The dog and I should take the poison to cure what we don't have?
Imagine a doctor telling you that "just to be safe," he was going to dose you every month with penicillin because "you never really know."
Also, since you do a lot of gardening and are around dirt and manure a lot, he was going to worm you every month as well.
Would you consider that outrageous health care?
Well, it's not outrageous in the world of dogs, where veterinarians routinely counsel every client that their dog should be on year-round poisons so they can avoid fleas, ticks, heart worms and roundworms, whether they have them or not.
Roundworms are uncommon in an adult dog, and dosing your dog on a monthly basis is not needed unless you are feeding your dog the raw flesh of wild animals.
Dose your dog once a year for worms (no vet visit is needed, no fecal test is needed, and no prescription medication is needed) and be done with it.
As for fleas and ticks, it really depends on how and where you live. If you have several dogs and are in field and forest several times a week, that is one thing. But if you only have one dog which rarely leaves the sidewalk (i.e. most dogs in America), your dog probably does not need to be on year-round flea and tick medication. Get a flea comb, and if you find fleas, bathe your dog in a cheap over-the-counter flea shampoo, and you should be fine.
As for heart worm, it can only be transmitted if the temperature stays above 57 degrees for at least 45 days straight, both day and night. If the temperature drops below 57 degrees even once during that 45-day period, the life cycle of the heart worm is broken. And if your dog is dosed with heart worm medication even once during any part of a heartworm's 90-day life cycle, all of the microfilaria larvae will be killed. In short, year-round monthly dosing for heart worm is never needed.
So why do vets routinely prescribe year-round
As Dr. Tai Federico, a Tennessee veterinarian recently confessed to the Veterinary Information Service: "Merial has paid for my house, basically, (through) the profit I’ve gotten on Frontline.”
Not only are there real profits to be made from the monthly application of flea, tick and heart worm medications, but simply getting clients to keep coming back for regular prescriptions means that more "well dog" visits can be scheduled during which unnecessary vaccine "booster" shots and dental cleanings can be sold. .
Ironically, while many dog owners have a misplaced obsession with the quality of food they are feeding their dog, these same pet owners often think nothing of dosing their canine companions with insecticides on a monthly basis.
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