You guys know that I try to keep unnecessary meds/shots under control. So when it was time to buy more heartworm medicine, I realized it’d been a couple of years since I’d researched the latest findings. I decided it was time to dig back in to find the current “facts”. Following is a map of heartworm incidence by state. Read on below to see my current protocol.

US-Heartworm-Map-2011

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While the above numbers are—by my book—pretty low, perhaps the rabid pushing for monthly dosing of HeartGuard year-round and other like medicines needs to be rethought. Especially since it takes 90 days for the microfilaria (baby heartworms) to grow to a larval stage; and even longer to grow into adult heartworms. If a dog is dosed with Ivermectin at any time during that 3-month larval period before adult heartworms are present, it will kill them.

Since I’m always looking for a happy medium, and I’d rather be safe than sorry, I’ve opted to dose every10 weeks for the duration of months with nightly temps over 55 degrees. I use Ivermectin Sheep Drench which I buy on Amazon. If you decide to go that route, read the first review for the correct dosing chart.

To meet my dogs’ weight requirements, here’s where we fall:

* 15 to 29 pounds: 0.1 cc
* 30 to 58 pounds: 0.2 cc

Here’s the side-by-side cost break-out comparison for 2 dogs:

Ivermectin                                                  Heartguard                              SAVINGS

$28  for 2 year supply       VS                $370 for Heartguard                    $342!

The most concise article I came across (that I then cross-checked for facts) was the The Billion Dollar Heartworm Scam.

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