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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, I am new to this site and have done my best to read through the posts and replies that are already here... so please bear with me if this is redundant.

Less than two weeks ago, I adopted the sweetest pit bull mix from a friend. I fell in love with her automatically and had to have her! I took her to the vet yesterday and was informed that her blood test was heartworm positive. Of course, the vet recommended the treatment that kills all worms, larvae and adult at once. I can handle the financial part that they quoted me, but I've already had at least 4 people tell me that the instant kill treatment is very hard on the dog, can cause complications/death, etc.

Someone close to me recommended treating her with ivermectin. She said it kills the immature heartworms when given on a regular basis (preventing them from maturing in the heart) and then the already adult ones basically die of old age- you then use a preventive and the dog will test HW negative within about 2 years.

Sorry so long winded- I'm seeking opinions from people who know about the differences in the two treatment options. I really appreciate anyone's time and advice!
 

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Both methods are about equally risky. Dead heartworms can cause a blockage no matter how quickly you kill them, although when a lot die at once the risk is higher. For the quick-kill, the dog is usually on crate rest to minimize risk, for the slow-kill obviously that won't work, so that makes it higher-risk. Of course the slow-kill method is cheaper.
 

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Thanks Willowy.... that's kinda what I just got from reading at {http://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/canine-heartworm.html}. The complications that come with adulticide treatment sound terrible... but at the same time I want to get rid of the adults, too. I can't stand the thought of my baby going through such pain :(
 

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If it helps, I just treated my own heartworm positive Pit mix. The HW had progressed, so after much deliberation I chose to do the fast kill method. The first two days she was obviously uncomfortable despite pain medications, and it was almost hilarious trying to keep a young energetic gal chill for 30 days, but we made it with zero complications. I did panic when a lump appeared on her injection site as abscesses can happen, but it turned out to be a normal reaction.

She was treated in January and we go back for a retest in July, but her breathing and demeanor over all have greatly improved so we're hoping for a HW free result. Good luck in whatever you decide. :)
 

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The slow kill also can cause more heart damage as the adult worms put added strain on the cardiac system. I have used both methods. The slow kill method was decided on due to the dogs age, already progressed heart disease and an enlarged heart. I would say if the dog is fairly young and healthy to use the fast kill, and be certain to keep her confined.
 

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I've never had to deal with a hw positive dog so i really can't advise you but I'll be thinking of you.
 

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I've never had to deal with a hw positive dog so i really can't advise you but I'll be thinking of you.
Thank you, that really means alot. I appreciate any prayers I can get for Daisy's health and our wisdom to know which road to take.
 

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My thoughts and prayers are also with all of you. Please keep us updated.
 

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A pitbull/collie mix I owned back in the 80's was treated with Caparsolate, the old treatment option before Immiticide. He survived it OK and lived about 4 more years (he was about 5 at the time of treatment). Best of luck to you.
 

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I had a Pom-mix that was heartworm positive when I got her; the vet recommended the fast-kill method and I went with it on faith, as I'd never had a dog with heartworms and really didn't know that there were options. I have to admit that the first month was awful, I thought she was dying at times, coughing and not being able to catch her breath, but she came through it fine. She was nine when she received the treatment, and I had her for another six years after that.

She did develop congestive heart failure a few years after the treatment, either from age or damage from the heartworms or a combination of both, but was medically well managed and had an excellent quality of life.

How old is your girl? Is she in good health otherwise? Mine had issues that had to be addressed before treatment, she had an infected uterus, her teeth were rotten, she had skin lesions due to ticks and fleas, so she wasn't in the best shape going in, but she survived.
 

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I had a white gsd i adopted from a shelter she had heatworm went with the fast kill but i have to say she was in a lot of pain
at the time didnt know there were other ways to do it she was 5 when i got her she lived a great 5 years after
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I had a Pom-mix that was heartworm positive when I got her; the vet recommended the fast-kill method and I went with it on faith, as I'd never had a dog with heartworms and really didn't know that there were options. I have to admit that the first month was awful, I thought she was dying at times, coughing and not being able to catch her breath, but she came through it fine. She was nine when she received the treatment, and I had her for another six years after that.

She did develop congestive heart failure a few years after the treatment, either from age or damage from the heartworms or a combination of both, but was medically well managed and had an excellent quality of life.

How old is your girl? Is she in good health otherwise? Mine had issues that had to be addressed before treatment, she had an infected uterus, her teeth were rotten, she had skin lesions due to ticks and fleas, so she wasn't in the best shape going in, but she survived.

Mine is 3 years old. She's in fabulous health- which is why finding out she was HW positive was a sucker punch to the gut. Someone close to me got her as a rescue and took excellent care of her, so I'm hoping that if I do choose to do the fast kill that her good health and youth will get her through it.
 

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Whichever method you choose, my advice is to make such you use a vet you have confidence in and completely trust. I live in Mississippi, and unfortunately our vets here have a lot of experience with heartworm-positive dogs, and have seen and dealt with every possible complication of treatment. My vets were wonderful with my old girl, and with me; I can remember calling every other day with questions or concerns because the treatment is harsh, and every little change in her demeanor scared me. They held my hand though the whole ordeal.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Daisy, may you have many happy years together.
 

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My mom's dog tested positive for heartworms (he was a stray she found). She had him treated and yes it was hard on him, but he pulled thru just fine. That was eight years ago and the best $1,200 she's said she's ever spent. Good luck with what every decision you make.
 

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This may sound harsh but I would get it over with. For one thing, the longer you have the dog, the tougher it will be if things go badly. And the slow method isn't necessarily less risky. It simply spreads the risk over a longer timeframe. Chances are if the dog is healthy, she's going to be fine with the quick kill method. On the other hand every day that she lives with the adult HW in her heart, the more damage they do. Years ago before they came out with the preventive medications, down south heart worms were just a fact of life. From experience I can tell you that they ravage a dog's health. I'd take my chances and get them out of there ASAP.

Good luck and I hope the pooch lives a long healthy life.
 

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My 11 year dog was diagnosed with heartworm yesterday. I am so, so very sad. He doesn't have any symptoms (coughing). For right now, I am going with the slow kill. The heartgard and the antibiotic. I just wish I knew how many adult worms he has. Is it 7 or 70? My vet also said I can always decide to go with the Immiticide, but they want 3 doses of heartgard in him first. Let us know what you decide to do JSUgrad.
 

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My mom's dog tested positive for heartworms (he was a stray she found). She had him treated and yes it was hard on him, but he pulled thru just fine. That was eight years ago and the best $1,200 she's said she's ever spent. Good luck with what every decision you make.
Holy cow! I guess I really am lucky because it cost $400.
 
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