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  1. Advice on heartworm treatment for HW positive dog

    Hi there.

    Three days before I picked up my foster dog (Eli) from the shelter, he tested positive for heartworm. I have really fallen in love with this guy, and want to help him in any way. I would so appreciate advice or information from anyone that has experience with treatment for HW positive dogs.

    I am told that Eli is in the very early stage(s) with no symptoms. The shelter did a standard blood test to find out that he is positive, but they do not do follow X rays. This is the treatment protocol that the Philadelphia SPCA is using for Eli:
    1. Monthly heartworm preventative (generic of heartgard plus) for three months to kill microfillaria (sp?) and prevent adult worms from growing further. His pills dates: February 5, March 5, April 5.
    2. Injection of immiticide first week in May, then 4 weeks of no activity whatsoever (?!?). Trying to take it one day at a time, but I have no clue how I am going to keep this energetic guy still constantly. I'm told that leash walking to pee/poop is allowed?
    3. Second immiticide injection in June, followed by no activity again for 4 weeks.

    Eli is 3 years old, abuse background, was in the shelter since October and came home with me last month. He's about 50 pounds, although I'm hoping he has added some weight in the last few weeks. Currently he has a normal (high!) energy level, walks/runs just fine, no coughing, seems fine from the outside.

    Thank you so much for any information, advice, and support you can offer.

    Brooks

  2. #2
    It really depends on the indidivual dog and the stage of the disease. We always do an occult test and a direct blood smear to check for microfilaria. I would follow that test with an x-ray before starting immiticide treatment.

  3. #3
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    The recommended treatment now is actually a 3 dose injection. This is what I learned at the North American Veterinary Conference this year.

    The American Heartworm Society recommendations for Cl$#@! 1 and 2 Heartworm Infection

    Month 1: give an Ivermectin Heartworm Preventative (Heartgard, Iverheart.....)

    Month 2: 2nd dose of HWP

    Month 3: 3rd dose of HWP and 1st inj of the Immiticide (kills 30-50% of the Heartworm burden)

    Month 4: 4th doses of HWP and 2nd and 3rd injection of Immiticide (24 hrs apart) 2nd inj kills 90% of burden and 3rd inj kills 98% of burden

    6-8 weeks retest.


    Also some Vets will place the animal on Doxycycline for the Wolbachia bacteria that heartworms carry. And also placing the dog on prednisone helped with the side effects of the treatment.

    Strict exercise is restriction is mandatory during the entire period to reduce complications.

    Of course this is after radiographs and bloodwork has been preformed to determine the level of infection.

    Melarsomine (Immiticide) is the only approved adulticidal drug available for heartworm treatments. It is important to know that melarsomine has not been shown to be effective against worms less than 4 months old. The two injection protocol listed on the product insert for treating cl$#@! 1 and 2 heartworm disease only kills 90% of the adult worms. The three-dose alternate protocol listed for treating cl$#@! 3 heartworm disease kills 98% of the worms. The American Heartworm Society along with several university teaching hospitals recommends the three-dose protocol regardless of cl$#@! due to increased efficacy and safety.

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