annual heartworm test

This is a hot topic at work right now.  It's comping up on "heartworm season" so we recommend an annual heartworm or 4DX test for all dogs in addition to using a heartworm preventative either year-round or thaw to freeze.  We all have different opinions on the importance of vaccines and bloodwork, which is something I, and the other technicians at work, understand.

Our clinic recommends an annual DHPP combo vaccine, and we follow the WI state law of three year rabies vaccines after the initial one year.  Those two (Rabies and DHPP) are considered the "core" vaccinations (communicable/zoonotic and life threatening).  If I were in need of compromise in order to save on cost.  I would likely let the DHPP go another year and run a heartworm test instead.  At the clinic I work, a DHPP and heartworm test are only cents difference.  As a technician, it is my job to "present the facts" to the owner and let each one decide.  I've discussed with one of the veterinarians I work with about compromise, and how do we present the information as unbiasedly as possible.  I clearly have a bias, but I try not to let it interfere.

How does your veterinarian present heartworm and vaccine information?  Do you run a yearly heartworm test, do you give annual vaccines?  Does your dog have risk factors that affect your decisions?

Truthfully, I run a 4DX on both of my dogs every spring.  They are on every 3 years for DHPP and Rabies, alternating years.  I haven't given a Lyme vaccine in years and the 4DX hasn't shown Lyme positive for either one.  Though, the Lyme vaccine is giving me a lot of headache this year.  I just cannot decide!


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

I get HW tested every year and don't give HW pills in the frozen months.

I give rabies as accordance to law and am not fully sure what I'm doing with DHPP yet. Lance will be 4 soon so is coming up on that 3yr mark. My vet clinic recommends 3yr distempers or titers and yearly hw.

Megan said...

We've had quite a few discussions at work lately about 1-2-3 "year" DHPP vaccines. As well as offering Titers to clients more. A few local clinics have gone to a "3 year DHPP" protocol, which we honor in the case of boarding and grooming but they are selling it to clients at a higher price and saying it is a different vaccine. I know all the Rabies vaccines we carry are the same and all the DHPP vaccines we carry are the same. But I suppose that is for a whole new post. :-)

Crystal said...

What about the lyme vaccine is giving you a headache?

Bethany said...

I have to get HW tested every year when I go in to refill for the year.

As for the DHPP, after the puppy shots, they get one more around a year, and that's that. I never redo them.

Rabies depends on the dog. The ones that are retired and don't go anywhere don't get it anymore. There's no need when they are just sitting on the couch at home, especially since the studies are showing they are effective for up to 7 years.

Megan said...

Crystal-I can't decide if I should give it or not. You've seen where we live, it's tick infested come spring/summer. I am good about using frontline in the "tick months" which could contribute to the lack of Lyme disease in my dogs, but am I just getting lucky? Is the deck stacked in my favor or? Realistically, I have a feeling I'd notice symptoms and treat accordingly with Doxy, and not let it get bad... but who knows!

Betahy-Good to hear from you! Texas certainly has different concerns than up here in the frigid north!