Pros and cons and opinions needed *heartworm*

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Confused

Pros and cons and opinions needed *heartworm*

Postby Confused » Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:32 am

Many of you know that I am interested in helping the sibling of my dogs because he tested HW positive.


My vet (probably because I bring them so much money lately) is more than willing to let me make small installments toward the treatment. It might also help that one of the doctors working out of that clinic is best friends with the guy who lives right next door to me. Not the stabber but on the other side.

Anyway- Tell me what you think would be easier on the dog.

the $450.00 treatment would be the fast fix, the ideal treatment I'm guessing.


the $175.00 treatment would be the slow fix. He would go to the vet and get anti-shock meds and stay 24 hours for each treatment and basically all it is is giving HG. This would take 12- 24 months.


Will the dog feel pain or discomfort with the second option? The woman who owns the dog has come up with $75.00 toward the treatment in addition to paying for the initial test. That could be the deposit and then I could pay say $40.00 a month to the vet. Maybe I could alternate and let the woman pay one month and me the next or $20.00 each per month. This isn't a bad deal.


I need you all to tell me what treatment option you would chose if you were in my shoes. Keep in mind that I am not interested in what the woman wants or feels. This is all about the dog. Also keep in mind that this isn't my dog.

I do realize there is a chance I could wind up making all the payments if this woman's word is not good or if she deteriorates further in her health.

If you met this dog you'd want to help him too. He's really sweet and he look so much like Lumpy it isn't funny. They could almost be twins.
:crybaby:

Really, I want him but all I can say to that is.. roflmao

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dr961
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Re: Pros and cons and opinions needed *heartworm*

Postby dr961 » Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:08 pm

Confused wrote:the $450.00 treatment would be the fast fix, the ideal treatment I'm guessing.

the $175.00 treatment would be the slow fix. He would go to the vet and get anti-shock meds and stay 24 hours for each treatment and basically all it is is giving HG. This would take 12- 24 months.


***If the slow fix consists of just giving Heartgard once a month, why would the dog have to stay at the vet for 24 hours? Personally, I don't see that anti-shock meds would be needed every time the dog gets a monthly Heartgard dose, which is a very tiny dose of ivermectin and unlikely to cause shock as huge numbers of microfilaria are unlikely to be killed all at once and that's usually what can cause trouble. I know there's a small chance of a reaction, but if the dog is kept fairly quiet during his treatment the chances of problems should be minimal.

The real problem with the slow method is that the dog still has heartworms which continue to cause some damage for the long time it takes for them to die off.

Confused

Re: Pros and cons and opinions needed *heartworm*

Postby Confused » Sat Jun 24, 2006 12:41 pm

dr961 wrote:
Confused wrote:the $450.00 treatment would be the fast fix, the ideal treatment I'm guessing.

the $175.00 treatment would be the slow fix. He would go to the vet and get anti-shock meds and stay 24 hours for each treatment and basically all it is is giving HG. This would take 12- 24 months.


***If the slow fix consists of just giving Heartgard once a month, why would the dog have to stay at the vet for 24 hours? Personally, I don't see that anti-shock meds would be needed every time the dog gets a monthly Heartgard dose, which is a very tiny dose of ivermectin and unlikely to cause shock as huge numbers of microfilaria are unlikely to be killed all at once and that's usually what can cause trouble. I know there's a small chance of a reaction, but if the dog is kept fairly quiet during his treatment the chances of problems should be minimal.

The real problem with the slow method is that the dog still has heartworms which continue to cause some damage for the long time it takes for them to die off.



Maybe it was just for the first 3 visits? In any case I will tell them to do the more expensive, faster treatment. Payments are payments, $40.00 a month is not a large debt even if I should get stuck with it.

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Postby Kingsgurl » Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:20 pm

Confused- First off what stage heartworm does the dog have? Stage 1? Stage 2? 3? 4? This can't be determined from the regular heartworm test, but from either x-rays of the heart or exhibition of clinical signs (shortness of breath, how the heart sounds, coughing, etc.)
The second treatment you are describing (the Heartguard doses) is generally only indicated in dogs in the early stages (less adult worms)
Martin was a Stage 1, he got the big treatment and is now on monthly Heartgard to kill off any remaining adults that the adulticide didn't get (he still shows a slight positive for the antigen so there is a worm or two (or 3) left.
Here's a great site that breaks down the stages and the treatments.
http://www.heartwormsociety.org/FAQ.htm

Confused

Postby Confused » Sat Jun 24, 2006 1:42 pm

Kingsgurl wrote:Confused- First off what stage heartworm does the dog have? Stage 1? Stage 2? 3? 4? This can't be determined from the regular heartworm test, but from either x-rays of the heart or exhibition of clinical signs (shortness of breath, how the heart sounds, coughing, etc.)
The second treatment you are describing (the Heartguard doses) is generally only indicated in dogs in the early stages (less adult worms)
Martin was a Stage 1, he got the big treatment and is now on monthly Heartgard to kill off any remaining adults that the adulticide didn't get (he still shows a slight positive for the antigen so there is a worm or two (or 3) left.
Here's a great site that breaks down the stages and the treatments.
http://www.heartwormsociety.org/FAQ.htm



I'm not sure what stage but I am guessing no later than stage 2 as the dog is only two and the vet sees no clinical signs of distress. I'm not sure whether they did an x-ray or not. I will call the woman and see if she knows whether an x-ray was done.

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Postby Linariel » Sat Jun 24, 2006 2:11 pm

When we got Aja(she's about two) the rescue hadn't heartworm tested her, though they said they had.

When I took her to the vet, he said that if she did have heartworm, it was not severe since she wasn't showing any signs.

He said not to worry too much, if she was positive he would recommend the Heartgard treatment. He said he recommends that whenever the patient isn't severely ill.

Confused

Postby Confused » Sat Jun 24, 2006 5:17 pm

Linariel wrote:When we got Aja(she's about two) the rescue hadn't heartworm tested her, though they said they had.

When I took her to the vet, he said that if she did have heartworm, it was not severe since she wasn't showing any signs.

He said not to worry too much, if she was positive he would recommend the Heartgard treatment. He said he recommends that whenever the patient isn't severely ill.



Great news, thank you. No they did not x-ray the dog because they said that he is so young and is showing no signs. The vet didn't want to have the woman pay for anything extra that she really didn't need.

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Postby Misskiwi67 » Sat Jun 24, 2006 7:22 pm

The problem with giving heartguard is that the patient is at risk for anaphylaxis for 2 YEARS instead of 2 months. There is a reason the dogs are kept confined during the heartworm treatment, and thats because dead worms break apart and can cause the dog to go into anaphylactic shock. If the dog gets a dead heartworm lodged somewhere, has a reaction, and nobody is available to get it to the vet ASAP, then the dog could die.

I have no idea what the actual risk is, how likely the dog is to have a reaction etc. but thats the worst case scenario.

Its up to you and the owner to decide the cost/risk benefit and determine which method you prefer.

The heartworm society link that was posted has some very good information, and I suggest you read as much as you can before making a decision.

Confused

Postby Confused » Sat Jun 24, 2006 8:07 pm

Misskiwi67 wrote:The problem with giving heartguard is that the patient is at risk for anaphylaxis for 2 YEARS instead of 2 months. There is a reason the dogs are kept confined during the heartworm treatment, and thats because dead worms break apart and can cause the dog to go into anaphylactic shock. If the dog gets a dead heartworm lodged somewhere, has a reaction, and nobody is available to get it to the vet ASAP, then the dog could die.

I have no idea what the actual risk is, how likely the dog is to have a reaction etc. but thats the worst case scenario.

Its up to you and the owner to decide the cost/risk benefit and determine which method you prefer.

The heartworm society link that was posted has some very good information, and I suggest you read as much as you can before making a decision.



Thank you. I was also wondering what good it would be to board a dog overnight unless they have staff there all night which in most cases they don't. I'm going to talk to her again tomorrow and then we will talk about the treatment and how much she can commit to. I guess we'll go from there. I really like the dog, he reminds me so much of Lumpy. I hate to see him hurting, poor thing. :(

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Postby heather » Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:53 pm

You should check shelters near you. We have a shelter here that provides low cost hw treatment--like 100 or something like that even to non-residents. It might be b/c we have such a high rate here, but it is worth a try.

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Postby turtle » Sun Jun 25, 2006 9:41 am

Yes, I'd see if the vet can tell you what stage the HW is in this dog. I think you had said he was on HW preventative for the first year of his life and he is only 2 yrs old so I'd think he has a light case. If so, I'd lean towards giving him the Ivermectin doses.

Look into all the options and maybe a shelter will help with the costs and treatment. I also agree with dr691 about why would he need anti shock meds and why would he need to stay over night? Seems like a bit of bill padding to me...

.

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Re: Pros and cons and opinions needed *heartworm*

Postby TangoJr » Mon Jun 26, 2006 1:23 am

dr961 wrote:
Confused wrote:the $450.00 treatment would be the fast fix, the ideal treatment I'm guessing.

the $175.00 treatment would be the slow fix. He would go to the vet and get anti-shock meds and stay 24 hours for each treatment and basically all it is is giving HG. This would take 12- 24 months.


***If the slow fix consists of just giving Heartgard once a month, why would the dog have to stay at the vet for 24 hours? Personally, I don't see that anti-shock meds would be needed every time the dog gets a monthly Heartgard dose, which is a very tiny dose of ivermectin and unlikely to cause shock as huge numbers of microfilaria are unlikely to be killed all at once and that's usually what can cause trouble. I know there's a small chance of a reaction, but if the dog is kept fairly quiet during his treatment the chances of problems should be minimal.

The real problem with the slow method is that the dog still has heartworms which continue to cause some damage for the long time it takes for them to die off.



TJ tested positive as well, and we went the slow fix way after weighing the pros and cons. The reason for the anti-shock meds is because as the heartworms die they produce large amounts of histamine. (side note: Benadryl works the same as the 'anti-shock meds', whatever they may be.)

Dante...

Postby Dante... » Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:42 am

My Vet has never mentioned anything to me about heart worms. Could it not be an issue in Las Vegas cause of the climate?

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Postby Kingsgurl » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:27 pm

Yes, the hot, dry climates (not favorable to mosquito's) have a much lower incidence. One thing to keep in mind though, most of the dogs from the hurricane were heartworm positive, and they were shipped all over. You will most likely see an increase in heartworm in many places you didn't traditionally see it before. I wouldn't think your dog would need to be on preventative, given the climate, but a yearly test would probably be a good idea.


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