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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2009
    Posts
    63

    Unhappy Heart Worm Treatments for Senior Dogs

    Hey guys,

    I posted a few weeks ago about the Doxies I rescue and foster and since then have picked up a few more. Surprise! Roxy and Roscoe were listed on Craigslist by their owner who wanted $50 for them before she dumped them at the shelter because "her son was allergic". I of course offered to take them that very minute (no payment of course) and she turned me down. Flash forward one week and I see a post about a Doxie pair that a woman found tied behind a thrift store (Oh rural South Carolina, how I do love thee!) The guy who owned the store said he'd picked them up a week ago and was taking them to the pound because they were chasing his cats. Really!?! Those small hunting hounds were chasing your cats? Imagine! Anyway, nice Craigslist lady took them home with her and was feeding them and loving on them but had just found out she was suffering from a degenerative bone disease and needed extensive surgery. She wanted someone to take them so I went to pick them up. Both were decent weight. Roxy is spayed but poor Roscoe is intact and heart worm positive

    The vet I use regularly is a great old -fashioned no-nonsense kind of guy and I love him dearly, but he wanted to treat little Roscoe's heart worms the same way he does all the younger dogs. We always do the three separate treatment route over 4 months and I've seen how hard it is even the youngest and strongest dogs. Roxy and Roscoe have to be at least 12, maybe older. They are both black and tans but all of their tan is white now.

    Basically, I'm just scared that the treatment will kill my sweet old man. I have appointment with a specialist next week to really look into the condition of his heart and talk about options but I thought here would be a good place to start.

    What treatments have you used for senior dogs with heartworms? What were the results?
    Amber King
    Furever Dachshund Rescue
    Fundraising Chair
    http://www.fureverdachshundrescue.org/



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2005
    Location
    Some where in the middle of nowhere.
    Posts
    3,641

    Default

    I"ll be honest one of our rescue / dumped farm dogs was 10+ and tested positive for HW's and the vet took chest x-rays to make sure his heart was not enlarged and advised us that the treatment might be very hard on him. To instead treat him with Ivermectin each month and forgo the other treatment. Retest at 6 months and a year. At a year out he tested negative and lived to be 14 with no outward signs of heart disease from his situation.
    "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,027

    Default I'm a rural South Carolinian, but I'll try real hard to make myself understood

    Don't you dare put those poor old dogs through immiticide!

    Do the slow kill method. Prophylactic dose of ivermectin religiously every month. Maybe doxycyclin. If your vet won't cooperate, seek a second or third opinion.

    I had a 94 year old cousin pass away recently. You know what killed her? Complications from the anesthetic used for her freakin' colonoscopy. I ask you. There should be a special chamber of hell for vets and doctors who upsell to the detriment of their elderly clients.

    Anyway. We've had HW here for 50 years. It's a poor parasite that kills its host quickly. I hear tell there's some new-fangled theory of evolution that supports this - not that we read science here in rural South Carolina - but anyway. Trust me. HW's aren't going to kill your teenage doxies, but immiticide likely will.
    Last edited by pAin't_Misbehavin'; Jun. 2, 2011 at 09:26 PM.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 10, 2008
    Location
    Southern by the grace of God
    Posts
    424



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 5, 2008
    Location
    North Georgia
    Posts
    2,086

    Default

    I'd venture to guess that the majority of other Veterinarians with experience treating older pets for heartworms (we'll assume that these Veterinarians have drawn blood and had X-rays performed to check out the heart and lungs, and they were okay) would say "slow kill method" by using the Ivermectin and Doxycyclin.
    If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
    DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
    Quote Originally Posted by talkofthetown View Post
    As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 11, 2009
    Location
    Dairyville USA
    Posts
    2,979

    Default

    The slow kill method is no longer recommended due to its propensity for leaving only resistant worms behind and leading to transmission of resistant HW to other pets.
    Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
    Sam: A job? Does it pay?
    Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
    Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,027

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Grataan View Post
    The slow kill method is no longer recommended due to its propensity for leaving only resistant worms behind and leading to transmission of resistant HW to other pets.
    Does that mean ivermectin is no longer recommended as a preventative?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 5, 2006
    Posts
    5,045

    Default

    I'd like to read articles/research supporting the thumbs down to slow kill.

    I would only use slow kill. Did it for one rescue dog and my equine vet (who also had a small animal practice at the time) agreed with me. I just put her on heartgard. She's been Heartworm free for four years now.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2006
    Posts
    199

    Default

    http://www.heartwormsociety.org/vete...HW-Disease.pdf

    page 11

    Having seen dogs die of heartworms, yes, they can kill a dog. It is a very common scenario for a yard dog who spends a lot of time tied to a tree in the backyard (yes, yes these exist in surprisingly large proportions) to get loose and drop dead because of a parasitic emboli (from the heartworms).

    Not saying your dog is going to drop dead, but just wanted to squash the notion that heartworms don't kill dogs.

    I would discuss these options with your vet and your concerns and come up with a plan. Your vet knows the patient, its clinical signs and its radiographic stage and can better make recommendations that are in the best interest of the dog.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2009
    Posts
    63

    Default

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for all your answers. He has been on Doxycycline since his positive test and will stay on it through the course of the treatment (whichever one that may be). I really do think that ivermectin/doxycycline is the way to go.

    The Heart Worm Society said this:

    In cases where arsenicals are contraindicated and the animal’s
    overall condition makes standard adulticidal therapy impractical,
    the use of a monthly ivermectin-based heartworm preventive
    along with doxycycline could be considered. It has been reported that ivermectin and doxycycline administered periodically over
    36 weeks resulted in a 78% reduction in adult worm numbers.
    Moreover, microfilariae from dogs treated with doxycycline that
    were ingested by mosquitoes developed into third-stage larvae
    that appeared to be normal in appearance and motility, but these larvae were not able to develop into adult worms, thus negating the risk of selecting for resistant strains. The administration of doxycycline at 10 mg/kg BID for a 4 week period every three to four months should eliminate most Wolbachia organisms and not allow them to repopulate.

    So it looks like it would kill the majority of them fairly quickly, possibly eradicate them in the long-term, and not produce resistant strains. And I do know that heart worms can kill. I am in SC and we end up with about 10% of our dogs coming in with heart worms and we always worry about them dying before they finish the treatment. Most of our adoptions occur up north and my vet is so cheap that all the healthy dogs get transported up the road and its just me and the HW dogs walking slowly and not being allowed to get very excited. I told my vet I wanted a Christmas card from him thanking my rescue for paying off his Lexus.
    Amber King
    Furever Dachshund Rescue
    Fundraising Chair
    http://www.fureverdachshundrescue.org/



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 5, 2008
    Location
    North Georgia
    Posts
    2,086

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Grataan View Post
    and leading to transmission of resistant HW to other pets.
    How is HW transmitted to other pets when HW is only transmitted by infected mosquito to another animal? The HW Society still recommends "slow kill" for dogs that can't handle Immiticide, etc., but they recommend "fast kill" for every other animal.

    Also, I don't recal anyone having said HWs don't kill. However, heartworm treatment can also kill. Embolisms can occur during treatment as well. There's a 50/50 chance of a dog making it, but I'll take that chance anyday (in a healthy animal.)
    If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
    DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
    Quote Originally Posted by talkofthetown View Post
    As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2006
    Posts
    199

    Default

    Hydrophile, it was a response to this post (and not meant to be argumentative)

    Quote Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
    Don't you dare put those poor old dogs through immiticide!

    Do the slow kill method. Prophylactic dose of ivermectin religiously every month. Maybe doxycyclin. If your vet won't cooperate, seek a second or third opinion.

    I had a 94 year old cousin pass away recently. You know what killed her? Complications from the anesthetic used for her freakin' colonoscopy. I ask you. There should be a special chamber of hell for vets and doctors who upsell to the detriment of their elderly clients.

    Anyway. We've had HW here for 50 years. It's a poor parasite that kills its host quickly. I hear tell there's some new-fangled theory of evolution that supports this - not that we read science here in rural South Carolina - but anyway. Trust me. HW's aren't going to kill your teenage doxies, but immiticide likely will.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,027

    Default

    I never said HW don't kill. I said they don't kill quickly. If she goes pouring arsenic into an elderly dog, the HWs aren't what will kill it.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Trails and woods
    Posts
    1,585

    Default

    I have rescued two elderly bassetts in the past year and a half. One died of some sort of neurological episode. The second one passed of complications of a multitude of things....one being heartworm and the treatment there of....

    I have had a rescued doxie treated with immiticide...was cruel and unusual punishment....the worst thing I have ever seen. He hated life for two months.

    My dear elderly basset was seen by the vet and he recommended an alternative to immiticide but different than the "slow" kill method. Needless to say, after we started her on the alternative treament, I would never, ever treat an elderly dog for HW again. I would choose to let the preventative do what it does and enjoy the last days that I have with my dog.

    Let the dog enjoy what life it has left.....My dear elderly basset had few good days after we started her on her alternative treatment. She had complications from the medications themselves. We could never get her back afterward! It is heartbreaking.

    Preventative only for my dogs, if I should ever have one test positive again.
    Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

    Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2006
    Posts
    199

    Default

    Like I said, not trying to be argumentative. Just clarifying since there are many people who read this BB for advice.

    Maybe you don't realize that I agree with you, which is why I simply provided material and a page number which the OP was able to use and make a decision off of (which was to not use immiticide).

    I did not alter your post in any way, simply bolded your statement which said "HWs won't kill your doxies, but immiticide likely will". I'm sure you meant to say the immiticide would kill them faster, but came out otherwise. This was my only disagreement, and just stating the facts.

    OP, good luck with the doxies, HW's are no fun. Thank you for taking these kids in and trying to do right by them. It's been a really bad HW year this year for us in the deep south!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2001
    Location
    Toronto, Canada.
    Posts
    6,360

    Default

    Lots of advice here....but I'll give you the best advice

    Talk with the cardiologist/specialist you are seeing - specialists will give you the most up to date information, based on your dogs test results. Not all geriatric HW+ dogs are treated the same.

    Good luck and keep us posted....gotta love those weiner dogs!!



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