Heartworms and suggestions from a vet

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coweatchicken

Heartworms and suggestions from a vet

Postby coweatchicken » Fri May 16, 2008 12:46 pm

I took Mercy in today to get a bald spot looked at (it's fine, even though I thought it was ringworm) and the vet asked if I'd had her heart worm tested yet. I said yes, she's positive and on prevention to stop further infestation. She asked if I was going to get her treated and I said I was when I could afford it. Then she suggested I look on line for herbal treatments and told me that if you put a dog on preventive it can weaken the adult worms and the adults will naturally die off in about two years anyway. There can be damage done to the organs, but traditional, in-clinic treatment is just as dangerous to the dogs life and the organs can heal.
So I was looking online and I found a few things I thought was interesting. http://www.unchainyourdog.org/news/NaturalHeartworm.htm lists a few simple things. I haven't been able to find any concrete proof that herbal treatments actually work instead of just taking someone's word for it, so I decided to come here.

Has anyone tried different ways to get rid of heart worms? Do you think this is just a crock? Is it a good idea to forgo treatment and just keep her on Heart Guard and get her tested every year until the worms die? I lost a dog to heart worms when I was a kid, but she lived for 8 years while infested, so is it safe to assume Mercy isn't just going to keel over from the worms in the span of two years? I don't mind doing the treatment for her but I want something that will be more safe and less stressful on HER.

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someday
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Postby someday » Fri May 16, 2008 1:08 pm

this is what i've read about the preventative treatment.

IVERMECTIN ONLY

Melarsomine treatment is expensive and often out of reach for rescue groups, shelters, and many individuals. If the dog is stable (Class I) one option is to simply leave the dog on an ivermectin based preventive. This option has led to a great deal of misconception about the ability of ivermectin to kill adult heartworms. Let us lay the rumors to rest now:

Ivermectin does not kill adult heartworms.

Ivermectin does shorten the lifespan of adult heartworms.

Ivermectin does sterilize adult heartworms.

Ivermectin does kill microfilaria (keeping the dog from being a source of contagion)

Ivermectin does kill L3 and L4 larvae (preventing new infections).
This means that if one opts to treat a heartworm positive dog with an ivermectin heartworm preventive only, one can expect the dog to remain heartworm positive for a good 2 years and the heartworm disease will be progressing during that 2 years. This is not good for the dog but certainly beats getting no treatment of any kind. This approach should only be considered for patients who are Class I and may be able to withstand 2 years of heartworm infection.


source:http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_heartworm_treatment.html

so, if it's a very low number of worms, ivermectin may be fine, but the worms can continue to do damage during that time. i've always opted for the treatment. i don't know about the herbal remedies, but i would guess they would be no more effective than the ivermectin, but, i haven't done any research on it.

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pblove
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Postby pblove » Fri May 16, 2008 4:49 pm

this is a book from an an email I received, so have no proof of anythig stated

http://www.oldcountryvet.com/

insisting that dogs have to be tested annually for heartworm before
administering preventative: Ivermectin, the active ingredient in Heartguard,
is used as part of the treatment a vet gives to an infected dog to remove the
microfilaria (heartworm babies that circulate in the blood stream) at doses
many times higher than in the monthly preventative. In fact it has been found
that if Heartguard (Ivermectin) is given monthly to an infected animal for 12 to
18 months, it will actually cure the infection. I know of no monthly preventative
that will harm an infected dog (short of an allergy) and the labels state as
much. Pre-testing is totally unnecessary[/quote]

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Re: Heartworms and suggestions from a vet

Postby Roxers » Sat May 17, 2008 10:01 am

coweatchicken wrote:There can be damage done to the organs, but traditional, in-clinic treatment is just as dangerous to the dogs life and the organs can heal.


The difference is that with treatment, you know exactly when the worms are going to die and you can keep her quiet, and give prednisone if needed. You are ready for the stress the dying worms put on her system. With waiting for them to just die randomly, it's a bigger risk because you don't know when it's going to happen.

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SoArkSi
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Postby SoArkSi » Mon May 19, 2008 6:53 am

Do you give the ivermectin orally?

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Postby ZiggysMom » Tue May 20, 2008 12:16 am

There are some preventatives that can kill a dog if given to a positive dog, but they're off the market now I think. All of the preventatives will kill microfilaria, and if there's a lot of them and the preventative is one that will kill them fast, then the dead microfilaria can cause a huge reaction. The ones that are safer to give to heartworm positive dogs are safe because they kill the microfilaria more slowly.

The other reason that you want to be tested yearly is warranty. If the product fails, most of these companies will pay for your treatment, but they won't if you didn't test to be sure they weren't positive before starting the preventative.

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Re: Heartworms and suggestions from a vet

Postby Kingsgurl » Tue May 20, 2008 12:45 am

Roxers wrote:
coweatchicken wrote:There can be damage done to the organs, but traditional, in-clinic treatment is just as dangerous to the dogs life and the organs can heal.


The difference is that with treatment, you know exactly when the worms are going to die and you can keep her quiet, and give prednisone if needed. You are ready for the stress the dying worms put on her system. With waiting for them to just die randomly, it's a bigger risk because you don't know when it's going to happen.


With adulticide treatment, the worms all die at once, which is a huge danger. Martin had adulticide treatment. One of the dogs treated at the same time as he was died. She was in a more advanced stage than he was and the amount of worms dying off was too much.
After his treatment, Martin tested positive again (which happens in 40% of cases) as the adulticide sometimes does not kill off all the worms. We elected for Ivermectin treatment at that point, rather than another round of adulticide. Mostly because the adulticide is a potent poison in it's own right and has dangers associated with it aside from the obvious worms dying off stuff.
The Heartworm prevention society is now recommending Ivermectin treatment as an option for stage 1 infestation, or as a follow-up to adulticide treatment for any remaining worms HOWEVER it is crucial to know exactly what stage you dog is at, as more advanced infestations cause too much damage in the amount of time Ivermectin takes to make a difference. Ivermectin does NOT kill adult heartworms. It kills the microfillaria (baby soon to be worms) renders the adults sterile and shortens their lifespan.
They can determine stage with x-rays, and I highly recommend it. How many worms are in your dogs heart? 5? 10? more?


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