Heartworms?

Discussion in 'Dog Health Care' started by Picklepaige, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Picklepaige

    Picklepaige Active Member

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    Maggie has a mild case of heartworms, and has had them for a couple of years now. My mom, who is in charge of giving her heartworm preventative while I'm at school, skipped a month during the winter because she figured it wasn't possible to get them during the winter, and Maggie got heartworms after that.

    We have been treating using the slow kill method, and every time we "finish" the treatment and get her tested, she still comes up as a mild positive, so we have to start over. Is this normal? I think we've done three treatments. It's a very, very mild positive so we're not really worried about it, but we're a bit frustrated that it's been about two years, and she's still coming up positive.
     
  2. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    It can definitely take years for the test to come back negative. As long as there are still heartworms there, the test will be positive. Ivermectin doesn't kill adult heartworms, so you have to wait until the heartworms die naturally. Heartworms have a lifespan of 5-7 years, so expect it to take 5-7 years to come back negative.
     
  3. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    What do you mean "finish treatment?" The slow-kill method is just giving Heartgard each month, +/- courses of doxycycline depending on your vet's recommendation.... so there is no end of treatment. It ends when a heartworm test comes back negative, but then technically you should be giving preventative year-round anyway so the routine would just continue....

    Like Sael said you're not actually killing adult worms, by giving Heartgard you're basically preventing the infection from getting worse. You're just killing the babies, the adults just have to die naturally which takes a few years.

    Happy's been doing the slow-kill method for 1.5 years, her test this spring came back "weak positive." Her symptoms are subsiding but I don't know what that necessarily means!
     
  4. MollyD

    MollyD New Member

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    Is there a reason you're doing the slow-kill method instead of treatment? The heartworm treatment sucks because you have to keep them confined for 3 months, but it's much more ideal than the slow-kill method. Heartworms are actually becoming resistant to ivermectin because of this method. If you do the Immiticide treatment your dog is completely heartworm free after three months.
     
  5. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I'm curious about how slow-kill is making heartworms resistant to ivermectin? The heartworms in the dog do not reproduce when using the slow-kill method, and ivermectin is used monthly in many/most dogs as heartworm preventative, anyway (Heartgard, Iverhart, generics, etc).
     
  6. MollyD

    MollyD New Member

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  7. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Thanks for the links! I will definitely check them out :)
     
  8. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Hmmmm, very interesting. To me it doesn't sound like slow-kill causes resistance, but rather slow-kill doesn't work with resistant strains, and since you can't tell if your dog is infected with a resistant strain or not, you can't know if it's really working. Then if it's NOT working and the strain is resistant, you're spreading that strain by not treating it because the heartworms are unaffected by the treatment. Very interesting indeed. For now it appears to be localized to that area, BUT with dogs traveling, it's only a matter of time before it spreads.


    ETA: On that note, year-round prevention doesn't so squat for resistant strains. So in order to really combat them, we need to develop new preventatives. I wonder if the old-school Filaribits would fall into that drug category? I don't remember what the drug is actually called or how it works, but it's a thought.
     
  9. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    Just give them Guinness! Lol that supposedly works for heartworm prevention/treatment.
     
  10. MollyD

    MollyD New Member

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    It actually does cause/spread resistance. Look at it this way, the slow-kill method kills the babies but not the adults, right? The adults can live for several years inside a dog before they die. So let's say the adults have 100 babies and the preventative kills all except 2 that happen to be resistant to the ivermectin. Those 2 babies grow up to be adults and have more resistance babies. Not to mention that dog won't be heartworm free anytime soon. A mosquito bites that dog, picks up the heartworm larvae, and spreads it to another dog. Bam, more resistant heartworms.

    If you do the regular treatment with Immiticide, ALL of the heartworms die and don't have a chance to create any super babies.

    The only drug that seems to be 100% effective is Moxidectin which is found in Advantage Multi and Proheart 6.


    If you can't already tell, I've been thinking about this a lot lately! I'm trying to decide what to do about my dog since I do live in this high risk area. :(


    More interesting articles:
    http://www.veterinarypracticenews.c...ive-sales-should-not-go-over-the-counter.aspx

    http://dogaware.com/articles/newshwresistance0711.html


    Edited to add: It's similar to the problem we're having with antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.
     
  11. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    I just wish they didn't make the stuff so darned expensive, because the way it is not everyone can afford it.

    believe it or not I know people (who are otherwise good dog owners) that don't give their dogs preventive because they believe that its a waste of money & "before it came out" their dogs always lived long, happy lives without it. They think its a pawn by the medical community :/
     
  12. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Preventatives are cheaper than treatment. You can buy a lifetome of preventative for less than the cost of treating heartworms.
     
  13. Airn

    Airn New Member

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    Yeah for Gwen (medium sized dog) I can get 6 months of heartworm meds for around $20.
     
  14. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    Wow it's closer to $30 here, yeah this person who doesn't believe in it ... I to I its crazy, she only has one dog, try $30 x 4 lol ... But for me it's worth it to save them from the suffering of severe heart worm infection :( I have seen the heart from a seriously affected dog in a jar ... It's mind blowing.

    Our vet is nice, he lets us get a years supply & gives us a discount :)
     
  15. Airn

    Airn New Member

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    Wal Mart pharmacy just recently became a small supplier of heartworm meds. My vet charges me around $40. But if I go through my pharmacy it's closer to $20. Might be worth checking out.
     
  16. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    It's really not expensive, it's less than $10 a month. I hate when people complain they can't afford it - yes you can, just don't go to Starbucks one day and bam, you have the money for your dog's heartworm prevention. It's like people don't get that it's okay to come in monthly and buy 1 pill - you don't have to buy an entire 6 months or year or whatever.
     
  17. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    I don't "complain" about it, mine are on preventive. But I know people who refuse to give them HW preventive because they think fans waste of money :/.

    @Airn thank you, I will definitely check it out and recommend it to others.
     
  18. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

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    If I got a good deal on heartguard it would still be a good $30 a month for both dogs....but I just use ivermectin from the feed store to counteract that.

    For some people even $10 is a lot (and not because they are buying starbucks etc) but yes, it is something one should budget in having a dog.
     
  19. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    My personal favorite is "Oh I stopped giving that because we never had a problem with it."

    You never had a problem with heartworm when your dog was on heartworm preventative? YOU DON'T SAY?!


    (Most infamously said by a client after a dog I got as a rehome from them tested positive for heartowrm.)
     
  20. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    Well to be fair, the majority of our clients have dogs weighing under 100# lol so for them, it is less than $10 per month (per dog). I get some people legitimately can't afford (not that that's any better), but the point is most people that say they can't afford it, have no problem spending that money on something else they don't need (like going out to lunch or whatever). It's an easy thing to budget for if you really want to.

    But I'll freely admit that my dogs never got heartworm prevention until a couple years ago when I started working at a vet clinic - and therefore got free product. Even then I only gave it for 6 months out of the year, which isn't even right if your intention is to give it seasonally. Having Happy is what drove it home for me that hey, heartworms really do exist! And so I'm much more.... passionate about prevention; year-round.

    LOL oh my! I've gotten that comment before but never followed up by that ironic result!
     

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