Dog Veterinary

Ask a Dog Vet and Get Answers to Your Dog Health Questions

Ask a Dog Veterinarian,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Dog Veterinary

My 5 yr old boxer was diagnosed with heartworm even though

Customer Question
he has no symptoms and...
My 5 yr old boxer was diagnosed with heartworm even though he has no symptoms and is perfectly healthy. The vet has started a treatment program that started with heartguard plus medication and 6 tabs of 100mg minocycline. the next step at day 60 is an injection of immiticide which is extremely toxic and being given to a sympton free dog. Are there othe options such as herbal treatments that I have been hearing about.
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Dog Veterinary Question
Answered in 11 minutes by:
7/15/2015
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 2 years ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,513
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.I am sorry to hear that your pup has been diagnosed with heartworm, and I understand that it is difficult to come to terms with treating an apparently healthy dog with aggressive medical therapy that seem toxic.The best time to treat heartworm is before it has had time to create apparent heart and other organ damage. Rest assured that the heartworms are affecting your dog, they always will because they create altered blood flow through his heart, and inflammation in his lungs and other internal organs, it's just that at this point your dog's body is compensating for those stressors. That will change if the heartworms are present long enough. If we wait for him to get sick then permanent damage is done, and treatment becomes much more risky. Heartworm is passed from an infected dog to other dogs via a mosquito bite. The female mosquito bites the infected dog removing blood and microfilaria (baby heartworms), and then the mosquito passes those microfilaria to other dogs when it bites other dogs seeking a blood meal. It takes at least 6 months for a heartworm infection to develop and mature to the point where we can find it with laboratory testing. That's because we need adult heartworms to release antigens and stimulate antibodies in the infected dog's bloodstream and produce baby worms (microfilaria) to find it with the tests we have available. That means that your dog's body has already been compensating for his disease for at least 6 months.Ideally we would stage his heartworm disease before treatment because that will allow us to prepare for possible consequences, and determine the safest way to treat him. That means that we take radiographs of his chest to evaluate his heart and lungs, and check blood tests and urine to look for any evidence of secondary organ disease.First I recommend putting him on Doxycycline and an ivermectin based heartworm prevention for a month or two, just as your veterinarian is started. Doxycycline kills a bacteria (Wolbachia) that lives with the heartworm and killing that bacteria first will make the worms easier to kill. It is also thought that bacteria increases the odds of having an adverse reaction to drug therapy so it is best to treat for that bacteria first. By using heartworm prevention we stop new infections and kill most of the circulating microfilaria (baby heartworms) which also improves safety when we treat the adults.The safest treatment for killing adult heartworms is a drug called Immiticide.Please do not be fooled by "holistic therapies". There are quite a few out there and their ingredients range from black walnut to garlic (which can actually be toxic for dogs). They do not work and in the meantime the heartworms continue to affect your fellow.Immiticide is in the arsenic family but it is not arsenic. The advantage Immiticide (Melarsomine) has over traditional arsenic based heartworm treatment is its slow kill rate. With traditional arsenic we had a faster kill rate which led to many more complications with clots thrown and reactions to a large quantity of dying worms at one time. With Immiticide we get a slower kill rate, which allows the body time to handle the dying worms at a more acceptable, less stressful rate, and thus decreases the amount of serious reactions we see.The safest immiticide protocol with the least likelihood of complications is a 3 dose protocol. By using 3 injections the success rate (all heartworms killed with the least chances of a reaction) will be much better then if we tried a faster kill rate. We give one injection of immiticide and then have the dog return in one month for 2 more injections 24 hours apart. In some cases with early heartworm infections we can use a two injection protocol. One injection is given every 24 hours for two days. During therapy your pup must be kept as quiet as possible. No running or heavy play.I understand how difficult it is to keep otherwise healthy dogs quiet but the less active he is the less chances there are of throwing a clot from the dying heartworms and the reactions they create which would make his recovery even more prolonged. In most cases using a crate, walking him on a leash and keeping things low key around your dog is enough. With some high energy dogs we need tranquilizers, but we try not to give more medication than is needed.Your best frame of mind should be that by using the appropriate treatment now and sacrificing some of his happiness now at being confined you are buying him a much better chance of an uncomplicated treatment and long term health, with as little lung scarring and heart and organ damage as possible.Your veterinarian will likely prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce the side effects we may see as the worms die and lodge in small vessels in the body. Finally if he has circulating microfilaria now in his bloodstream a month after the second immiticide injection series he should be treated for microfilaria with either ivermectin or milbemycin.Six months after therapy the adult heartworms and their microfilaria should be gone and he can be tested again for heartworm to make sure he is clear. Here is a link to the American Heartworm Society's webpage that covers testing, prevention, treatment protocols and probably will be able to answer any more of your questions and concerns: http://www.heartwormsociety.org/veterinary-resources/canine-guidelines.htmlTreating dogs with an early heartworm infection can allow them to have a normal, healthy lifespan.If you find you still have questions please feel free to reply with them.
Ask Your Own Dog Veterinary Question
Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,513
17,513 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

Dr. Kara is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete!

Bev & GeorgeBoca Raton, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie

Dog Veterinarian

902 satisfied customers

Companion animal veterinarian practicing for over 10 years.

Dr. Andy

Dr. Andy

Medical Director

16,112 satisfied customers

UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management

Dr. Gary

Dr. Gary

Dog Veterinarian

9,980 satisfied customers

DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)

Dr Scott Nimmo

Dr Scott Nimmo

Dog Veterinarian

9,897 satisfied customers

BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }

Dr. Scott

Dr. Scott

Veterinarian

9,615 satisfied customers

15 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet medicine and surgery.

Dr. Bruce

Dr. Bruce

Veterinarian

9,134 satisfied customers

15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian

Rebecca

Rebecca

Dog Veterinarian

7,745 satisfied customers

More than 30 years of companion animal practice.

< Previous | Next >

Related Dog Veterinary Questions
Older dog, whimpers when walks or moves, now he is walking
older dog, whimpers when walks or moves, now he is walking in circles then lays down. He is getting glucosamine biscuits and medicines … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
9,206 satisfied customers
My dog ate a used Xulane patch is it toxic. A birth control
My dog ate a used Xulane patch is it toxic JA: I'll do all I can to help. Did you see what your dog ate? Customer: A birth control patch (Xulane) JA: Is there anything else important you think the Vet… read more
Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo
Dog Veterinarian
9,897 satisfied customers
Little interest in eating. Was fine yesterday. will play for
little interest in eating. Was fine yesterday. will play for about one minute and then goes back to bed … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
9,206 satisfied customers
He apparently sprained his leg while playing with the
He apparently sprained his leg while playing with the neighbor's dogs and his leg was swollen for several days. Upon my return, the swelling has reduced to just the "ankle" area, both sides. He is fin… read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
DVM
3 satisfied customers
My dog ate part of a dryer sheet I know it's toxic, but
Hi Pearl My dog ate part of a dryer sheet I know it's toxic, but trying to figure out if it's a major issue … read more
Dr. Peter
Dr. Peter
Doctors Degree
14,323 satisfied customers
Vomiting and diarrhea. Inside dogs. No toxic plants inside.
Vomiting and diarrhea. Inside dogs. No toxic plants inside. … read more
Dr. B.
Dr. B.
Veterinary Degree (BVMS)
3,454 satisfied customers
My 2 lb shi-poo got a bottle of melatonin and was playing
My 2 lb shi-poo got a bottle of melatonin and was playing with it I'm not sure if she ingested it or not … read more
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Veterinarian
17,513 satisfied customers
My dog won't eat or drink and doesn't want to play. She has
My dog won't eat or drink and doesn't want to play. She has peed and pooped. Cocoa is 1-2 years old boxer mix and we have had her since Aug from the Humane Society. … read more
DocPaul
DocPaul
Doctoral Degree
680 satisfied customers
My dogs were playing with the plastic container that holds
my dogs were playing with the plastic container that holds rat poison...we are not sure if it had any poison left on it...what should I do? … read more
Dr. Denise
Dr. Denise
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
499 satisfied customers
Are mandarins toxic to dogs as my Anatolian keeps eating
are mandarins toxic to dogs as my Anatolian keeps eating them down the garden are they don,t agree with him … read more
Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
9 satisfied customers
My 45lb mix breed (boxer) just started very sluggish, walks
my 45lb mix breed (boxer) just started very sluggish, walks slow and when tries to bark seems to choke. earlier today removed a deer tick from neck and there is a 1/2" dia lump under the tick bite. th… read more
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler
Dog Behaviorist/Trainer/Breeder/Health
3.75 GPA 36cr. Multiple Tech traini
0 satisfied customers
Has the vet community come to a consensus on the toxicity of
Hey doc, Has the vet community come to a consensus on the toxicity of grapes or raisins? I have a strict no raisin or grape rule in the house bc i dont want to risk the dogs getting them. Well my wife… read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
DVM
3 satisfied customers
My daughters and I were playing volleyball and the ball
Hi, my daughters and I were playing volleyball and the ball accidentially hit him we don't think it was in his head but he screamed for a long time and looks dizzy and he won't keep his eyes open shou… read more
Dr. Gabby
Dr. Gabby
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
4,408 satisfied customers
He's eating, drinking & playing. Today was the last day of
Hi. He's eating, drinking & playing. Today was the last day of deworming but he has a runny stool. … read more
Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
9,134 satisfied customers
Are fire extinguishers toxic to dogs? He didn't eat
he didn't eat anything. we had to use a fire extinguisher yesterday in our home and our dog is very lethargic and not himself … read more
DocPaul
DocPaul
Doctoral Degree
680 satisfied customers
We went walking in the last saterday and on Monday my boxer
We went walking in the wood last saterday and on Monday my boxer puppy who is seven months old began showing signs of little red bumps on his face chest and ears. I as well got many chiggers around my… read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
DVM
3 satisfied customers
I have a 5 month old boxer who was playing with her older
Hello I have a 5 month old boxer who was playing with her older brother (14 month old boxer) and he accidentally stepped on her front right leg. This happened on Sunday evening. When I rub it and move… read more
Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb
Associate Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
564 satisfied customers
My golden doodle may have eaten something toxic on our walk
Hi, my golden doodle may have eaten something toxic on our walk tonight...thinking snail bait. He is have the quick tics as described while behaving normally ,,, they just started. What should I do to… read more
Dr. Schmidt
Dr. Schmidt
Associate Veterinarian
DVM
499 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x