Monday - Thursday
Boarding Pickup Only:
Heartworm disease is very serious and is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is VERY COMMON in dogs and cats in this area. Although an occasional pet can live with heartworms in his heart, most infected dogs will go downhill and eventually die if their heartworm infection is not treated. The most common sign of heartworm disease in cats is simply SUDDEN DEATH!!! Fortunately, we are able to successfully treat the vast majority of heartworm cases in dogs today and we can now prevent the disease in cats! We recommend the following for your pet:
Treatment of heartworms has made great strides in recent years and we can successfully treat and cure 98% of the dogs with heartworms if they have not developed severe secondary problems such as heart failure. The only effective drug at this time for killing adult heartworms is one of the arsenic compounds. As you are aware, arsenic is a poison that is known to damage the intestine, liver, and kidneys. Fortunately, the form of arsenic we use in heartworm treatment is very safe and virtually causes none of these toxic side effects. Before we begin treatment with the arsenic compound we place each dog on a month long treatment of an antibiotic called doxycycline. It kills bacteria that live inside the adult heartworms. They have shown that as the heartworms die that the bacteria inside of them causes a lot of the problems we see after treatment. A month of antibiotic therapy really reduces problems associated with treatment. Our treatment protocol usually involves giving two doses of the drug 24 hours apart. These are given deep in your pet’s lumbar (back) muscles and we will keep them overnight. This will kill about 90% to 100% of the adult worms over the next month. During the month after treatment it is critical to enforce strict confinement to a small area to prevent your pet from having problems. As the adult heartworms die they will float out of the heart into the lungs. This could obstruct a major vessel and cause death via a pulmonary embolism if a large amount of worms floated out at once. Strict confinement to prevent exertion will help prevent this to a large degree. If you allow your pet to run free after treatment the chances of them dying go up exponentially. Four months later we want to repeat the heartworm test to make sure that all of the worms are gone.
Even though this sounds like an involved treatment, no treatment usually results in death within a few months to a couple of years from heartworm disease. With proper treatment 98.5% of the dogs do great! When we start the heartworm treatment we also will start your pet on a heartworm preventative called Revolution or Heartgard. This drug will control the baby heartworms in the bloodstream and prevent any reinfection from occurring.
Please call us if any of the following occurs: