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Q: Heartworm treatment

December 10, 2012 | By Anonymous | 2 answers | Expired: 576 days ago

Anonymous

One of my foster dogs was rescued from the pound with heartworm. He's high HW+ and will be going through treatment soon. I've never had one stay with me while going through treatment so this is new territory. He has a vet so I don't need the standard answer of ask your vet. I've heard all the clinical answers the vet has to offer. I would like to hear from those who have experienced it. What was your experience? How did your dog cope with the limited activity? Any advice/suggestions you can offer would be helpful.

Readers' Answers (2)
Kelly
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Dec 10, 2012

My dog, Cassidy, was hw+ when she was rescued. Her experience was, according to the vet, "worst case scenario". The die off was so extreme she developed pulmonary emboli. The good news is that, although bad things can happen, side effects that severe are rare. I assume your vet is doing the two-part treatment with Immiticide and Ivermectin? That's the gold standard in treatment but they were having shortages of Immiticide for a while last year. I know they started shipping it in from European manufacturers to meet the demand. They'll give two injections, maybe three depending on his load, of Immiticide to kill the adult worms. They usually keep the dogs for three days. They're given 24-hours apart. If a third one is needed, it's given a month after the second dose. They give them deep in the muscles of the lower back and they're very painful. Dogs can be very sore afterwards and sometimes pain medication is needed. Once home, you have to keep the dog confined for a month. Strict confinement. We took Cassidy to the yard on a leash for potty breaks and kept her in her kennel the rest of the time. You want them to stay still and calm so there's less risk of emboli. Increased heart rate for any reason can increase the chance of emboli. A month after the final Immiticide injection they do one injection of Ivermectin. Although the risk of problems is highest with the Immiticide, Cassidy developed her emboli following the Ivermectin, so don't assume you're out of the woods at that point. She started breathing heavy & her heart was racing in the middle of the night. I called our vet and he told me to give her aspirin. It was touch and go for over a week and our vet called 1-2 times a day for 3 weeks because he wasn't sure she would make it. Just remember, this is NOT the norm but you should know what to look for...just in case. Watch for rapid breathing & heart rate, fever, blood in secretions & listlessness and call your vet immediately if anything seems even a little off. As far as coping with being confined, Cassidy was fine with it because she was pretty sore from the shots for a while, and she's just one of those dogs who adapts to whatever her circumstances are. Just expect the best but be prepared for the worst. I've seen a lot of dogs go through heartworm treatment...it's very common here...but Cassidy is the only one I've seen have problems.

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Ches21
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Dec 10, 2012

I don't know what to say they don't usaully check for heartworm where I live cause not many dogs get it around here if any get it but they did check Abby for it but she was from calafornia so I guess it makes sense all I can say is good luck I know that some dogs don't make it.

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