Are Heartworm Preventatives Necessary?

Dear Nora,
I just “found” your blog when looking for information on Grapes and it is very helpful!  I looked as best I could and did not find any posts regarding the monthly protection we are routinely instructed to use to prevent heartworm and Lyme disease so I wonder if this is something you have looked into?  I would greatly appreciate hearing your views.

Hi Anne,
Thanks for your email.  Heartworm is a bit tougher to tackle than the grape issue because it’s harder to get objective information and is inherently much more complicated.  But I will say right out of the gate that I do NOT treat my own animals with “preventatives” of any kind except what they are fed, and I do not recommend these.

Fear sells

I strongly suspect the heartworm scare is a device manufactured with the intention of recouping the vet industry for its losses due to ever decreasing vaccination compliance.  It makes no sense that drug-based preventatives are the only thing keeping domestic dogs from dying en mass of so-called ‘threats’ like heartworm.  Otherwise, nothing would prevent dogs that are not in our care from completely dying off.  There would be no packs of feral dogs in rural areas, no coyotes overpopulating (and necessitating government “predation control” programs) and, in fact, no wild dogs at all.  The truth is, the dogs that are in our care are the ones that are most at risk and that is because of what we feed them.

Cause, or effect?

That being the case, even when heartworm is a problem, it is not a cause, it is just an effect of a larger cause.  To properly address symptoms, we want to look for causes and not concern ourselves with effects.  In living organisms, effects will take care of themselves when causes are removed.

It has been said there are no parasites in nature.  So-called parasites are often blamed for symptoms when they are really just part of the symptomology arising from the underlying condition of the animal.  The proper way to look at symptoms is that they are always either the body’s attempt to eliminate wastes or function as best it can in spite of them (the wastes).  Parasites, like all living creatures, go where their food supply is.  Creatures that are labeled “parasites” eat waste.  Where there is waste, there is disease, sometimes including “parasites”, but it is this accumulation of waste, not the parasites, that causes ALL symptoms/sickness/disease.  If a parasite is present and a dog has other symptoms or dies, the parasite did not cause the sickness or death, the waste that was feeding the parasite (and causing all the other symptoms) caused it.  When we want to “prevent” or get rid of a “parasite”, or indeed any other symptom, we need only ensure that our dogs are fed such that waste does not accumulate in their bodies.  Once again the solution lies in proper feeding.

Thanks again for the question.

Best wishes,
“Sickness, like health, is never ’caught’, it is created.”

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