I realize that some of my emails have more of a human condition slant than any useful information about your pets. I think I can pull off both this week. (For those of you who don’t have a dog, you can fast forward to the video portion of my email.)
Kindred Spirits is a different kind of practice. Its more like an intentional community of animal lovers. We do things together sometimes, I send out emails that are not meant to sell you anything, we have a dressed up metal dog in our waiting area. Now on the surface, I can see that to a new client those things might not be a real attraction. But stay with me, you will see that different is good.
One of the nuts and bolts decisions we make each year is what kind of heart worm prevention to order. There are so many choices. You can buy them at the vet, online, at Walmart. The number of products are confusing even to us!. Heartworms are carried by mosquitoes, and we have seen a significant increase in the frequency of infected dogs in Maine. The reason for that, in my opinion, is twofold. First, it is warmer in Maine than it used to be. Secondly, with the popularity with sites like PetFinder.com, the number of dogs moving to Maine from southern states, where heart worm is very very common, has increased. Bottom line is that I used to see 1 case every year or two, and this last year we diagnosed 6 heart worm-infected dogs in the past 6 months. On top of that, there is a national shortage of the medication used to TREAT heart worm when it is diagnosed. That means that we have to have a heart worm diagnosis before we can order any drugs..and the treatment is much more aggressive than the prevention.
So, heartworm prevention is a necessity now for most dogs in our area. We will talk to you about the specifics when you come in for your annual exam… but my purpose for bringing it up is that we just ordered the new heart worm preventative, and its worth mentioning. It is called Sentinel Spectrum and prevents heart worm, 2 more intestinal worms than our previous medication, and it also prevents fleas…all for $1 more per tablet.
But wait, there’s more. Order today for 3 easy payments of 19.99 and we will send you a GinSu knife.
Also, for those who want to minimize toxins in and around your pet, this has a bonus. It is made of ingredients that have been in use for greater than 20 years with extremely low toxicity. The flea prevention portion especially prevents the reproduction of fleas by inhibiting chitin production. The egg tooth of the larva is made of chitin and allows for hatching of the egg. The cool thing is mammals don’t have chitin, so there is no toxicity to humans or pets.
When do you start?
Depends on your pet.
Dr Pooler, Dr Miller and myself have been discussing this point for the past 2 years. When they arrived, they both asked me independently why I didn’t recommend year round heart worm prevention. The reason is that heart worm transmission requires mosquitoes and an ambient temperature of over 70 degrees.
They pointed out 3 reasons that have been brought up in study after study:
1) transmission of intestinal worms is common in the winter, especially for those dogs that like “poopsicles”
2) most people remember more consistently if they do it year round-(Mary did remind me that in the drawer for Heart worm prevention I had 5 left over last year…I have 3 dogs and can’t figure out how that happened)
3) locally, the incidence of Heartworm infection has dramatically increased in the past 5 years.
So, as with every thing at Kindred Spirits, this decision depends on your pet’s risk factors. But I think for many dogs in our area year round heart worm prevention is a good idea. Its important that you don’t tell Dr’s Pooler or Miller that they were right on this one. They could get a big head…and Mary, when I give our dogs year round Sentinel this year it was my idea, because I am such a good vet and pet dad.
Whether you decide to go with seasonal or year round HW prevention, its time to call and get some if you haven’t already.
So, today’s to do list
If you haven’t gotten HW prevention for your dog, call us.
If you have gotten HW prevention or if you don’t have a dog, thank you for reading this and you may click on the picture of me in lederhosen to see our video.