I’ve adopted a dog (Remy) from a rescue on 4/6 who was HW+. On 4/4 & 4/5, the rescue said Remy had shots for the heartworms (he did not have the 3 shot treatment, they did 2), they also gave me Doxy and Prednisone to give to him as well. Since he’s been in my care, I’ve kept him crated and no coughing or heavy panting.
On 4/6, I took him directly to the vet practice I go to, but to a vet that I’ve just recently seen there who mentioned, they don’t treat heartworms there. The vet checked him over and said he would get back to me about next steps. It is now, 4/13 and i haven’t heard from him. I did see the vet again on 4/11 for another dog and while there, asked about Remy. He said Remy is “off schedule” and that he is trying to contact the american heartworm assoc to determine best course of action. I know the recommended treatment is 3 shots, however the rescue did the two shot treatment which I have found as an alternative to the 3 shot treatment which is usually for light infestations.
I am not sure what I should do at this time. Did the rescue do the wrong thing in doing only the 2 shot treatment? Do I need to start from square one now (I feel this is what my vet will recommend)? Does my vet not want to continue treatment the way the rescue began? I did research the 2 shot treatment and know that while it’s not the recommended way, it is one of the ways to treat HW. I have made an appointment with another vet I used in the past, that has treated heartworms.
I would start from the beginning. Do you have paperwork signed by a veterinarian confirming whatever treatment the dog received? Because if you don’t, you can’t expect the vet to rely on hearsay.
I wouldn’t wait very long either…..and please use caution regarding what the homeopathic vets have to say. Heartworm disease is deadly if not treated aggressively.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 7 months ago by anonymously.
I also adopted a HW+ dog and she had the 2 injection treatment as well (2 months ago). It often depends what stage the HW infestation is at (there are 4 stages) as to which course of action the vet takes (2 shot vs. 3 shot) The Immiticide injections are hard on the dog so I definitely WOULD NOT start over at the beginning. The injections are done at the spinal cord which is painful and can cause soreness/weakness. There should be a shaved spot on your dog’s back where they administered the injections. After the injections the dog needs to be kept minimally active/at rest for 4-6 weeks as the worms “die”. High activity can cause a pulmonary embolism (clotting.) Also, you need to get the monthly preventative (eg. Heartguard) immediately and give it every month. The injections kill adult worms but you want to stop new infections with the preventative. And as a side note, the prednisone steroids will cause increased thirst and hunger so make sure you have lots of water for the dog to drink and take him out for more bathroom breaks. The dog should be retested (blood test) in 6 months to ensure he’s HW negative. https://www.heartwormsociety.org is a great resource for information as well.
Best of luck!
As I said before, do you have paperwork signed by a veterinarian that describes whatever treatment the dog received?
Can the veterinarian that gave the treatment be contacted by your current veterinarian to confirm?
Otherwise, a licensed health care professional (for humans or animals) has no choice but to start from the beginning if they cannot confirm prior treatment.
Examine, test, share the results with you and then discuss treatment options.
PS: All effective treatments have risks.
I agree, it would be beneficial to have the paperwork or at least contact info for the vet your rescue organization used to administer the injections. I think the confusion comes in because the “standard protocol” now calls for the 3 injections vs. 2. But both are effective depending on the worm infestation level. If the dog has already been subjected to 2 injections (as confirmed by the vet who administered)…it doesn’t make sense to start over from the beginning and give 3 more! Unfortunately, it takes 6 months before you can re-test to know whether the treatment has been effective. I would also agree with your decision to switch vets to one who knows about/treats heartworm disease.
I understand your worry. I think it would be best to find a veterinarian that you trust and listen to what he recommends.
Don’t trust Doctor Google, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet. And remember you can’t go to a vet and dictate what they do. Do you realize how insulting that is.
Give them some respect for knowing something. After all they went to school for as long as a medical doctor.
Contact the rescue organization you dealt with and tell them you need paperwork signed by a veterinarian to confirm treatment received so that you can continue the treatment accordingly …..if they don’t/can’t provide, that tells you something.
I have the paperwork from the vet that treated Remy at the rescue & his contact information. I just got off the phone with the woman at the rescue who reviewed the entire treatment process with me and said Remy has been fully treated and only needs a microfloria test in 6 months. She said his level of infestation is mild. Since he’s been with me, he has no coughing, no panting, no heavy breathing to contradict that.
This all became an issue, because I wanted a prescription for heartguard, to get remy started as soon as I could. The rescue says to start it may 5, a month after his injections. My vet on the other hand, won’t prescribe, because he believes Remy is “off treatment schedule” and said he can have a toxic reaction to the heartguard. – is this true???
They are a rescue that transport many dogs up from the south that have heartworms and those dogs are treated by the same vet that remy was treated by. My vet on the other hand, only stated he’s never treated heartworms and hasn’t gotten back to me in a week claiming to have not yet heard back from the american heartworm assoc.
I’ve been taken advantage of by a vet in the past, so yes I question everything, I don’t care how insulted they are. As far as I’m concerned, I must understand what and why whatever is being done, if I don’t agree with it, I will tell them. It is sad to say, but many are in it for he $$$.
“I just got off the phone with the woman at the rescue who reviewed the entire treatment process with me and said Remy has been fully treated and only needs a microfloria test in 6 months. She said his level of infestation is mild. Since he’s been with me, he has no coughing, no panting, no heavy breathing to contradict that”.
Well, it’s up to you who you choose to believe. Is this woman a veterinarian? Is she the current licensed health care provider for the dog? Will she put her opinions in writing?
I have had good vets and bad vets….I get it. But medicine is medicine, go to a specialist if you have doubts.
Obviously you have already made up your mind as to the course of treatment you wish to follow.
Sounds like a good rescue organization! Is it possible for you to continue Remy’s treatment with the vet that your rescue used? That would be a good way to ensure continuity in care. I have never heard of a reaction to heartguard after heartworm treatment. In fact, my vet administered 2 doses of heartguard while my dog was having her immiticide injections and in their care overnight.
Often rescue organizations have limited funds regarding anything beyond basic physicals and vaccination updates.
Of course continuing with the veterinarian that started any initial treatment would make the most sense, or if that is not an option have him contact the current treating vet. Seems simple enough.
Yes, I’d like to continue the course of treatment that has been started, unless there is some overriding evidence that I should not. As of now, I don’t have that evidence. I have detailed info from the rescue, as well as the contact information and the documents from the administering vet, as well as having spoken to him briefly at the rescue regarding the prednisone dosage when I had a question about it.
I don’t feel that starting treatment all over again is a good option just because the current vet (with NO heartworm treatment experience) wants to do the 3 injection process instead of the 2 injection process.
Like I said, I just want the heartguard, which my vet won’t give me, but I can get it from the vet that treated Remy for heartworms, I would just rather have someone local to me, as the rescue and their vet is a couple hours from my house.
“This all became an issue, because I wanted a prescription for heartguard, to get remy started as soon as I could. The rescue says to start it may 5, a month after his injections. My vet on the other hand, won’t prescribe, because he believes Remy is “off treatment schedule” and said he can have a toxic reaction to the heartguard. – is this true???”
Yes, from what I understand this is true. You do not give heartworm meds to a heartworm positive dog.
That is why the annual heartworm test is required before veterinarians will prescribe heartworm preventives. If the dog is heartworm positive it will aggravate the condition if they take the pesticides.
From what I understand, the dog is retested for heartworms 4-6 after heartworm treatment. So I wait 4-6 months before giving the heartworm preventive? Can’t they just get reinfected during that time?
I have no idea, please listen to a veterinarian that you trust, that has examined the dog, reviewed the paperwork that you have provided and the medical history. That is what I would do.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 7 months ago by anonymously.
Absolutely not! Your dog should go on the monthly heartguard pill immediately. The immiticide injections kill the adult worms. Monthly Heartguard kills the worm larvae that are in the bloodstream.
You may find some helpful information at this site: http://skeptvet.com/Blog/?s=heartworm
“Like I said, I just want the heartguard, which my vet won’t give me, but I can get it from the vet that treated Remy for heartworms, I would just rather have someone local to me, as the rescue and their vet is a couple hours from my house”
Why don’t you contact this vet that is familiar with your dog and see what he recommends? It’s just a phone call, leave a message for him to call you back when he has a minute. He may be willing to authorize a prescription to one of the on-line pet pharmacies…if he is comfortable doing so. Of course you have to sign the waiver, etc.
PS: Hint: 1-800 PetMeds or California Pet Pharmacy
Took remy to another vet, she answered all questions, explained everything. I am dropping remy at the vet tomorrow morning, they are giving him the heart worm preventitive and monitoring him for the day for any reaction. She said it should have been given day one.
I know about the pet Jed’s, the rescue said their vet that treated remy would prescribe the heart guard for me, I do feel better having someone local though, for just in case.
That’s wonderful news! So glad you found a local vet that knows what she’s talking about with regard to heartworm treatment! All the best to you and Remy!
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