Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Advice for Winston-Jethro?

Back in February I adopted a Basset Hound down in Florida while visiting my mom. He (Winston) was pretty sick when we got him and I spent the better part of two months trying to get him back to good health. He had major colitis issues and was prescribed panacur on a few occasions. The ASPCA originally updated his shots, neutered him, and worked with us for a bit and he finally seemed to be healthy around April. I have since moved to Brooklyn and went to get set up with a new vet up here yesterday and I found out he has heart worms. I had him on Revolution and the ASPCA had originally tested for heart worms, but the vet in Brooklyn thinks they were either in the nymph stage and not detectable yet or the original results were a false negative.

Anyways, I am wondering if any Widening Circle readers have had any experience with either the"fast kill" or "slow kill" method? Winston is super active and cruises all around different neighborhoods with me almost everyday. He looks forward to running around like I do riding my skateboard and I don't know how he would deal with being crated for 60 days. Plus I'm not sure I can afford the $1000 + bill right now since I just moved and I'm currently unemployed. The slow kill method on heart guard might work but then again I don't know how he would react to having to be very inactive for the next 18 mos or so and I'm worried about the long-term damage to his heart and lungs.

I can't believe how rough this whole process has been. He is such an incredible dog and I am so happy to have him, but it's so frustrating to know how easily this could have been prevented! I have been searching around message boards for advice, but any anecdotal stories would be very helpful.


  1. here is a long answer from my friend who is a vet, if you want to ask him more, lemme know and i can put you in touch.

    Hey there, yes I have treated a few patients with heart worm disease. Mostly in the south Pacific when we were treating everything for heart worm and found that unless we could prove that they did NOT have it then they were positive. There a simple drop of blood under the microscope revealed a sea of swimming larva!

    So as far as the treatment goes.... the fast method is an arsenic drug that requires 2-3 injections (if memory serves) again since we don't have a lot here we don't use it a lot. I have treated a few with it. It is expensive and they sometimes require hospitalization and lab testing... but this is when they are showing severe clinical signs. It appears from your description that your dog is not. Keeping quiet and cool to prevent problems as the worms die will keep the blood vessels open to the lungs. If there is a high parasite load the complication is worse. Again something that sounds favorable in your case.

    The SLOW kill method is continuous monthly ivermectin and it can work. It was what we had in the Cook islands and we used it quite successfully. There it was impossible to keep the dogs quiet and we did the best we could and treated with oral ivermectin in propylene glycol. Also Ivermectin sandwiches can be done... with a few fava beans and a nice Chianti.... but it is dinner time and I digress. Know that you might have to treat for years before the worm (s) get killed.
    So I don't think that if he is that active and not showing depression, coughing or lethargy that he has a lot of adults affecting his system right now. But again I am not looking at the dog and only making an assumption from afar. l

    Ivermectin can be given very cheaply , and not in the form of Heartguard which is more expensive but not as bad as the injections. I know that the Immiticide is an expensive treatment but there may be ways of saving some money there as well depending on how your vet is willing to work with you and how much risk you are willing to assume.
    yes the disease is highly preventable so you can treat hopefully get a lot of life with your dog in the future.

    I hope that this helps.

  2. i asked my friend(vet tech) at the local animal shelter and this is what she said-

    hmmm. I wasnt taught in school about the longterm 18-month treatment, so thats offputting to perhaps the doctor is using/offering old technology. An 18 month treatment seems ridiculous to me....worms in the heart are BAD, so a treatment to get rid of them that takes a year and a half (that I have never even heard of) seems outrageous. If it were my dog, I would do the 60 day treatment without a doubt. Its quick.....again, worms in the heart are BAD! The exercise restrictions and need for crating are a pain but very important. At the Humane Society, we've had young hyper dogs get through heartworm treatment just fine....having a dog crated for a treatment that will save its life really is worth it!! Sounds like she needs to get the opinion of another vet.....for information and also for $$$ quote.

  3. ewww. I would only do that stuff if I absolutly had to. If the dog can handle a test run I would try herbal medicine. That stuff can kill your dog. I googled it and found a couple websites and I would do more research for you if I didn't have so much HW but check out your options and see if they work before trying the nasty stuff unless the dog is about to die then I would just risk it. I have never had a dog with heartworm so I have no experience with it. I wish you guys the best. Just check out your options before using arsenic! Keep us updated. or