I did heartworm preventative on all the dogs today, which reminded me to post the recipe I use.
I get cattle Ivomec and dose at about 1/100 cc per 10 lb once every 30 – 45 days. I was a little bit late this time, right at 45 days, but I was getting them all tested for heartworm (which I do once a year) and was paranoid about somehow masking the infection. They’re all negative and so the preventative begins again. Ivermectin is actually effective for close to 60 days; the 30-day dosing on the Heartgard box is so that if you forget a month your dog should still be OK. If I were in the South I’d probably go closer to the 30-day recommendation.
Obviously, it’s very hard to draw up 1/100 of a cc of Ivomec! So I use a tuberculin syringe and get 1/10 cc, then draw up 9/10 cc of saline solution. Take off the needle, tip the syringe back and forth ten or twenty times, and dose about 1/10 cc per 10 lb of dog. I tend to go over just a tiny bit, so Clue gets the dosage for a 30-lb dog, Ginny gets it for 15 lb, Bronte gets it for 35-40.
That’s about it! Ivomec makes a lot of sense when you have multiple dogs, as long as you make sure the medication is very well mixed with the saline or propylene glycol or corn syrup or whatever you use. I think it’s a lot of needless mixing for just one dog, and I don’t DIY for puppies either.
Ivomec can seem to be astoundingly inexpensive if you divide it out; one $40 bottle will dose a corgi once a month for something like a hundred years! But remember expiration dates; Ivomec on a typical feed store shelf has a couple of years before expiration. For one dog, that means that Heartgard (which is $5/dose from my vet) is actually less expensive than using the incredibly tiny amount of Ivomec that you’d need for those two years, and then throwing away a mostly full bottle.