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Heartworm Testing

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On location at Rose City Veterinary Hospital, Becky Smith CVT, VTS (Clinical Practice), discusses heartworm preventive medications in both cats and dogs, and also talks about the reasoning and importance of testing pets for heartworm. 

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Becky Smith's picture
Becky Smith

CVT VTS(CP)

Enrolled: 01/2013

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Mary Schlicting's picture

We are in CA (just 3 hours drive south of Medford, OR) and have VERY high heartworm incidence for dogs and cats not on prevention. It is popular in some rural areas to dose IVOMEC cattle dewormer to dogs and cats. (WE NEVER RECOMMEND THIS) Any suggestions for convincing owners to switch to an approved product?

Becky Smith's picture

Thanks, Mary for your question. That is a tough one! It is definitely hard to convince an owner to use an approved product when they have been using Ivomec. The way we approach it at my clinic is to discuss the potential side effects of Ivomec (overdose and neurologic)and that the heartworm preventives for dogs and cats are formulated for them and include additional benefits (protection against roundworms, whipworms, fleas, hookworms, ear mites-in cats,depending on the product). Since I am in Portland, Oregon, we have a low heartworm presence but a large amount of flea and roundworm infections because it does not get cold enough, hot enough and it is always wet. Yay, parasites love that! We discuss the zoonotic potential of roundworms with the owner and that we have fleas year round. That is our main selling point and for us, the bonus is the heartworm protection. You also will get the support of the product manufacturer should there be any side effects or questions. That being said, some owners will not give up their "old school" remedies. We feel that it is up to us to give owners the information and hope they agree. I hope this helps! Good luck.

Mary Schlicting's picture

Thanks for the different point of view! I usually concentrate on the dangers of using ivomec, but I think my staff might be able to more easily educate clients with the added benefits of the on-label products. That is a much more friendly approach than the "DVM stern face".

Lisa Ensalaco's picture

I am completely distracted by the Elvis painting in this picture.