My husband and I just adopted the sweetest 8 year old doberman mix from the SPCA. She is our first dog together and she is heart worm positive (stage II). We live in Texas and half of the dogs at the shelter were HW +. We didn’t really know much about heart worms so we talked to the shelter employee. They seemed very knowledgeable and said that they pay for the HW treatment if we go to one of their partnered vets. They made it sound like an easy treatment and the biggest thing was restricting activity for one month after the first injection.
We saw the vet today and here is the treatment:
-3 months of heart guard doses prior to the first injection.
-1 month doxycycline before the first injection
-first injection of imiticide. She would be sedated and spend the night at the vets. They’d also give a steroid injection.
-She’d come home and need to be on “bedrest” for 30 days. Only going out of her crate to the rest room on a leash.
-After 30 days she’d go back to the vet and stay a few days where she’d get the final 2 injections. Then its complete. No other mention of an additional 30 days bedrest.
A few things concern me now. First, the vet said that our dog would be the oldest dog he has done the treatment for. He doesn’t anticipate any issues but things can always happen unexpectedly. Secondly, after looking more into the imiticide it looks like quite the potent drug and I’m frightened by it.
Currently she had one dose of heart guard at the shelter so she has at least a two month waiting period before her first injection. She is on the doxycycline now due to her biting at her stomach. The vet suspects a possible UTI and this should clear it up. I asked if she would need a second 30 day antibiotic the month before the injection and they said no.
This is our first dog so I wanted to ask people who have more experience with them what they would do. Our dog is already 8 and is a large breed girl. We knew by adopting her we’d probably only have a few years with her. If it were your dog, would you put her through these treatments? I don’t want the time she spends with us to be spent in pain.
Thanks for any insight!
I would do the heartworm treatment, I just spoke to an acquaintance a few days ago who is going through this with his 2 year old lab mix he adopted from a shelter down south.
It didn’t show up till he had the dog for several months. Things are going well, he says the dog seems tired and is drinking a lot of water but okay otherwise. The dog is about half way through treatment. The vet feels he is out of the woods at this point. I know he had to stay overnight at the animal hospital for a few nights to be monitored.
If it was my dog I would be afraid not to do it, you are lucky the shelter will pay for it.
I would get it done as soon as possible. Sure there are risks, but if you don’t do it she could suffer….
I would be very leery of any slow or so called natural cures.
Some information here: http://skeptvet.com/Blog/?s=heartworm
PS: Unless things have changed, it’s a standard protocol (as you described)
I hope things go smoothly for her. It’s very kind of you to give her a home.
Hi, yes I would do the treatment too, I found a rescue talk last year that was seven years old while I was out walking my dogs, she had escaped from her temporary foster home and she had heart worm as well, she was treated and is now happily in her forever home. She is a brown lab, all turned out well! Good luck with everything!!!
Follow the usual protocol.
For whatever reason these past couple yrs I have known so many dogs with HW. Until then never knew any.
They followed the advice of their vets and all dog are back to normal. It’s a long treatment that can cause discomfort, but it’s a situation where you have to weight the risk/reward. Suffering with the disease will be much more uncomfortable.
Personally I would go with what is known to work and ask the vet how to alleviate any discomfort from side effects.
As for future prevention ask your vet about NOT giving a monthly preventative and opting for fecal testing every 3-4 months. That way your senior dog isn’t being fed pesticides/antiparacitics when she doesn’t need it.
You are great for adopting an older dog. And one with an illness not less. I wish you many years of health & joy with her.
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