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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
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    Dutchess County, New York
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    Default thinking about adopting a dog recently treated for heartworm. Pros and cons?

    Hi all -- since it is Sunday and my vet's office is closed I thought I'd ask here. I'm considering a dog from a rescue, who seems perfect except she was recently diagnosed with heartworm and treated. The woman fostering her was a little unclear -- she was diagnosed on August 26th, had two treatments (shots?) and should be good to go.

    The dog has a low energy level, which is what I'm looking for, but I would hate to get a dog who's not healthy or not feeling well, or will have long term problems due to the heartworms.

    I don't really know anything about heartworms, and would appreciate any words of wisdom from COTH. Thanks!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2008
    Location
    Long Island
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    Default

    I had a dog who had heartworm once, and after the treatment period he was back to normal. I don't recall what the time period was, but I do know that during treatment they have to be kept quiet because too much stress/excitement can kill them.

    I wouldn't rule out a dog that has had heartworm and is now considered to be treated, but I definitely think it's something to talk to the vet about/ have the vet examine before committing.

    Good luck!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2010
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    Default

    I would recommend PMing Bits619. She has fostered 200+ dogs, dozens of which have undergone heartworm treatment. She is a fantastic resource.



  4. #4
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    Jul. 21, 2006
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    South Carolina
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    Default

    I don't think you need to worry about long-term problems, but in the short-term the dog will need its activity kept to a minimum. The shots she got are killing the adult worms, and if she is allowed to exercise vigorously, a worm fragment may break loose and cause an embolism.

    But just keep her indoors and walk her on leash and she should be fine. I've had dozens of dogs treated by the fast kill method over the years (from rescue). Never lost one to an embolism post-immiticide.

    Here's a big caveat, though: when the adult worms are all dead, the vet will give the dog something to kill the circulating larvae. Make sure this is done at the vet's office under the supervision of someone who knows how to treat for anaphylactic shock. And have them use ivermectin. Not milbemycin oxime. And have them pre-treat with doxycycline.

    But don't worry. I have a dog sleeping on my feet right now who was treated with immiticide for HW when he was two. He's eight now and doing fine. I've had many others who lived into their teens after treatment.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
    .

    Here's a big caveat, though: when the adult worms are all dead, the vet will give the dog something to kill the circulating larvae. Make sure this is done at the vet's office under the supervision of someone who knows how to treat for anaphylactic shock. And have them use ivermectin. Not milbemycin oxime. And have them pre-treat with doxycycline.
    Unless the dog is a herding dog. Do NOT treat a herding dog with a higher dose of ivermectin than is in the month heartworm treatment unless you have first tested for a mutation in the MDR1 gene.

    http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-vcpl/

    Here's the complete list of dogs that may be affected:

    Australian Shepherd 50%
    Australian Shepherd, Mini 50%
    Border Collie < 5%
    Collie 70 %
    English Shepherd 15 %
    German Shepherd 10 %
    Herding Breed Cross 10 %
    Long-haired Whippet 65 %
    McNab 30 %
    Mixed Breed 5 %
    Old English Sheepdog 5 %
    Shetland Sheepdog 15 %
    Silken Windhound 30 %
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  6. #6
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    Apr. 4, 2010
    Location
    yonder a bit, GA
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    Default

    Hey! Thanks for the recommendation, GLR I was going to chime in anyway, heh heh. I'm actually sure there are others who can chime in with advice as well...
    I would not hesitate to adopt a dog who has been treated for them, though I would ask the foster if the vet considered the dog's heartworms to be a mild, moderate or severe case (they only show physical signs like coughing, severe lethargy and shortness of breath in the stronger worm loads according to my vet). I think there is a chance of some heart damage if the worm load is great, but generally once the dog has survived treatment and taking it easy for a few weeks after, they are fine. What that damage may mean, I'm not sure, but we've had them go on to live happy normal lives. Most of my fosters with heartworms have had mild or moderate cases, though we did have one severe case. He completed treatment, it was rough on him at the time though, but he got through it. Sadly that dog has since passed away, but due to cancer, not heart related.
    You may want to keep in mind that his current energy level may begin to rise once he's feeling better! It can be amazing the change in energy level from a dog that may not even look sick but feels crummy to once he feels good again!
    Good luck with the pup! Oh one thing is he may continue to test positive for heartworms for the next six months after treatment, even if he's clear, and you will want to get him retested after the six month window. Just something to keep in mind if you take him to your vet.
    (A decidedly unhorsey) MrB knocks over a feed bucket at the tack shop and mutters, "Oh crap. I failed the stadium jumping phase."
    (he does listen!)



  7. #7
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    Mar. 5, 2013
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    592

    Default

    Just wanted to say bless you for considering a rescue dog



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
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    Default

    Thanks, guys. The dog in question is a border collie mix, so I'll keep the ivermectin info in mind (plus my other dog is an English Shepherd -- who's been tested for the gene). I'll give my vet a call in the morning, but it sounds like this isn't necessarily a reason to veto her. She (the dog) otherwise sounds pretty perfect for our family.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
    Location
    Westford, Massachusetts
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    Unless the dog is a herding dog. Do NOT treat a herding dog with a higher dose of ivermectin than is in the month heartworm treatment unless you have first tested for a mutation in the MDR1 gene.

    http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-vcpl/

    Here's the complete list of dogs that may be affected:

    Australian Shepherd 50%
    Australian Shepherd, Mini 50%
    Border Collie < 5%
    Collie 70 %
    English Shepherd 15 %
    German Shepherd 10 %
    Herding Breed Cross 10 %
    Long-haired Whippet 65 %
    McNab 30 %
    Mixed Breed 5 %
    Old English Sheepdog 5 %
    Shetland Sheepdog 15 %
    Silken Windhound 30 %
    Interesting to see statistics. My vet says he doesn't like to give high doses of Ivermection to "white footed herding dogs"...which both of ours are (ACD and BC based mutts). I wonder how accurate the "white footed" guideline is? When we got our BC mix, she was loaded with parasites and the vet avoided Ivermectin for treating as she was obviously (build and behavior wise) a herder and has four white feet.

    I don't bring the dogs to the barn for a few days after the horses a wormed, because they like to eat manure. I don't know if this is overkill or not.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2005
    Location
    Eastern Shore, MD
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    Default

    My new guy became mine because I failed at fostering him through heartworm treatment this summer! He was just too much fun (even on 8 weeks of crate rest) for me to let him go.

    I think bits619 covered the basics pretty well - my guy was completely asymptomatic, but tested low positive. Our local animal shelter's vet was very conservative about treating, so he got the split dose protocol, which means 8 weeks of crate rest. A friend of mine who is a vet (who didn't treat my guy) did tell me that she would have done the two dose protocol (which sounds like your potential pup received) and we'd only have to have gone through about 4 weeks of crate rest.

    When we finished our 8 weeks of crate rest, my guy was given a clean bill of health by my regular vet - a quick look under the microscope for visible signs of microfilariae and a physical exam. We did give him a couple of weeks to get up to "full turnout" activity, but that was all. He goes back in the beginning of December for a regular snap test to make sure he's 100% clear of the worms, and we'll start him on Sentinel (like my other dogs) as a heartworm preventative after that (he's on ivermectin right now, since that's part of the treatment protocol).

    I definitely wouldn't let this stand in the way of you adopting her - if she's a good fit, and the vets have cleared her for normal activity - go for it! And post pictures so we can all oooh and aaahh over her!

    ETA: If you want to read up on heartworms, check out the American Heartworm Society's website - it has lots of good info, and I used the treatment protocol on this page as our schedule during treatment: http://www.heartwormsociety.org/vete...uidelines.html
    (Your girl's schedule would probably be somewhat different, since it sounds like she got the two-dose protocol, though, but the general info is still good to have.)
    Last edited by bdj; Oct. 7, 2013 at 03:02 PM. Reason: forgot to add the link!



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