Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Assuming you meant you missed the prevention medication for 3 weeks and you restarted the medication after the 3 week lapse and you continue to give the medications as prescribed by your veterinarian then no it is not likely that your pet would get heartworms. This answer is complicated by what medication you are using and where you live. You should discuss this lapse in medication with your veterinarian and they may suggest that your dogs be tested in the next 6 months to make sure your pets did not contract heartworms.

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If you forget a month of preventative, make sure to give the next 2 doses on time to “catch up” for that missed month. If you miss several months in a row, you should give your vet a call for advice on when to plan for the next heartworm test and how to get started back on preventatives.
Most of the monthly heartworm medicines have a safety factor of at least 15 days of protection if a dose is missed. This means that if you`re just a week or two late, your pet is likely still within that window of protection and would be unlikely to become infected during that time.
If you miss that monthly dose, your pet is at a potential risk of getting flea or tick bites, which can transmit some serious diseases. Heartworm preventive medicine is especially important to keep on schedule for your pet. If you miss a dose and your pet is bitten by an infected mosquito, it puts them at risk.
Interruptions in heartworm treatment are never ideal, as delays can allow heartworm infection to progress. Nevertheless, they are a fact of practice life. At this point, your priority is to restart treatment as soon as possible.
If it has been less than two weeks since the missed dose, give your dog the dose immediately. If it has been over two weeks since the missed dose, contact your vet, who will likely advise you to resume normal dosing next month and have the dog tested for heartworm in six months.
The monthly heartworm preventative we prescribe only lasts in a dog`s or cat`s body for one to two days, not 30 days, due to the lifestyle of the heartworm, it is only necessary for the pet to take the heartworm preventative every 30 days.
Although there are fewer mosquitoes in the winter, there is still a risk that your pet could get heartworms if you stop giving heartworm prevention medication during this season. That`s one reason veterinarians strongly recommend pets receive heartworm prevention medication year-round.
Allowing vigorous activity at any time in these 8 weeks can cause the weakened heartworms to shatter, causing a clot of worm fragments that blocks off blood flow to the lungs, brain, or other organs (“shaking the tree” phenomenon). This causes a stroke or sudden death.
Dogs with heartworm disease can live high-quality lives as long as they are given appropriate care. After completing treatment and following your veterinarian`s recommenda- tions on heartworm disease testing and prevention, the chances of any long-term effects are very low.
No one wants to hear that their dog has heartworm, but the good news is that most infected dogs can be successfully treated. The goal is to first stabilize your dog if he is showing signs of disease, then kill all adult and immature worms while keeping the side effects of treatment to a minimum.
Heartworm disease is a very serious parasitic disease that has the potential to be fatal for your dog if he is not treated quickly. This parasite is a worm that can grow up to a foot long and lives inside the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of an infected animal where it will reproduce over and over.
After treatment, the adult worms die and are carried by the blood to the lungs where they lodge in small blood vessels. There they decompose and are absorbed by the body over a period of several months.
If you have a dog at home who is already heartworm negative, we highly recommend doing everything you can to keep her that way, which means giving heartworm prevention once a month, every month.
Heartworm preventives do not kill adult heartworms. Also, giving a heartworm preventive to a dog infected with adult heartworms may be harmful or deadly. If microfilariae are in the dog`s bloodstream, the preventive may cause the microfilariae to suddenly die, triggering a shock-like reaction and possibly death.
Many flea and tick medications are manufactured in a once-monthly topical application or pill. If you miss that monthly dose, your pet is at risk of getting flea or tick bites.
How Often To Give Heartworm Drugs. Most heartworm drugs come with instructions to give them every 30 days. But according to many holistic vets, the monthly drugs are just as effective if you give them every 45 days, and 99 percent as effective if given every 60 days.
It works by slowly releasing microspheres of the antiparasitic drug, moxidectin, over the course of 12 months. ProHeart 12 is currently the only FDA-approved heartworm prevention product that prevents heartworm disease for a full year. It can also treat hookworms at the time of injection.
If a dose is missed, give SIMPARICA TRIO immediately and resume monthly dosing. When replacing a monthly heartworm preventive product, SIMPARICA TRIO should be given within one month of the last dose of the former medication.
What should I do if I miss a dose? To keep your dog protected from parasites and avoid treatment gaps, it`s important to adhere to the dosing schedule. However, if you do miss a dose, give it as soon as you remember. Then, adjust the dosing schedule so that the next dose is 30 days after the new dose.
Yes, your dog can get heartworms multiple times. For this reason, lifetime heartworm disease prevention can be important. It is highly recommended that you talk with your veterinarian about heartworm disease prevention before making a determination about what is best for your dog.
Dogs can fall victim to heartworm even if they are on a regimen of specialized preventative drugs. Dispensing errors can be to blame, as many of the drugs are topical in nature, requiring precise application in order to work properly. Allowing your dog to swim too soon after application can reduce the efficacy.
Myth #3: If my pet has heartworms, I will see them in her feces. Although many worm types, such as roundworms and tiny hookworms, are shed in your pet`s feces, heartworms do not live in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and are not found in feces.
Adult heartworms living in the heart and lungs can cause severe damage to the tissues in these organs. This can lead to heart and lung disease. Symptoms of affected dogs often include coughing, breathing difficulty, excessive panting, sudden collapse and even sudden death.
How long after heartworm treatment can a dog be active? According to Dr. Marteney, your dog will have to wait about six months after his diagnosis before he can get back to all his favorite activities.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. Want a pet cat companion for my dog Lucky, who is 5. The problem is that I’m somewhat alergic to cats. So, not sure what to do!
ANSWER : A. Dogs can make friends with lots of species, including cats! If you are heart-set on a cat, allergenic breeds are available such as hairless or lesser haired Sphinx and Devon-Rexes. However these breeds can be rare and hard to find at times. A short-haired cat that is brushed regularly may also cause less allergies. Many people with allergies are also able to take medications such as a daily allergy medication or spray like Nasocrom which can make living with a cat much easier.

If your dog is very friendly with other dogs, then getting him a dog friend may be an option! That would keep you from needing to get a cat and having an allergic reaction. Looking at your local animal shelter may help you to find a dog for adoption that is similar in personality and play style to your current dog. Many shelters will also let you introduce your dog to the one you are interested in adopting to see if they will be a good fit! If you can’t get another pet at this time, taking your dog to a local dog park or dog meetup can help him to get more social interaction and get out extra energy without the need for caring for another pet.

Q. Can giving a dog heartworm preventative to a dog that has heartworms make them sick?
ANSWER : A. YES. Never give a heartworm medication to a dog positive for heartworm unless instructed to do so by a vet.

Heartworm medications require a negative test prior to administration. This is due to the fact that giving a heartworm medication to a dog that is positive may kill off the adult worms too quickly. This can cause worms to become lodged in smaller blood vessels in the body which may lead to loss of blood to vital body parts and organs.

If your dog is heartworm positive, treatment usually involves a slow administration of medications to kill the worms under veterinary monitoring. Some vets may recommend hospitalizing a dog during their first treatment so that emergency care can be given if there is an adverse reaction or a worm becomes lodged in a vessel. A more recent procedure is to do a day-long “fast” die off of worms under monitor to prevent worms from repopulating that may occur during a longer term treatment.

Q. Vet is saying our dog has heartworm based on a sonogram. All tests are negative and he has no cough. I am very confused
ANSWER : A. Very rarely, a dog can have a heartworm infection and still test negative on an antigen test since the antigen tested for is produced only by the female worms. If the heartworms were not fully mature, or there were only male worms present, the antigen test result in infected animals would be falsely negative. This means the test result is negative when the animal is really infected.

An antibody test will be positive even if only one male worm is present. But this test has a downfall, too. Although it is very good at giving positive results when an infection is present, a positive antibody test just means the animal has been exposed to heartworms, but may or may not currently have heartworm disease. A negative antibody test means the animal has never been exposed to heartworms.

If they are actually seeing the heartworms via ultrasound, I would follow precautions by restricting exercise. This requirement might be difficult to adhere to, especially if your dog is accustomed to being active. But your dog’s normal physical activities must be restricted as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed, because physical exertion increases the rate at which the heartworms cause damage in the heart and lungs. The more severe the symptoms, the less activity your dog should have. And the diagnosis should be confirmed. Once a dog tests positive on an antigen test, the diagnosis should be confirmed with an additional—and different—test. Because the treatment regimen for heartworm is both expensive and complex, your veterinarian will want to be absolutely sure that treatment is necessary.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. I missed the heartworm treatment for 3 weeks. Will the dogs get them?
ANSWER : A. Assuming you meant you missed the prevention medication for 3 weeks and you restarted the medication after the 3 week lapse and you continue to give the medications as prescribed by your veterinarian then no it is not likely that your pet would get heartworms. This answer is complicated by what medication you are using and where you live. You should discuss this lapse in medication with your veterinarian and they may suggest that your dogs be tested in the next 6 months to make sure your pets did not contract heartworms.

Q. My dog doesn’t eat, what should I do?
ANSWER : A. If this is a puppy, see a veterinarian immediately. Puppies should want to eat. Common causes for anorexia in puppies include viruses (parvo is a big one), parasitism, and foreign bodies. They need immediate care – go to an emergency vet if yours isn’t open. Puppies can get low blood sugar and dehydration very quickly.

If this is an adult dog and you observe other concerning signs, such as diarrhea or decreased energy, you should see a veterinarian.

If the dog seems otherwise bright and stable, try offering different types of food: wet food, canned tripe, or cooked chicken and rice. Some dogs will go for canned baby food: chicken, turkey, or beef as the main ingredient. Make sure there are no garlic or onions in the ingredients!

Causes of anorexia in adult dogs can range from less serious to severe. Younger dogs are more likely to get into trouble- they tend to eat things they shouldn’t, and can get foreign bodies from eating things like socks, or stomach upset from getting in the trash. Any dog may stop eating due to stress, or just being a picky eater. Middle aged dogs can stop eating when they’re stressed and also have Addison’s disease, which can be fatal. Older dogs tend to stop eating when they develop cancer or renal disease.

There is no one-size-fits-all recipe to know when the right time is to take your dog to the vet. The moral of this story is, if it’s not getting better, your pup feels bad, or you’re worried – go see the vet!

Read Full Q/A … : My Dog Won’t Eat