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Has anyone had any exprerience with treatment for heartworms? My lab apparently spit one of her monthly pills and now has heartworms. I've talked to two vets. One says kill the heartworms which is a very toxic procedure and dangerous to the dog. The other says weaken the heartworms with ivamec which will reduce the life cycle to 2 years or less. I'm confused because I can find no info on the damage that the weakened worms will do in the 2 years before they die. Any information would be greatly appreciated so that I can make this decision. BTW I am leaning towards killing the heartworms.
 

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If you have a strong healthy dog I would go for the adulticide treatment. I'm not a big believer in the ivomec treatment to decrease their life span to two years. That is still two years the heart has to work overtime due to the worm burden. Yes there are potential side effects to the heartworm treatment but if done properly is fairly safe.
 

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heart worm treatment

About 3 years ago I had a dog come down with a case of heartworms and this was what was explained to me by my vet.

That you should definitely not use the weakening treatment as there is a chance that it will kill a large enough quantity in an uncontrolled manner that they could lodge in the heart and kill the dog. They told me this is why an older dog must have a heartworm test prior to going on the preventative.

I decided to go with the full treatment and my dog has since recovered but it was very hard on the dog and as he was 8 years old to begin with he seems to have lost a few steps but he is still with me and very happy.


Rich
 

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Heartworms

I've had 2 dogs get Heartworms and a close friend/Training partner 1 dog.
And yes, I do use Ivermec liquid and the vet confirmed Nothing is 100%.
Dog 1, mid 90's the"Full" treatment was something like ARSENIC. The dog sold 1-2 years later and did fine.
Friend's dog...He chose the "light" version..i.e. 2 year method because the test was a WEAK Positive. The vet was a trialer back in the day and said the following about the antigen test. The adult females are the only worms that produce the protein that the test pick up. By the WEAK Positive the vet concluded that there was only 3-5 ADULT Female worms. I question then how many Male worms there could have been. But anyway, with the small number of worms the damage to the heart would theoretically be minimal over the 2 year cycle. The Ivermec only kills larvae and immature worms. I think I remember the explanation being it takes 6 months for the worm to mature into an adult. So, continued use of the Ivermec would kill any non-adult worms so you only worried about the existing adults and they would die in 2 years but can live up to 5 years. The dog is owned by his friend/ hunting buddy now and 2.5-3 years later is doing fine.
Dog #3- My dog. Field Trial dog...i.e high roller. Diagnosed same time as Friends dog above late 04 early 05. We live 1-2 miles apart and back up to the Wolf River. I hate mosquitos!
STRONG Positive on the antigen test. Vet recommends "full" treatment. Not using the arsenic stuff anymore. Something less toxic to the dogs. My paperwork shows it as Immiticide and also Deramaxx is listed. Dog MUST be crated during the treatment 4-6weeks. The medicine kills the adults and as they break up and die the dog cannot exert himself or chance of throwing a clot or piece of worm is possible. If piece of worm lodges in artery of lungs or heart the dog can die. So my high roller field trial dog can get out of the crate to go "air" and can WALK to the mailbox and back into the crate.
My dog completed the treatment with no complications and was back in training in a couple months and 2 months later became Qualified ALL Age and finished his Master Title.
The vet said if the dog was going to continue to compete then the "full" treatment was a MUST because a competition dog needs 100% of his heart and lung function. With the "light" treatment the dog lives with heartworms for 2 or more years and the heart function is compromised.
I paid $434.92 for my treatment. My friend used Heartguard and they offered to pay for the "full" treatment OR to supply the needed medication for the 2 year method.
If it was my dog AND you have proof of purchasing and renewing the prescription of medication, I would go with the "Full" treatment and let the medication company pick up the tab!!
Good Luck,
MARK
 
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