Immiticide is the drug we use to kill adult heartworms. It is given as an intramuscular injection on 3 occasions.
No one wants to hear that their dog has heartworm, but the good news is that most infected dogs can be successfully treated. The goal is to first stabilize your dog if he is showing signs of disease, then kill all adult and immature worms while keeping the side effects of treatment to a minimum.
Copied! The treatment and heartworm recovery process is much more difficult than the prevention of these parasites. Once a dog is infected with heartworms, the treatment and recovery period can be life-threatening and long. In fact, heartworm recovery can take several weeks or even months and is not always possible.
Most dogs receive an initial injection, followed by a 30-day period of rest, and then two more injections that are given 24 hours apart. Many dogs will also be treated with an antibiotic (doxycycline), to combat potential infection with bacteria (Wolbachia) that inhabit the heartworm.
Although there are some risks associated with this medication's use, most adult worms die quickly and can be eliminated within 1 to 3 months. Cage rest and drastically restricted exercise during this period can decrease the chances of complications from treatment.
With the three-dose adulticide protocol described above, in conjunction with doxycycline and macrocyclic lactones as recommended by the American Heartworm Society, 98% of dogs will be cleared of heartworm infection.
Myth 5: Heartworm Disease Is Rarely Fatal
Apart from the risk of fatality, heartworms can compromise an animal's quality of life and cause debilitating clinical signs and symptoms, which may improve but not necessarily resolve, even with treatment.”
Once treated, the heartworms die slowly and begin to dissolve, taking several weeks. Three to four weeks later, your dog will begin phase two to get rid of the baby heartworms. Following that, continued checkups and testing continues, and your canine pal will be placed on heartworm preventative medication.
The dog may be required to stay at the hospital for 3-4 days. After treatment, the adult worms die and are carried by the blood to the lungs where they lodge in small blood vessels. There they decompose and are absorbed by the body over a period of several months.
The melarsomine injections are pretty painful for dogs, which means you'll need to give your dog even more medication. “The injection is painful,” Dr. Marteney said.
n A new infection is possible if the monthly preventive was dosed incorrectly, or a dose was missed or accidently not ingested by the dog. Also, the monthly prevention should be started three weeks following the last treatment injection; if there was a delay a new infection is more likely.
Final Visit & Test – 8 months after Check Up:
A final examination is performed by a veterinarian, along with a test to see if the results come back confirming that your dog is now (hopefully) heartworm negative.
While 100% of adult worms might be dead at the 6-month point, residual heartworm antigen in circulation is detectable for a time and could lead to an invalid test result. Waiting an additional 3 months allows time for the antigen to be cleared from the dog.
Dogs with heartworm disease can live high-quality lives as long as they are given appropriate care. After completing treatment and following your veterinarian's recommenda- tions on heartworm disease testing and prevention, the chances of any long-term effects are very low.
Even if heartworm infection is treated, we all know it does serious, permanent damage to the body. This in-depth look at that damage will renew your commitment to consistent prevention recommendations for your veterinary patients.
As they break up, they are carried to the lungs, where they lodge in the small blood vessels and are eventually reabsorbed by the body. This resorption can take several weeks to months, and most post-treatment complications are caused by these fragments of dead heartworms.
Twenty-six dogs (52%) experienced minor complications, such as injection site reactions, gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance), and behavioral changes (lethargy, depression) during or after heartworm treatment.
From the first injection until six to eight weeks following the last injection, it will be absolutely essential to keep your dog quiet. That means strictly restricting all exercise and activity that would elevate your dog's heart rate or increase his blood pressure.
But can your dog feel heartworms? In a way, yes. Your dog can feel the discomfort that goes hand-in-hand with the heartworms hatching from larvae stages into adulthood. They can also feel them migrating from one spot to another inside their body, specifically if they're affecting your dog's lungs and breathing.
Not every aspiring pet owner is equipped to provide the extra care a special-needs pet requires; however, with proper treatment, heartworm-positive pets can be excellent candidates for adoption.
Myth: Heartworm disease is contagious for pets.
Truth: You should be concerned if we diagnose one of your pets with heartworm disease, but you do not need to quarantine your infected pet. Heartworms must go through a mosquito to develop into adults, so heartworm-positive pets are safe to be around.
Most pet parents know that it's important to give heartworm prevention each month. Still, there are cases reported in all fifty states. Though it's not likely, it is possible for pets to get heartworm disease even while on a preventative.
Your dog will also receive treatment to kill juvenile heartworms (microfilaria) either before or after their Melarsomine treatment. Your dog may need to spend the night in the hospital for observation on the day this treatment is administered.
Heartworm preventatives work to kill the initial stages. Your preventative works by killing the larvae that have infected your dog during the PREVIOUS 30 days. Many people think it protects for the next 30 days, but it doesn't.