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Heartworm treatment questions

Discussion in 'Dog Health issues and questions' started by snowicki, May 18, 2005.

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  1. snowicki

    snowicki Boxer Booster

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    I took my two boys in for their vaccinations and annual hearworm test last Thursday, at a vaccination clinc. I received a call that night that Bandit(5) was heartworm positive. Of course this makes me feel like a horrible mommy, we only use heartgard for 6 months out of the year(we won't anymore). I took him to my regular vet and they ran a filter test and found no microfilaria(babies) in the blood, which means that the worms are either all female or haven't reproduced yet. My thought is the latter because counting back five months would put it end of November which is when preventative was stopped. Through research I have found out that it takes 5 months for the larvae to mature and become a worm and show on the antigen test(1st test done) and only female will cause a positive result. Also, that immature young female worms are the cause of having to do a second treatment because they don't respond to the first.

    I set up treatment to start this Thursday and Friday, not looking forward to the whole ordeal. I'm really scared he is going to be changed personality wise. But then through more reading and research there was another option....don't do treatment, give heartgard year round to prevent reproduction and kill the mirofilaria, leaving the adults to die of old age. He would still have heartworms but would not get worse.

    Of course I'm going to go through with the treatment but am curious if anybody has or knows of somebody that has opted to not treat and just maintained them with the heartgard? How did the dog do?

    This is such a frustrating thing to go through and I have learned an invaluable lesson. I just got very lucky that it was only one of my boys and the youngest and healthiest that got it. We will definitely be doing full year preventatives from now on.

    Shannon
     
  2. TheBoxerCrew

    TheBoxerCrew Super Boxer

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    from my experience

    I have only had 1 dog come up HW+...this was a female that had been literally tossed out with the trash. She was a "mild case" according to the vet, who treated her with oral ivermectin 1x weekly for 4 weeks, then 1x every other week for 2 months - all the while, having her on her regular Heartgard dosings. I lived in Oklahoma at the time though - which is an area where it is advisable to give Heartworm prevention year-round.

    I grew up in WI and currently live here for another couple weeks, and although my vets here tell me that I only need to give prevention from April-November, I do it year-round anyway. With the mild/late onset winters we have had the past few years, the mosquitos aren't going away as early.

    Every vet is different, and depending on how severe your dog's HW case is, it might be worthwhile to ask them if there are any alternatives.
     
  3. snowicki

    snowicki Boxer Booster

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    Interesting.....Bandits would be very mild. Considering he tested negative last year and was on the preventative for 6 months. I'll have to see what the vet thinks of that route. Thank you so much for the info.
     
  4. boxerchick12

    boxerchick12 Banned

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    Ruckus is on HW preventative year round, all of his life and he still had a postive test a few years ago. Since he was over 11 years old at the time, I opted not to put them through the entire treatment process. So, he is on a form of preventative that also serves as a treatment, I can't remember the name of it, and I am at work now, so I can't look, but I'm sure your vet will know which type. Anyway, that was well over a year ago and he is fine. He shows no outward symptons (coughing, etc) and the vet says he is doing great. Again, the ONLY REASON he did not go through the treatment was his very, very, very old age (my poor boy), but I do feel it was the right decision for him. He is doing well and the HW should not affect him. It is a difficult choice you are facing, good luck!
     
  5. Nixie

    Nixie Boxer Pal

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    Samantha was about 3 when she got them... She'll be 5 in September...She was HW+ and she does have the cough but was also treated by staying at the vet for a week (this was SOOO HARD for me) and was given a clean bill of health and is on heartguard (was on sentinal but we changed her to heartguard cause the vet said that it wouldn't matter since they are the same except for the flea protection and since we have the yard treated for fleas anyway we didn't need to be on sentinal).... However, my MIL had a mixed dog, and she was old with arthritis and started to go blind and everything and she was diagnosed HW+ but instead of any treatment they just kept her on the heartguard and she lived several years longer until she passed of old age, but she never went through treatment for the HWs....
     
  6. Rufust

    Rufust Boxer Pal

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    I have never had a dog test positive for HW, so I don't know what treatment you all are talking about. If a dog is HW positive, what do they have to go through to fix it? It sounds like quite an ordeal for dog and parents.
     
  7. TheBoxerCrew

    TheBoxerCrew Super Boxer

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  8. snowicki

    snowicki Boxer Booster

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    Well, I dropped Bandit at the vets this morning to start the treatment. I have such mixed feelings about it because I would love to try just keeping him on heartgard but fear that since the worms are not fully mature that once they mature he will have complications. The vet is optimistic that the first treatment will work. I do butt heads with them, after 8 weeks they say that he will need some other treatment for the microfilia....ummmmm he doesn't have microfilia in his blood!! I will not have them do this, I'll just put him on heartgard from that point on. I don't think my vet likes it when I question them, oh well.

    boxerchick12, I'm glad to hear Ruckus is doing well. Had it been my older boy I would have probably opted for this as well.

    Thanks for all of the feedback!!
     
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