My poodle is on Trifexis. What is the logic behind requiring a blood test once a year before selling me this med?
I can buy a six months supply after the test and go back in six months and get six more months but after that they require another blood test to be sure that he does not have heart worms!
My dog has been on the same med for over nine years. They say, “Well, you might have missed a dose!” Wwhat about when I go back after six months and they sell me six months more without the test?
I think it is all about the $40 they charge for the test! I used to buy it by mail from PetMeds with a script but now they won’t give me a script even with the test!
If it truly is a law, can you tell me who to contact and complain about this? Who makes these rules or laws?
Thank you for a reply,
This is a very good question. I would like to add that it is a question discussed by veterinarians all the time. Because contrary to what you think, we are not just trying to find ways to charge people money.
The actual Florida State law involves the Doctor-Patient relationship. A veterinarian is only allowed to dispense medication if the veterinarian has seen the pet in the last 12 months. So when you want heartworm medicine, your doctor is correct that it is the “law” that the pet has to have been seen within 12 months.
The one year heartworm test requirement is a decision made by veterinarians based on the recommendations of the American Heartworm Society. This society was established in 1974, and they are continually studying and updating what we know about heartworm disease.
It is based on the evidence there are some strains of heartworms that have developed resistance to the preventives. It is also based on the possibility that owners might forget to give a dose or a pet might hide and spit out the pill or throw the pill up before it has had time to absorb.
Quoting Dr. C. Thomas Nelson on the American Heartworm Society website in a summary of the latest guidelines, he says, “Heartworm resistance to preventives is real … the documented presence of resistant sub-populations of heartworms is noted …”
But do not let the known occurrence of resistance cause you to despair and not want to give your dog heartworm prevention. Resistance is not the norm, and they are testing preventives all the time with resistant strains of heartworms to develop preventions that are superior.
Dr. Nelson goes on to say, “This is not, however, a cue to abandon prevention; in fact, the opposite is true. More than ever, we as practitioners need to emphasize proper use of preventives, which means ensuring that all at-risk animals — both dogs and cats — are on prevention 12 months a year.”
Other reasons for testing include the possibility that if a dog is positive for heartworms and gets the preventive, he may have a reaction that could be severe. If a dog is positive and is not tested, no one will know. How will it get treatment?
The longer the heartworms are present, the more damage and change that occurs to the heart and lungs. Permanent scarring can occur and lead to heart failure. Once-a-year testing just makes sense. And because of that, most veterinarians in an effort to practice the best medicine and follow the American heartworm Society guidelines, require testing yearly before dispensing heartworm prevention.
I do not have an answer for you as to why your veterinarian will not give you a script for your preventive. Yes, we doctors are wary of online pharmacies because we do not know if the quality control is truly there, but it is your right as a pet owner to receive a script for prevention if you choose not to get it at your veterinarian’s office.
I would talk to your doctor again and make your wishes known. Hopefully they will relent if you have had a yearly exam and heartworm test and write your prescription.
And, finally, the reason you are getting six months of medicine every six months is just preference. You can get 12 months all at once or you can come back every month and get one pill at a time. It does not matter as long as you get the prevention within the 12-month window from the time of the exam.
Have a question for Dr. Johns? E-mail her at [email protected]. Write to Pet Peeves, P.O. Box 2949, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32549. Johns is a Niceville veterinarian.