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Brody and his heartworms

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
It's coming up on time for me to make my decision on how to have Brody's heartworms treated. I just thought I would update you guys on what's going on. I have 3 weeks to decide and go through with it, but I am really stressed out about this. He has done remarkably well for the past 3-4 months. You would never even know he was sick. The heartworm treatment will make him sick, and he will be confined to his crate for 6 weeks I hate the thought of having to put him through this. I have read that dogs who respond well to the Heartguard pills for treatment can, in some cases, remain on the pill and after 2 years test negative for heartworms.
I know that I can't make the decision without taking him in for a second opinion on the treatment. I am in the process of checking into a new vet for him, and Dori also. I am not very comfortable with their current vet, so I don't feel that I can make a decision based on the information he has given me. He isn't very eager to answer my questions and I just can't let him treat Brody with these doubts. Brody doing so well now makes it harder also. When he was sick, there wasn't a doubt that he needed the treatment. Now that he is doing so well, I question whether the risk is worth it. I just hope that whatever his new vet (whoever that will be) and I make the right decision. It just wouldn't seem right if Brody wasn't running around the house. Bet you guys never thought you would hear that out of me
post #2 of 16
Awwww Brody Tanya what happens when the meds make them sick, do you mean physically sick that they throw these worms up or something?.

I'm sounding like a numpty here but i havent got a clue about heart worms. I've heard of them but thats about it.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by rosiemac
Awwww Brody Tanya what happens when the meds make them sick, do you mean physically sick that they throw these worms up or something?.

I'm sounding like a numpty here but i havent got a clue about heart worms. I've heard of them but thats about it.
When he is treated he spends 3 days at the vet's office. From what I understand, the treament is dangerous to them because it contains arsenic. They have to use enough arsenic to kill the worms, but not the dog. After the dog is cleared to go home they have to be confined to a crate for 6 weeks. It takes that long for the worms to die and leave the body. Any excitement during this time will increase the blood flow and can allow for a clot to form. My vet told me if that were to happen, he could fall over and be dead in a matter of seconds. That scared the heck out of me
post #4 of 16
Oh good grief Tanya i can imagine! At least you have 3 weeks to find out as much as you can before going ahead with it.

What a situation
post #5 of 16
Wow!! That would scare me to death too!

I think I would do what you're doing by getting a second opinion. You have to have complete faith in your vet to allow something like this to be done to Brody. I would be a nervous wreck.

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
post #6 of 16
Oh Tanya.
Sweet Brody will be in my prayers.
post #7 of 16
What a decision to have to make! It will be good to get a second opinion. You have to weigh the risks vs. benefits...what would happen if they went untreated...things like that.

You'll make the right decision once you find a vet you like and trust.
post #8 of 16
I'm sorry to read this because I was under the impression that these had been taken care of already. So he was just on meds to keep him going, but the heartworms are still there? That sucks Poor Brody, he's such a little sweetheart. That's a tough decision, and I think you're totally right in seeking another vet as you're not comfortable with your current one.
post #9 of 16
Tanya, you certainly are doing the right thing and going to see a new vet especially since your not comfortable with their current vet. Hopefully this new vet will answer all your questions and be able to help you make an informed decision.
I know that no matter what you decide you will be doing it armed with the best possible knowledge.

My thoughts are with you both
post #10 of 16
Hmmm, yes. When I saw the thread title, I thought, oh yes, it's just about that time, isn't it.

Tanya, I know that, one way or another, you'll gather the information you need to make an informed decision, and I hope you find the vet who will be, in that process, the support and resource your current one is not. Times like this you need clear communication, and you DO not need a vet playing God with you.

and prayers for little Brody, whatever you decide, and for his Mom
post #11 of 16
When I was looking at adopting a German Shepherd from a breed rescue, a lot of their dogs were on the Heartguard version of treatment, so it seems to be a really viable form of treatment, and not quite so scary...

I remember having my Sheltie get treated for heartworms before, and don't remember the crating or even being asked to keep him calm for any long period of time...but then again, that was when I was back in high school or before so maybe I just forgot or wasn't told. Anywho, he pulled through it just fine, and he had heartworms bad (we didn't know about them at all then). So I hope that's of some comfort to you, and good vibes for Brody!
post #12 of 16
Our lab had to go thru the heartworm treatment after we got her. Hard to explain to a dog why they can't run, jump and play. But she went thru it fine and is heartworm free now. Also she had to take one aspirin a day every day to help her keep quiet.

We were lucky in that we didn't crate her - she didn't run around in the house. She was walked out for potty time and right back inside.

While its rough on them, an otherwise healthy dog should be ok with the treatment. As far as I know you cannot just give them the Heartguard and expect it to get rid of the worms - you give them Heartguard to PREVENT any in the future.
post #13 of 16
Ouch! Tanya, for what it's worth, my advice is to do a cost-benefit analysis. I would hesitate to put a 12 to 14-year-old dog through the treatment, simply because of the dog's life expectancy. I've been there - we subjected a 12-year-old dog to surgery and chemo, for kidney cancer, and his life was extended by just about one year - I wouldn't do it again. Brody, on the other hand, is still young, so I'd probably say. "OK! Go for it!" In this case, you just have to trust your instincts, and your own estimate of Brody's will to live.
post #14 of 16
So can you at least let the dog out once in awhile. ????
post #15 of 16
No - the dog cannot walk around or run or jump/play during the treatment. Any exertion may cause the worms to bunch up and cause a heart attack/blood clot.

They can only be walked on a leash for potty time. After the 2nd part of treatment, our dog was allowed a longer walk but not off leash or running. After testing negative she was allowed normal activity.
post #16 of 16
I know that it is very scary and I know eveyone has to make their own decision, but if you don't get them treated the dog could die. I don't want to sound like the voice of gloom & doom but my vet discussed this with me in length when I had to get Charlie treated. There is a reason they are called Heartworms, they attack the heart!!! Also, the reason that I found out that Charlie had heartworms was because they tested him before putting him on heartworm prevenative. According to my vet they shouldn't take preventative if they test positive for heartworms. I don't know this for sure but it was what I was told.

As far as keeping the dog calm, the medicine that they treat with kills the worms and they need to pass thru bloodstream, if dog gets to excited they can cause a blood clot. This was the scariest part for me because Charlie is so hyper I just knew he was gonna have complications, but the vet explained that you just really need to keep them from running around and getting their hearts pumping to fast or hard. Charlie had NO complications, it was however the longest thirty days of my life trying to keep him as quiet as possible.

Please find a vet you are comfortable with and that will answer all of your questions, you need to make your decision based on fact.

Good luck with whatever you decide and keep us posted.
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