their increasing sociability with each other (and I have to tell you, no dog's butt is more "socialized" than Elmo's at his weekly socialization class) they have had way too many cases of extremely well cared for pets coming in during winter months with said intestinal parasites. Most of the other patients also left with 2 packs of the pills. We are using the chewable Sentinel with our guy since he has a double coat and they are finding that with double coated dogs often the topicals do not properly penetrate. We used the topical the first year we had him - and boy, not easy to apply. CLM, we adopted our guy at 13 weeks - he was sitting in northern Ontario in a swimming pool covered with bugs of all sorts - and no heartworm. We took him to our vet for a check-up next day and she immediately gave him a topical treatment as a preventative measure.

April 4th, 2007, 10:15 AM
I live in the Niagara Penninsula, and this is fast becoming a high-risk area. There were numerous positive cases last year at our local vet clinic. I always use the preventitive meds, and usually the ones which also cover several types of worms too. If it has a tick repellant, I take it, ticks are really bad around us, I found 4 on one of our dogs just the other day!

A couple years ago our oldest dog was tested positive, he probably picked it up from his previous home. Since he was already 10 years old, our vet did not suggest a strong treatment like he would have if he had been younger. There are several ways to treat hw, one is a very strong dose of medication, but in an older dog, or ill dog it will do more damage than good. Another form of treatment is surgery (our current vet recommends this, it costs the most). They go in and actually remove the worms from the heart. The third treatment, and the one we used, is just year-round preventitive pills. This makes the worms sterile, prevents your dog from infecting others, and eventually the worms will just die and get absorbed by the dog's body. The following year, the dog was tested negative. The last treatment is the least expensive, and less stressful on the dog, but takes the longest to get rid of the problem, depending on how many worms the dog has, and how old they are. Our dog was tested by another lab and his test was quite high, so he had several worms in him.

I start treatment around May, we live in a very wet area and mosquitos are everywhere.