Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tucker Starts Heartworm Treatment

This little guy is Tucker, my current foster.  He had the first of two immiticide shots to combat heartworm infestation and he is currently curled under my desk, groaning pitifully.  I hate having to put a dog through heartworm treatment--the cure is painful and risky.  Tucker will have a second shot tomorrow followed by a month of crate rest (or at least very limited activity).  Barring complications, the adult heartworms will be killed by the powerful drug and he'll be on Heartguard to prevent further infection.

Here in Houston, preventive heartworm treatment is a year-round necessity.  Anyone who skips preventive treatment is putting their dog at stake.  I know that many dog blogs offer conflicting opinions about treatment and preventive protocols for heartworm, and I hate it when people say, "Oh, we give the heartworm preventive in the warm months but not in the winter."  I get mosquito bites all year round, and so do dogs.  And heartworms are transmitted only by mosquitoes.  Dog bloggers who advise people to use farm animal products or to skip using Heartgaurd or similar products because it is a "Big Pharma scam" should come walk our corridors at the Shelter. About 40 percent of our incoming animals come in with heartworm.  And many times, the heartworm is so advanced that the animals are already severely ill.  In our area, the main reasons people don't give preventive tablets are financial--or they assume that if their dog appears healthy, it doesn't have heartworms.

I'm not looking forward to the next two weeks of extremely limited exertion for Tucker.  But he'll be a healthier dog at the end it.


  1. damn those mosquitoes! Hope you're feeling better, soon, Tucker!

  2. I'm in Ohio, and do heartworm treatment year round. We get enough cold in the Winter it's probably not really necessary in Jan. - Feb., but we get enough warm days too that I see no reason to risk it. However, I DO use liquid Ivermectin rather than Hartguard. Same drug but much cheaper. That said, I have Aussies so they are tested for the mutant gene first that makes them sensitive to Ivermectin and if they'd test positive they'd get Interceptor. Have used it for 4 years on the 2 current dogs and we have lots of mosquitoes here and no positive tests so far. So don't knock the "farm stuff"; it's the same drug and easy to calibrate, you just have to be careful to get the straight Ivermectin and not one that has anything else added. I've done the heartworm treatments, years ago before I knew it was an issue in this area, and have no desire to do them again!

  3. Best of luck with this little guy! We are lucky that we only have to do heartworm treatment for 6 months of the year up here.


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