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Discussion Starter #1
I need some advice on my local vets advice. He says that no heartgard is necessary before 8 months of age, because the worms will cycle themselves out? This doesn’t sound right to me. I’ve always done heart worm prevention, as long as I have a puppy, they’ve had heart worm prevention, always. My vet is a small town vet, he mainly specializes in farm animals, so that might have something to do with where his advice is coming from? I don’t know. Advice? Heart worm prevention needed before 8 months of age or am I wasting my money??
 

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(Not a vet)

Here's my understanding of that way of thinking--
Heartworms take 6+ months at least to mature and dependinh on the method of testing, are not detectable in the blood for 5-6 months after a dog is bitten by an infected mosquitoe. Heartworm meds prevent hws from maturing by killing off the immature ones, not by preventing infection to begin with.

Because starting HW meds on a dog with mature HWs is dangerous, even deadly, you test before starting monthly treatment. Puppies under 7 months aren't old enough to have mature HWs so don't require testing before starting monthly pills. Any infection they have is immature enough to be knocked out by the preventative treatment.

So in theory, no need for prevention before about 7 months of age.

In practice though, as each month's treatment might get say, 95% of immature worms but not every single one, that if you don't start killing them off till some might be on the edge of maturing that you risk a kind of breakthrough infection

Since most HW meds also treat a few types of intestinal parasites and because puppies eat everything they find on the ground, I'd be giving a monthly dose from two months on anyways just for that part of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@Shell

Thank you for explaining all that, his reasoning definitely makes more sense now. I feel that I would rather just keep doing what I’m doing and prevent every month starting young.
 

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If it's a money thing, here's a tip... If you buy a bottle of ivermectin, it is just a few cents per dose and it will save you a ton of money. $28 for two years and you probably won't even use it all. Versus $5+ dollars a month. I couldn't even get through a whole bottle before expiration (though it was still cheaper than heartgard) and should have split it with friends.
 

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Nooooo. Give your puppy heartworm preventative. There's no need to test a puppy under ~6-7 months old but absolutely they should be on preventative. I don't even have any idea what "cycle out" means in this context.
 
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