Heart worms

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Heart worms

This is a discussion on Heart worms within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I have a rescue dog that I’ve had for a few years who has heart worms according to my vet. There is only the one ...

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Old 10-16-2018, 01:58 PM
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Heart worms

I have a rescue dog that I’ve had for a few years who has heart worms according to my vet. There is only the one treatment with the three injections that is about a grand. I don’t mind spending the money, I’m just worried about my pup being able to be calm enough for 6 months on this treatment. She gets excited just hearing my footsteps on the stairs to go into the apartment. I get a leash out and she bounces because she gets so excited. The vet recommended crating her and ignoring her until she calms down and train her that way.. but my heart aches just thinking about it. Like I said, she’s a rescue. She was abused in her former home and even raising my voice at someone else or at another animal sends her into a shaking panic, I can’t imagine ignoring her.. has anyone else delt with trying to contain a dogs hyperness and excitement for 6 months during the heart worm treatment? I’m so worried and so conflicted on what to do.
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Old 10-17-2018, 01:47 AM
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The ignoring is an old method & I dont use it, mainly because it usually causes other unwanted attention seeking behaviours which are worse- like digging claws into legs. It also goes against my personal philosohy of kindness & respect towards dogs. I greet my dog, she's little so I crouch down & she puts her feet on my knees & gives me wonderful kisses. She also does the happy tiny jumps of excitement to see me, but doesnt jump up on me. The ignoring thing is also all to do with pack leader stuff which in my case has not effected her doing what I say by greeting her. If anything the stronger the bond & friendship the more willing she is to do what I ask. After the greet its playtime! get the toys out & channel the hyper into a positive outlet.
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Old 10-17-2018, 02:48 PM
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I'm not giving advice, just telling my own experience.

I took my dog to the vet and he was diagnosed with heart worm. Everyone said the test for it was definitive, and there was no hope unless he had the treatment. Several friends told me that their dogs had the treatment - very painful- and died anyway. Rakia was very old and we decided that painful treatment was not an option for him, and let him take his chances. 5 years later we had him put down because his back legs had gone and he had no quality of life, but his cough had gone and if he had heartworm it didn't do him any harm.

I'm not saying you shouldn't believe your vet, but I don't believe mine any more.

Mrs Cynical
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Old 10-17-2018, 06:33 PM
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What kill method is the vet wanting to use for your dog? There's 2 methods that I know of, the fast kill method, and the slow kill method. As far as I know it's the slow kill method that requires the dog to have limited exercise for 9 months or more, and it is not a recommended method, it also means monthly injections. The fast kill method means limited exercise for a total of 8 weeks, and there are 3 injections. I'm thinking that your vet is doing the fast kill method but I've no idea why he'd want you to keep your dog quiet for half a year.


Personally I'd ask the vet for a sedative to help keep my dog quiet, and would explore any crate games, training games, nose work, etc. that I could to try and keep him occupied. I'd also ask for another heartworm test be done to make sure that it was not a false positive that came up on the test.

There's a reason I'm saying get the treatment. I've seen more then one dog die of heartworms due to owners not having their dog on preventative, and waiting way to long to take the dog do the vet when the dog exhibited symptoms. It's not an easy death, the heart is literally clogged with worms, the blood is not getting oxygen, and the abdomen fills with fluid. I've also had to treat my rescue dog for heartworms, and know a few other people who have had to have dogs they adopted treated. My dog did fine with the treatment, and all but 1 of the other dogs also did well. The dog that didn't did survive treatment but got very sick from it.

The thing with heartworms is that the longer you wait to get the dog treated the harder the treatment is going to be, and if the dog does have heartworms he will eventually get very sick and die from it, so waiting is not going to get you anywhere. That's the other reason I say to just get him treated if he has heartworms, but double check to make sure the test is not a false positive, and make sure that the vet does a heartworm antigen test as it's the most accurate.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:00 PM
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I live in the deep south, and don't use any heartworm "prevention". I haven't for over 10 years, and have yet to have a dog get them. The key is to keep the immune system at it's highest. Parasites don't like healthy hosts. That includes fleas and ticks. I personally feed a species appropriate raw diet, along with added spirulina for the immune system.
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:26 AM
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Heartworms are a really nasty disease, and is much easier to prevent, than it is to cure. I do know a couple of dogs, that were successfully treated for them, though it is a very long process. IMO not using a preventative is like playing Russian roulette. Mosquitos bite healthy animals and people all the time.
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