Heartworm treatment
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Thread: Heartworm treatment

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Heartworm treatment

    Hi, everyone. My rescue, Trixy, was diagnosed with heartworms not too long ago and she has recently begun treatment. The vet said her heart and lungs sounded good, though, and that it's more than likely a minor case... She's currently on heartguard, and is also taking doxycyline until 9/9/10. She's scheduled to get her first immiticide shot in October, then the next two shots a month later. My concern is that it's advised that she's put on cage rest for two months while all this is going on, but she is an incredibly hyper dog. I'm afraid that she'll work herself up and have complications from the worms dying. I've been doing some research on the slow-kill vs. fast-kill methods of treating heartworms, and I'm leaning more toward the slow-kill method because it seems like it would be less stressful on her.... But it also seems like a treatment that many vets won't go for. Has anyone else dealt with heartworm treatment? If so, was it a slow or fast kill? Did your dog suffer any complications from it? I think my anxiety is starting to rear its ugly head, because I'm concerned that she may die from this treatment...

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    Senior Member ozzy's Avatar
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    Re: Heartworm treatment

    I am sorry to hear about this. I am about to go through the same thing with my dog though and just wanted to offer my sympathy. Maybe we can stay in touch and compare treatment. My dog is 3 years old and I have had him since he was a puppy. I give him heartguard every month and somehow he just tested positive for heartworms. It just makes me sick and I am sick with worry too. We have not even started treatment yet since the vet wanted to send his blood out for one more test.

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    Re: Heartworm treatment

    Thanks, ozzy. I'm sorry to hear about your dog, too. My dog is about the same age as yours. The shelter had her listed as 2 y/o, but the vet said she was probably closer to 4 based on her teeth. When I adopted her, I was praying she didn't have heartworms, but no such luck. I've been going back and forth about what to do, because I've read a lot of success stories about people using a slow-kill method that didn't require immiticide. Since Trixy can be so crazy, I'm afraid that she'll have some issues with not raising her blood pressure. If left in a crate too long, I think she might flip out! If you know, what additional testing is your vet doing? I expected some x-rays, more bloodwork, etc., but my vet treats all cases like a worse case scenario, so she'll be on doxycycline for a month, then get her first shot in October, followed by two more shots (24 hours apart) in November. <sigh> I'm gonna be so stressed until this thing is over... When will you get a final diagnosis and find out what her treatment is going to be?
    Last edited by ATLdoglovr27; 08-28-2010 at 06:00 PM.

  5. #4
    Senior Member ozzy's Avatar
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    Re: Heartworm treatment

    Hi, well my dog had two weak positive test results. I don't know what that means exactly but the vet thought it was somewhat inconclusive, esp since my dog has always been on the preventative all of his life. So she is sending out his blood to the lab to make sure it really is positive. I guess I am praying there is some kind of mistake and he is not but I have bad feeling about it and the vet agreed that two weak positives ending up being negative was pretty impossible.

    After that we will talk about treatment so we haven't even gone there yet. She did mention she would probably do the antibiotices for the first month. I think from what I have read this makes it much safer. I also worry about the quiet period. My dog is a crazy terrier who loves to leap off beds and stairs and race around the house. I guess my hope is to just do the best I can and keep him quiet. I think the younger and healthier the dog the lower the risk during this period.

    My other problem is that I am getting married in October and planning a 10 day honeymoon. I have out of town guests coming to stay and all of this going on so I really don't see how I can do the immiticide during October which is when it would line up just like yours does. I am going to ask the vet about doing the antibiotics and slow kill type thing until November and then maybe starting the immiticide when I can devote all my attention to keeping him rested.

    I don't know how I am going to get through this either but I feel I have to do the treatment. From what I understand with the slow kill your dog's heart will be getting damaged by the worms the whole time so I think it is better to do it and get it over with and try your best. If your vet has not done any extra tests maybe get a second opinion? Good luck!! I know how tough this is.. I have really been down about it this past week.

    I don't think I am going to keep visiting these forums right now because some of the other heartworm threads have kind of upset me but feel free to send me a private message and stay in touch!

    Jen

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    Member LDMomma's Avatar
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    Re: Heartworm treatment

    I'm sorry to hear of the HW diagnosis.

    I don't kow much about treatment. I do know that the rescue I just adopted from uses (and has for the last 20 yrs) the slow-kill method.

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    Re: Heartworm treatment

    Stick with the protocol your vet has you on now. Studies done have indicated that the amount of exercise a heartworm positive dog gets directly correlate with the degree of pulmonary disease it develops. The cage resting that is recommended by your doctor is key.

    From the American Heartworm Society:

    "Staging of the disease and use of the two-injection protocol has failed to adequately ensure treatment success. Therefore, regardless of the stage of the disease, the three-injection alternative protocol is the treatment of choice of the American Heartworm Society and several university teaching hospitals, due to the increased safety and efficacy benefits and decreased possibility that further treatment with melarsomine would be necessary. Furthermore, by initially killing fewer worms and completing the treatment in two stages, the cumulative impact of worm emboli on severely diseased pulmonary arteries and lungs is reduced...

    Long-term Macrocyclic Lactone Administration [This is regarding the slow kill method]
    Continuous monthly administration of prophylactic doses of ivermectin, moxidectin and selamectin is effective in reducing the life span of juvenile and adult heartworms. The older the worms when first exposed to macrocyclic lactones, the slower they are to die. So, the adulticidal effect of macrocyclic lactones generally requires more than a year of continuous monthly administrations and may take more than two years before adult heartworms are eliminated completely. In the meantime, the infection persists and continues to cause disease. Therefore, long-term continuous administration of macrocyclic lactones generally is not a substitute for conventional arsenical adulticide treatment."

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    Re: Heartworm treatment

    Mr.V is spot on correct ............
    I have just had two large breed rescue dogs treated with the three injection slow kill protocol and all has turned out well. The new protocol starts with
    Heartguard for three months and then the three injection imiticide treatment which is said to be easier on the dog and kill a higher percentage of adult heartworms. The dog stays on Heartguard. My Vet said rest and slow walking to yard for poop and pee breaks was the rule for 90 days. I hope your dog does well.

  9. #8
    Senior Member JustTess's Avatar
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    Re: Heartworm treatment

    Both of my adopted dogs were HW positive and treated the fast kill method. I've gotten two different reactions and if I had to do it again, I would opt the fast kill for Lola and the slow kill for Ilya. It didn't seem to bother Lola a bit and she recovered nicely. She didn't really feel like going outside so keeping her still was easy. Ilya, on the other hand, was a mess. His anxiety made his heart race, couldn't sit still, ended up with colitus, and started coughing up blood. Since both dogs were raised together, they could have contracted HW about the same time. Lola came through with flying colors and I thought I would have lost Ilya because he dropped 20 lbs and had to be put on sedatives to be calm...two years later he has s-l-o-w-ly gotten over his fear of vets which started after HW treatments.

    A friend mentioned older dogs tend to have a harder time going through HW treatment than younger dogs (both of mine were 3 yrs at the time). I would have felt more relieved if the vet has done many HW treatments because the vet I used kept telling me Ilya wasn't suppose to react that way and thought I was exagerating >

    George, Lola, Sophie, Ilya

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    Re: Heartworm treatment

    Nine times out of ten, I'm going to follow the doctors orders. I just don't know what to do about this cage rest period. Especially considering how hyper she is. I've never used a crate with her, and I'm not sure if she's crate trained from her previous owners, so I'm concerned about how she'll react to being caged up. The vet is saying I don't necessarily have to keep her crated, as long as she's not jumping, barking, anything that'll raise her heart rate. For the most part she's calm, but if she sees another animal (cat, dog, squirrel, etc.), or someone rings the doorbell, she flips out. I'm also afraid that if I make her stay in a crate for an extended amount of time, she'll freak out which wouldn't be good, either. I'll figure something out, though. I just know this isn't going to be easy... And until her vet gives me an all clear on her health, I am going to be soooo worried.

  11. #10
    Senior Member tskoffina's Avatar
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    Re: Heartworm treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by ATLdoglovr27 View Post
    ...or someone rings the doorbell, she flips out.
    I can't help with the rest, but wish you luck, but maybe you should disconnect the doorbell for that period and put a note on the door to knock quietly or call you cell. I fixed my bell, so unfixing shouldn't be hard, lol.

  12. #11
    Senior Member ozzy's Avatar
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    Re: Heartworm treatment

    I hear you on the door bell and seeing another dog, cat or squirrel. I have the exact same issue and worry about the same thing when I do this. I can't see keeping ozzy crated 24/7 so I think I will close all the blinds and keep him gated or tethered to me wherever I am. Luckily I work from home and he usually sleeps on a bed in my office with me all day. The tough part is morning and evening when he is hyper active.

    Disconnecting the door belll or putting a sign up is a great idea. I never even thought of that but will def do it when my time comes to go through this.

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