Post # 1
Unfortunately while we were on our honeymoon I found out that my dog was heartworm positive. Its really scary because the worms in the heart/organs cause permanent damage over time and eventually can kill the dog.
We took him to the vet as soon as we got home. They redid the heartworm blood test to find out what range he is in. He showed us the test (almost like a pregnancy test you drop the blood on). The first dot at the top turned blue which meant he is positive for heartworms. The other dot below that on the right turns blue if he is in the “low” range. There is a third dot that faintly turned blue (barely at all) if they are in a “high” range. So the Vet said he’s kinda in the middle. If he had to guess there were somewhere around 30 worms.
Slow treatment option for “low” cases: Provide normal heartworm medicine monthly and a prescription to kill off other adults. Over about 2 years the worms will die off (and stop reproducing). In the mean time, there can be more damage done to the dogs organs.
Fast treatment option for “high” cases: 2 shots provided within 24 hours of one another to kill off all heartworms immediately. The dog has to stay relaxed for 6 weeks as the worms decompose and exit the system in the blood stream. They said he would need to take 2 baby asprin every day to help this process. It is very dangerous if a dead heartworm gets lodged somewhere in the dogs system.
We have chosen to go with the fast treatment since he is in the mid range. I am taking him to the vet tomorrow after work and picking him up Saturday morning. I am going to be really nervous for the next 6 weeks until we get them all out of his system.
Has anyone else gone through this? Any suggestions to help keep him calm and safe? We will cage him during the day and at night (which shouldn’t be a big deal, he loves his bed). I will take him for lots of short slow walks throughout the morning/evenings so he can relieve himself but not over-exert himself.
I also want to make sure his immune system (white blood cells will be what helps kill and carry off the dead worms) throughout this time. I am contemplating giving him some raw meat throughout this process and maybe some vitamins (garlic and oil? anything else?).
Thanks for the support. I will let you know how tomorrow goes (for him and me)!
Post # 3
Don’t give the dog garlic, it is actually toxic to dogs. I would recommend just feeding him how you would normally feeding him, you don’t want to upset his stomache while he is healing. I think the slow-smaller walks are good and if he likes his kennel then let him rest in there whenever he wants. Remember to be calm and relaxed yourself, that will transfer to your dog. I hope everything goes well, and that he has a complete and full recovery.
Post # 4
I wouldn’t change his diet at all while he is recovering, long slow walks should keep him happy, if he gets bored/restless you could try some mental stimulation games. Ask your vet if their any any immune-boosters that they would recommend (during veterinary treatment is no time to be “testing out” any alternative remedies – they could unintentionally counteract with the heart worm treatment)
Post # 5
Thanks guys. Garlic Supplements is actually really good for dogs. My parents dog goes to a holistic vet and he gets garlic powder on his food every night as a flea repealant. He is alergic to normal meds so they have to use this.
Post # 6
Weird, because I was told that by my vet at the university, and my university is one of the top vet schools in Canada. I am curious now, is it a special garlic supplements that this vet makes? Is it avaliable on the market?
Post # 7
I don’t have any advice but I just wanted to send good thoughts your way. Hoping for a speedy recovery for your dog.
If you don’t mind me asking, what were the symptoms?
Post # 8
@undeniable – There were no symptoms at all. They said normally the dog can be caughing or run a temperature. My dog had neither but that might be because he hasn’t progressed into a bad case yet. I had brought him to get his annual shots and check up so he could be boarded at a kennel during our wedding and thats when I found out.
@sceeder – I am not sure what kind my mom gives the other dog but you can google it and find at amazon and stuff. Lots of different brands. Here is a neat article I found online about it:
Post # 9
I dropped the puppy off this morning. There were a lot of dogs barking in the kennel area so I hope he’s ok and is able to rest. I brought his blanket in (even though I will have to wash it when he gets home) but I wanted him to be comfy and have something from home.
I am going to call around noon and check on him. I can go get him after work if I need to, but it would be easier to just leave him there until morning.
Post # 10
My dog just finished the 6-8 week recovery for heartworms. Luckily, he wasn’t much of a runner/jumper because of a previous injury, so keeping him calm for 6 weeks wasn’t really an issue. My vet said that he didn’t have to be crated 24/7 if he wasn’t going to be active, and Melvin just sleeps all day, so instead of crating him or letting him roam the house during the day, I left him in the bedroom. I carried him up and down stairs so he wouldn’t get his heart rate up. I was only allowed to take him on short walks three times a day. By short, I mean absolutely no more than 10 minutes. It was really hard keeping him all cooped up in the house, but I didn’t want any complications so I followed the vet instructions perfectly. I didn’t change his diet at all, and he was fine. (Melvin has so many allergies that I can’t change his diet.) I have to bring him back in October to see if he has any worms left, but the treatment kills over 95% of them, so I’m sure he’s fine now. Good luck!
Post # 11
Good luck! We use the “slow” method on all of our heartworm positive dogs at the shelter I work at. It’s just easier on the dog and more cost effective… usually within a year they are heartworm negative with no issues!
So good luck and I hope your boy gets better quickly!!
Post # 12
good luck! hope all goes well and he recovers quickly!
Post # 13
Good luck! My dog was heart worm positive when we got him (he was an outdoor-only dog at a previous home). Follow the advice of your veterinarian and keep the dog on cage rest. Don’t be surprised if he is sore, because the injections go deep into the muscle and the injection site can be tender afterward. Be absolutely, 100%, sure to get any follow-up testing done, and to put your dog on a heart worm preventative when you’re given the all-clear to do it, as dogs CAN become re-infected (the veterinarian I had before we moved mentioned that this happened to her childhood dog 3 times, and is one of the things that pushed her toward veterinary medicine). My dog went through the treatment well, but the resting part was difficult.
He’s been heart worm free for several years now and has suffered no ill effects, but we’ve been certain to keep him on a proven preventative. We buy ours from our vet- many companies offer a guarantee when you buy from an authorized dealer like a veterinarian that, should the dog come up positive while on the preventative, they’ll refund your money and/or pay the cost of treatment. This guarantee doesn’t always hold when buying from companies like 1-800-petmeds, since many of the actual drug companies won’t sell to petmeds, so petmeds has to buy things through third parties (which is why some people claim their meds are “iffy”- I don’t know because I’ve never bought from them). We also have him tested once yearly. After this experience, I will never have a dog who is not on heart worm preventative- the treatment was expensive, difficult on my dog, and very worrisome for me!