Do dogs that are on continuous heartworm prevention really need a yearly test Discussions

Discussion in 'General Dog Chat' started by who owns who, May 14, 2021.

  1. who owns who

    who owns who Member

    Likes Received:
    879
    Gender:
    Male
    Name:
    Marc

    Do dogs that are on continuous heartworm prevention really need a yearly test

    I’ve switched to a new vet due to my old vet selling his practice. I wasn’t happy with the new owners. We’ve been to the new veterinarian once and I felt good about the visit. Well now it’s time for their heartworm prevention shots and I’m now being told that both my dogs need a test before they get a shot. My previous vet (before he sold the practice) had told me that once they’d been on the shots for a period of time and had two negative tests that they no longer needed to be tested. The tests are not cheap and feel unnecessary to me if the shots work. I’m frustrated by this and feel like it’s a scam.

    To further confound my situation the new vets didn’t send me a courtesy reminder that it was time to bring them in and so now they are both late. Further when I called two days ago I was told one dog was two weeks late but the other dog was good for another almost six months. I explained that my dogs are both on the same schedule. I was told they’d look into it and get back to me. Two days later they hadn’t gotten back to me so I called. So now they probably should get a test, I suppose. But if they’ve contracted Heartworm in this brief window it won’t show up yet in a test.... grrr

    I’m expecting a call Monday to discuss this with their vet. I’m almost ready to switch again because I’m frustrated, but I was happy the first visit so maybe I’m overreacting
  2. Registered users won't see this advert. Sign up for free!

  3. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

    Likes Received:
    148
    Gender:
    Female
    Name:
    Toed
    Ugh. I hate finding a new vet. I base my decision on these requirements and in this priority:

    1. how they behave towards my animals.
    2. do they treat me like I know nothing or do they accept that I know what a cat bite or foxtail injury looks like.
    3. do they prioritze diagnosis and treatment. Meaning do they not immediately go to the most invasive procedure first just because. If it's likely a foxtail, then the animal doesn't need an xray or biopsy.
    4. do they want to do multiple procedures rather than one. For instance, my 13-1/2 yr old golden had a massive lump on her hip. One vet wanted to do an aspirate for $150, then a biopsy for $200, and then a removal for $250. I took the dog to my mom's vet and he said it didn't matter if it was cancerous or not it had to be removed. The removed lump could be tested for cancer so why waste time and money on the aspirate and biopsy. Not to mention having to sedate the elderly dog multiple times. $250 later the lump was removed, determined noncancerous and the dog lived to 16.

    As for the heartworm, I am useless. I've never given it to my dogs before. Because of Tornado-dog's young age, I agreed to put him on it as he doesn't need testing. Once I put him on it, I figured I should put Cat-dog on it.

    From what I've been reading, the yearly tests are recommended because owners may fail to administer the prevention timely. Since your dog was late on the shot, not due to your failure, perhaps agree to have him tested this year and next. Then once the vet sees that you are getting the shots timely, you can skip additional testing. For the other dog, since she has not had any lapse in her prevention, no testing for her.

    I think I'll broach this approach with my vet.
  4. who owns who

    who owns who Member

    Likes Received:
    879
    Gender:
    Male
    Name:
    Marc
    No, both my dogs are late. They were reading the charts incorrectly. I have two issues with the new vet now. The first is not being notified that my dogs were due. My old vet sent me an email reminder. On this I’ve received two different answers, which I don’t like and doesn’t give me confidence, seems like they’re covering their butts. I was told that they didn’t send a reminder because they hadn’t previously gotten that shot from them (this was today). But when I asked if I’d get reminders about vaccinations, because they received those elsewhere too, I was told yes I’d get reminders. Now they did get some vaccinations during their first visit, but not a rabies one, because they weren’t due. The first time I called about the heartworm shots I was told by receptionist that she wasn’t sure why I hadn’t been reminded, I should have been. As a new patient, they received all my dogs prior records from the old vets office. They knew I was switching to then because I didn’t like the care I’d received from the new owners of the old vets practice, and they’d heard this from others too. They should have input all relevant info into their system so they could help me make sure my dogs stayed up to date on everything I give them. I feel they failed on this, and if this is the reason I need to test my dogs, they should administer the tests at least at cost, if not free, because it was their mistake. I also got two different answers about this. One was that because I was switching vets they’d want my dogs to have a negative test at their office before giving the injection. The second answer was that they require yearly tests, even if your dog has been continuously receiving the shot, with no lapses. One of the advantages about the shot is the manufacturer knows their has been no lapse, so they didn’t, at least in the past, require the yearly test, after two negative tests in a year.

    I’m not trying to be cheap, I give my dogs what they need as far as shots, when they need them, but I just feel like if the shots work, they shouldn’t need a test. They don’t test the dogs for rabies before they vaccinate them. I do understand that with heartworm medication if your dog does have heartworms. It’s life threatening to give them the preventative, without first treating them for heartworm.

    I did have a dog, 15 years ago, that got heartworm when I was lacks on giving the monthly pills. Oddly only one of my three at the time got it. She was treated, and went back on medication. This is partly why I know I need to stay up on these things. Not doing so can cause the dog to suffer, and prevention is cheaper than treatments.
  5. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

    Likes Received:
    148
    Gender:
    Female
    Name:
    Toed
    The reminder issue could have been a simple issue with moving to a new vet. But if they are giving you multiple reasons for it, that would concern me. Either one hand doesn't know what the other is doing (e.g. the receptionist says you should have gotten a reminder and the vet saying they didn't sebd reminders to new patients) OR they are just making excuses to appease you.

    I understand your issue with the testing. It's not about being cheap but rather about not wasting time and resources on unnecessary procedures/tests.

    I was reading a blog by a vet and he suggested vets offer free testing if you buy a year's supply of preventive. He said they'll make enough on the medication to cover the test and it encourages more owners to agree.

    I'd look for another vet who is willing to work with you. That's the one thing I like about my current vet's office. While they are a bit more expensive than others, they are very willing to work with me and let me make the final decision without a guilt trip. As such, I am more willing to accept their recommendations.
  6. who owns who

    who owns who Member

    Likes Received:
    879
    Gender:
    Male
    Name:
    Marc
    I think we read the same blog. Lol.

    I’d been going to the same veterinary practice for almost 30 years. The original vet retired and sold the practice to a vet that worked for him years ago. I really loved Tony as a vet, his wife and most of the staff. He understood I didn’t have an endless bank account like many of his clients did. He was really kind and caring, I never questioned his advice as it always felt appropriate. He helped ease a cat and two dogs from their pain and suffering, and let me have as much time as I needed afterwards. I really trusted him.

    He sold the practice this fall after his house burned down in the fire we had here that started in August. Was just going to take to long to permit to rebuild, so they left. The new owners are a corporation and I didn’t like how the new vets communicated, and pushed unnecessary expenses. Wanted $70 to shave a spot to look at a small wound, beyond the $70 office visit, and even after doing so couldn’t tell what it was. Said maybe from a flea bite.... my dogs don’t, and have never had fleas. They wanted to give a $100 steroid injection, and a $100 antibiotic injection as well. I just said I’d take the $15 of antibiotic pills. Cleared whatever it was right up (Tony would never have pushed all that, or charged for shaving the spot). Told me my 4 year old (at the time) dog had severe periodontal issues and needed his teeth cleaned and possibly some removed. Told me the dog had pain when he examined his mouth.

    I found a new vet, the place that frustrated me today, and was quite pleased with how the vet communicated. She said Bandits teeth are fine and that maybe next year consider cleaning them. Katie Mae had a bump on her side mthat I noticed was getting bigger. Turns out to be a sebaceous cyst, and was told we didn’t need to do anything about it. The vets I had left probably would have wanted to biopsy it, so they could charge me. The other thing I learned was this vets office had actually taken care of Tony’s cats for him during the fire, so these are people he knew and trusted. I haven’t spoken to the vet yet, she’s supposed to call me Monday. Hopefully I’ll be happy with the outcome of the call because I don’t want to switch again. I think someone at the front desk probably spoke when they shouldn’t have. If I switched again I’d likely find something to be unhappy about there as well.

    I was a little grumpy today, as I had to get up much earlier than I would have preferred, I didn’t get enough sleep, and sleep is one of the most important things for me to recover from my concussion. Not sleeping enough brought out a few symptoms, which I’d been symptom free the last 5 days, for the first time in weeks. One symptom is being easily agitated, which I definitely was about this test situation, and not being reminded it was time. The other symptom was a visual thing while driving, which is disconcerting.
  7. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

    Likes Received:
    148
    Gender:
    Female
    Name:
    Toed
    When I had the lump removed from my golden, my mom's vet said to stay away from the local vet medical group (which was where I had gone) and to find an independent vet.

    I decided to go see a new vet to get the dog's stitches out (they went from the top of the back all the way down to the knee). Found one and took her with her file from the surgery. The vet was reading it and said "is that Dennis Clifton?" When I said yes, he explained they had been in school together and a bunch of them went clam digging every year. I knew I had found a good vet. Stayed with him for years until he retired. When he sold his practice within a month all the office staff had changed. I saw that as a bad sign.

    Your example fits in with my rule #3. Why go to steroids immediately when you can give oral antibiotics a go first?

    I totally get the sleep issue. While I don't have a concussion, I get anxiety issues if I don't sleep well. And I don't sleep well if it's hot. The past week, I was getting stressed because of the week. Last night a beautiful cool breeze came and I slept beautifully with the window open - well once Looney1 decided to come home at 2 am after escaping out the front door earlier... I xan't sleep if either of the cats escapes and doesn't come home. Thank the Cat Gods I'm retired and can sleep til noon.
  8. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

    Likes Received:
    148
    Gender:
    Female
    Name:
    Toed
    Any luck on this?
  9. who owns who

    who owns who Member

    Likes Received:
    879
    Gender:
    Male
    Name:
    Marc
    The saga continues. I just canceled the dogs appointment tomorrow. That Vet wants $77 per shot and $76 per test. This is just an insult on top of robbery. They don’t even carry the 12 month shot, which I know the same company makes, which is infuriating. At least carry the 12 month shot if you insist on giving a test each time. And what if I bought 12 months worth of pills, then they’d only need the test once a year. Not pleased with this vet now.

    I have two options.

    Option one is to go to a mobile Vet clinic that sets up at various pet stores, I’ve gone to them once before, professional and good price, but you have to show up and wait, which is a bit of a challenge with two Akitas that don’t particularly like other dogs. Here it’s $22 per test ($54 cheaper) if you purchase 12 months of preventive, which I’m guessing is monthly pills since I don’t see a price for the shot. Through my old vet or current vet if you buy 12 months worth online it’s $105. So that’s $127 per year per dog, including test. It’s possible they offer the shot and it’s just not listed.

    Option two is I called another vet office and talked to receptionist and they only require testing every two years. The hitch here is that they want to do an intake visit since I’d be a new client, one for each dog, and they both just had a yearly checkup two months ago, so this is a waste of my time and $. The new client care person wasn’t there today but will be tomorrow. I’m going to call in the morning and see what can be worked out.

    I prefer the shot as that way I know the dogs are covered and I don’t have to remember to give them a pill once a month. They don’t like the chewables and I have to break it in half and coax it down their throats. I’ll also call the mobile vet number again tomorrow to see if they offer the shot. Was on hold earlier for 10+ minutes and had to hang up to go to an appointment. Now there phone center is closed.

    If I get the heartworm stuff done by the mobile clinic I could still keep the current vet as their vet for yearly checkups, but I’m pissed off at them at the moment. Always good to not make decisions when I’m pissed off...

    I’m just not willing to be taken advantage of financially by the vet, and be forced to get a test done that I don’t think is necessary every time, and if I’m going to do it yearly, $22 is a lot better than $76. That’s a huge profit margin. Grrr

    Edit. In addition I was supposed to receive a call Monday from the dogs vet to discuss this but I never got one and so I called them today. Probably moving to a different practice again. If someone says they are going to call me, I expect a call. I didn’t even receive an I’m sorry we didn’t get back to you. If your going to charge high prices at least give high quality response time. End rant.
  10. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

    Likes Received:
    148
    Gender:
    Female
    Name:
    Toed
    That's ridiculous!

    Yeah, I learned never to change doctors or vets right after an annual appointment - the new one always has to do an intake appointment (I think it may be a law).

    My vet isn't the cheapest around, but she does try to work with me. And she is so good with the dogs and cats - they all really like her. Even my Bat-dog who got traumatized by a vet was good with this one. And all the staff is exceptionally good with the animals. Sometimes I wish it'd be cheaper, but I've experienced some really bad vets and/or office staff and I figure these are worth it.
  11. who owns who

    who owns who Member

    Likes Received:
    879
    Gender:
    Male
    Name:
    Marc
    I’m just so unimpressed with vets office staff recently. I just spoke to the “new client intake coordinator” at the practice I was thinking of moving to. They would need to do an exam on each dog prior to being able to prescribe anything, which in my case is heartworm prevention. The fee is reasonable, $64 for first dog and $54 for second dog, if done on same day. Being as my dogs both just had exams I’m not going to switch them again at this time. But what really struck me was that she didn’t know if they offer the preventative shot, or just pills, and said it might take days to get back to me with this information.

    I’ll be taking the dogs to the mobile pet clinic this weekend for heartworm prevention, and probably all vaccinations in the future, because they are considerably less expensive. I’ll probably stay with the same veterinarian practice for yearly exams, as I liked how the vet communicated, and that’s very important to me.
  12. who owns who

    who owns who Member

    Likes Received:
    879
    Gender:
    Male
    Name:
    Marc
    Toedtoes likes this.
    At the prices the vet wanted for tests and preventive shots they better be serving cocktails and appetizers while I wait... nah, I don’t drink and I’m vegetarian so probably turn my nose up at their offerings anyhow
  13. who owns who

    who owns who Member

    Likes Received:
    879
    Gender:
    Male
    Name:
    Marc
    I understand all businesses need to make a profit, they have overhead like rent and malpractice insurance etc, but please be reasonable. The yearly exam price was relatively in line with other places, so maybe they figure they make their money on things you need to do for your pet, like vaccinations and preventatives.

    Possibly their plan is like a gas stations. Gas stations only make a very small profit on the actual gas, it’s all the overpriced other stuff, largely often junk, that they make most of the money on.

    It is somewhat inconvenient to wait in a line for the lower priced mobile vet clinic for these services but since I’m not working now while recovering from my concussion, I’ve got more time on my hands than money. The only other time I’ve gone was to get NexGard flea and tick medication and see if they could trim Katie Mae’s nails, as last time I asked the vet to do it I got charged $20 and couldn’t tell a difference. This was less than two years ago. Well Katie Mae was not having any of this, she likes her long nails (as some ladies do). At first they had 2 people trying to do it and then 3. I should have put a stop to it at this point, but they were determined to get it done and Katie Mae was determined not to have it done. They tried to lay her on her side and hold her down (this is when I definitely should have stepped in), well she was scared and pee’d in one of the techs faces and all over her shirt.... needless to say I’ve let her keep her long nails ever since. I do now have a grinder that I need to start running while I’m just petting her to see if I can get her used to it. Bandit just naturally wears his down so has never needed a trim.
  14. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

    Likes Received:
    148
    Gender:
    Female
    Name:
    Toed
    Bat-dog let the girls in the office clip her nails. It was amazing that she did, but she really liked them. Unfortunately for her, her first experience was with the Clack Doctor. That doctor came in and sat on a wheeling srool and clackety clacked on the tile for the entire visit. Then she cornered Bat-dog (rather than let me move her out into the center of the room) and checked her mouth and ears. All of a sudden, she had stuck the thermometer in Bat-dog's rear. I never even saw her grab the thermometer. And she didn't touch Bat-dog along her sides or anything. Basically, she raped my dog.

    Fortunately, she was gone by our next visit. But the damage had been done and Bat-dog had a huge fear of people for the rest of her life.

    I used to foster cats for a local group and they had a vet that did work for them at cost. I had a mama cat and kittens and mama got an upper respitory infection. I called the vet and was told they wouldn't see the cat unless she stopped eating. I called a couple days later and they finally agreed to see her. I took her and the kittens in and the vet tech came in the exam room, reached into the carrier, and literally yanked the cat out like she was taking a pair of jeans out of the dryer.

    She saw the look on my face and immediately started acting all nice to the cat. After she finished, the vet came in and very accusingly said to me "well of course she's not eating, she has an abcess on her tongue". I just said "if your staff had given me an appointment when I called last week, she would be better by now".

    From that day forward I took all my fosters to my old vet. He always reduced the fees for me knowing I was paying out of pocket rather than go to the other jerk and have the group pay.

    With the current vet, I don't worry that they will mistreat or traumatize my dogs or cats when I am waiting out in the car. Even Bat-dog was good for her and didn't freak. She'd be scared but well-behaved.

    When I took Tornado-dog and Looney2 for their shots last month, Looney2 had a heart murmur. The vet did a test and I took them home. Looney2 was very quiet and reserved the entire night. The next day, the vet called and said everything was fine and it was just stress (Tornado-dog had been really hyper in the car). She said to give Looney2 a kiss and hug for her. I found Looney2 sleeping in the cat's room and told him what she said and gave him the kiss and hug. The next thing I know, he's downstairs playing Lion Hunt with Tornado-dog. If she was able to get Looney2 to take it easy for a night, she's got to be good.
  15. who owns who

    who owns who Member

    Likes Received:
    879
    Gender:
    Male
    Name:
    Marc
    I tried to take my dogs to the mobile vet clinic this morning for heartworm stuff and the road going into town is closed. From what I’ve read there was an accident last night at 11:30, and I asked a guy putting out road closed signs and he said it would be closed until 7 or 8pm tonight. There was a long way around I could have gone but I figured that by the time I would have gotten there they’d probably be all filled up for the day, wasn’t worth the extra 45 minutes to an hour of driving and wasting the gas. Frustrating but nothing I can do about it. At least the dogs enjoyed the ride.
  16. Malka

    Malka Member

    Likes Received:
    7,464
    Gender:
    Female
    Name:
    Juli
    I am so glad that I do not have the problem with taking Tikva to the surgery. Last year she missed her three-monthly Parkworm shot just once as Ram could not come here during the first lockdown, and this one had to be delayed because of the war, but he will be coming round either Wednesday or Thursday for the shot, her Bravecto pill and nail clipping. I had a chat with Dalia, his morning vet technician/nurse, and she said that it seemed that half of Ashqelon's pet owners were appearing non-stop with traumatised dogs and cats. Looks like Tikva was the only one in the area whose behaviour did not change.

Share This Page