I am publishing an entry from the Dog Forum, of which I am a member with the authoring member’s permission as I feel that what she had to say is important to anyone who may find out that the dog they own, (maybe having rescued or adopted it), has heartworm infection.
I am publishing her post in its entirety:-
Dog Forum Post
I am sharing my story so that other people who find themselves with a dog with heartworm can benefit from what I’ve learned.
I have a 4-year-old Jack Russell named Spot that we rescued from a shelter after fostering him for 8 months. After adopting Spot we took him into the vet for a check up and discovered he has heartworm. He is completely asymptomatic, we would never have known he was sick if the blood work didn’t say so. We did a ton of research on the internet and saw several forum posts where people said that they just gave their dog the preventative medicine instead of doing the full treatment. The treatment for heartworm is very dangerous (it can be as bad as the actual disease if not worse) not to mention costly.
We told our vet what we read online about giving dogs the preventative medicine only and we were told that although that will keep him from developing more worms and spreading it to other dogs (via mosquitoes), the existing worms will continue to do damage. The doctor recommended we do a chest x-ray that would cost $130, the heartworm treatment that would cost $580, and put him on antibiotics that cost $70.
Wanting a second opinion, we contacted the shelter we got Spot from and they set up an appointment for us with their regular vet. What I learned is that MANY VETS WORK ON COMMISSION! Much like when you take your car to the mechanic and feel like they are pumping up your repair bill, some vets try to get you to do extra tests or give your pet extra medication to increase their pay check.
Our new vet (who does not work on commission) told us that there is no need to give an otherwise healthy dog such risky treatment. She told us that if we give our dog a medication to clear out the microfilaria and then give him heartgard he would be fine.
Of course every case is different and our dog has a very minor case, but before to dive into costly and dangerous treatments make sure that it is necessary. Do your research, know what to ask, and don’t be afraid to ask your vet if he or she works on commission.
At this point, I contacted the author for permission to reproduce here post here on heartworm treatment for dogs and this is what she said and the extra information supplied:-
Yes you may certainly use what I wrote on your site. I want people to know their options because when it comes to your pets it’s easy to get carried away and spend anything to make them better.
Also, as an update, Spot’s microfilaria test came back negative meaning he has no larva in his blood so the vet thinks he only has female worms, the least severe form of heartworm because it is impossible for the worms to reproduce. I am going to be starting him on Heartgard this week. The vet told me that in cases where there is no microfilaria, if you just put the dog on Heartgard most of the time they test negative for heartworm in only a year.
I am so happy that I got the second opinion because the first vet never even tested for microfilaria, just the heartworm antigen.
Interesting – and it would be great to receive your comments on this too – please leave a comment below.
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