Heartworm is a serious condition that your dog gets from a mosquito bite. The parasites enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart where the larvae turn into adults. The heartworms multiply and will eventually block the flow of blood to the lungs and will start constricting the hearts passages. Since using a preventative and the actual treatment for a positive heartworm test are both risky, this article will cover the preventative and treatment for a dog with heartworms.
Most veterinarians recommend a monthly pill such as Heartgard or Interceptor. These drugs contain arsenic and chemical insecticides. Administered over a period of time, the side effects can be toxic.
Possible side effects include loss of appetite, diarrhea, depression, thyroid problems, autoimmune disorders, liver problems, aggressive behavior, vomiting, fever, paralysis, coughing, weakness, tremors, seizures, skin eruptions, dizziness, difficulty breathing, irritability, pneumonia, fertility problems and sudden death.
Martin Goldstein, D.V.M., author of “The Nature of Animal Healing” says “Only a small percentage of dogs who get heartworm die of it, especially if they’re routinely tested twice yearly for early detection. Even in untreated dogs, after a period of uncomfortable symptoms, the adult worms die.” Dr. Goldstein also says the microfilaria do not grow into adult worms on their own. He explains that in order to reach the next stage in their life cycle, they have to be sucked back out of the body by another mosquito. It has to go through the process again, within the mosquito, and then when the mosquito bites again the microfilaria re-enter the bloodstream with the ability to grow into adults.
The heartworm treatments are, simply put, poisons. They sweep through the body and kill the microfilaria, but they also have the toxic effects of poisons and can damage the liver. If you give your dog one of these pills, watch the area where the dog urinates and see if you notice that his or her urine burns the grass in that area. What can be happening internally if it has the big of an effect after it is in the dog’s body?
Treatments used after a dog tests positive for heartworms
Once a dog is heartworm positive, your vet will most likely discuss the treatment. The procedure the conventional veterinarians normally use (Immiticide) contains arsenic. If the dog is given this treatment, the dog must be kept calm for 30 days. If not, there is a risk that the heartworms can break loose, become lodged and cause death.
More and more people are using herbs to cure the dog from heartworms. It takes longer but the dog is not given poison and will not experience the side effects. One important thing to remember - no matter which treatment is used - is that the dog needs to be in good health. Focus on feeding a dog food that contains real foods with no additives and preservatives or meals that you prepare with “real” food to help keep the immune system strong.
I can speak from personal experience on using herbs to cure a dog from heartworms as well as using them for a de-wormer and heartworm prevention. One dog I rescued was positive for heartworms. I spoke with my vet about trying herbs and he told me that he had heard of one study where the heartworms were successfully killed and another study where the herbs didn’t work.
I started making their food by boiling meat and adding vegetables, oatmeal and other foods I had on hand. I also started using the herbs. I gave Lucy, the dog that was heartworm positive, a larger dose and gave the other two a smaller dosage for prevention. Within a few weeks of being on the herbs Lucy’s cough stopped. After six months, I took her in for a heartworm test and she was still positive. I continued the herbs for another six or seven months and the next test was negative.
Before starting the herbs I had told my family and friends that if the herbs worked I would be using herbs for prevention from then on… and that is what I do.