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Old April 16th, 2005, 10:33 AM
Morgan & Tracey Morgan & Tracey is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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Question Heartgard Didn't Work!

We recently had our 9 year old CKC Shih Tzu tested for her annual Heartworm check up and the tests came back positive. We've had her on Heartguard since the first summer we had her and hadn't seen any signs period. Our Vet retested and confirmed original results. Has anyone seen something similar to this?
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Old April 16th, 2005, 10:44 AM
Lucky Rescue Lucky Rescue is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 10,287
How long have you had her? She could have had the heartworms already, but it's possible the vet at that time was using a more old fashioned method of checking for them. This method, of literally passing the blood through a screen, did not always detect heartworms, if the microfilaria were small enough to slip through the screen.

I don't know where you live, but are you giving the preventative for long enough each year? Some areas have mosquitos year round.

What exactly does she have? Some microfilaria, or adult heartworms? HOw many? Has she been x-rayed?
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Old April 16th, 2005, 11:16 AM
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Cactus Flower Cactus Flower is offline
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Location: New Mexico
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Oh how scary!!!!! I'm so sorry!

Is it possible that she wasn't getting an adequate dosage, according to her weight? My vet weighs Raj and Chloe whenever they come in, no matter how close together the visits are. Sometimes a vet can prescribe too little of the Heartguard if they don't realize that the pet has gained weight. (Not taking a shot at your vet here, just trying to think of all possibilites).

I didn't know about the archaic testing methods. Thanks for the heads-up, Lucky. I think we should all ask our vets which method they use!

Morgan&Tracey, my heart goes out to you and your little Shih Tzu. I hope
she will be alright!
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Old April 16th, 2005, 11:55 AM
Safyre Safyre is offline
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Location: SW Ontario
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I am soo sorry to hear that Morgan & Tracey
Have they treated your Shih Tzu for the heartworms now?

Last edited by Safyre; April 16th, 2005 at 12:22 PM. Reason: took out controversial info
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Old April 16th, 2005, 12:04 PM
hounds003 hounds003 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ontario
Posts: 125
I hope your vet told you Heartguard comes with a guarantee as long as you bought it from your vet and not over the internet or elsewhere. They are supposed to cover the treatment cost. I know it's a small constellation to having a + dog, especially an older one, poor baby. If your vet didn't tell you that I'd be asking why.
Our newer guy had the treatment done and I was amazed how well he did with it. I was worried sick before hand but he came through it perfectly fine. He's in the 8+ age range as well.
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Old April 16th, 2005, 04:40 PM
Karin Karin is offline
Missing My Ciara, 3-21-06
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Williston, Florida
Posts: 2,094
I have seen this a few times, especially in small breeds. If you hand the entire Heartgard cube to them they can go around the corner and yak it back up or stash it somewhere. Even with large breeds I break it into little pieces and feed each one, watching like a hawk. Two missed doses is all it takes sometimes. It takes 6 months for the microfilaria to grow to adult size and only the female heartworm excretes the antigen picked up by the test. (Heska or snap test) I would also have the vet check again using either a vet lab or another type of test other than the one he used. I have had many false positive's using these simple test, never false negative. Sometimes an entire box could be faulty. Also, do a direct as a back-up.
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