HW+

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Postby SisMorphine » September 21st, 2011, 12:42 am

I can't even say this is my "worst nightmare" or anything of the such . . . as frankly I NEVER thought it would happen to me.

Blue is heartworm positive.

As many of you know, I am very low key when it comes to meds for my dogs, erring mostly on the side of holistic. For heartworm treatment, from the research I've done, I only treat my dogs every other month for the months where the nights are all over 47 degrees.

Well since I can buy a package of Interceptor and it can last me a few years with 2 dogs, I'm not exactly anal about purchasing. Combine that with my numerous friends in this area who do not do HW preventative at all. Now, you see me, continually forgetting or poor-timing my purchase of the new heartworm preventatives, and frankly I'm not overly worried.

HW isn't prevalent in Mass. Most vets will tell you that they have either never seen a case or have only seen it in dogs imported from the south. But a case of HW in a dog who has always lived in New England and is rarely outdoors (I call my two "The Indoor Kids"), is nearly unheard of. Most vets offices have not seen this.

So when my vet called me on Monday, about 5 mins after I got to work, to give me the news, I was bawling my eyes out. I was at fault. There is no doubt there. But also just the randomness of it all. The randomness that has friends who haven't used HW preventative in 10 years rushing to their vet's office.

Now the kicker . . . there is only one medication that kills adult heart worms . . . and there is currently a production issue so this medication is NOT available to anyone anywhere. Now this is where, at work, I completely lose my crap and just bawl on and off for hours . . . wishing I could be home with my baby boy that I did wrong.

For the past few months he has slowed down a little. Nothing huge, and nothing I could truly put my finger on. But now it all makes sense. Tomorrow morning we go in for a different blood test to see how advanced it is (though he tested negative last October so the most recent infection could be early summer) and we discuss treatment options while we wait for the Immiticen to become available again. There is a good chance that this will be an 18-24 month ordeal if the Immiticen doesn't become available. Currently looking at a combo of allopathic and holistic treatments, but will discuss tomorrow with the vet. I hope it doesn't take too long to get the bloods back. And fingers crossed we caught it early. At least my big blue dog is relatively low key . . . though coming home and greeting him sedately and not encouraging him to jump and wiggle-waggle and just be crazy kills me . . .
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Postby CinderDee » September 21st, 2011, 1:44 am

I'm so sorry Alyssa. :hug3: Do you want me to get in touch with Carolann and ask her if she knows of any treatments? She's the lady who treated Kate when he had cancer. She also treated Vinny.

He's going to be fine!! :heartbeat:
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Postby Malli » September 21st, 2011, 2:36 am

aw crap! Try not to worry until you need to.

Please do give us updates.
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Postby iluvk9 » September 21st, 2011, 5:55 am

Poor Blue. Poor you. :sad2:

I know many of our shelter dogs had to go through the heartworm protocol, and bless their souls, they were still happy-go-lucky, even stuck in their crates for such a long time.

I think the extra loving you give him will help him through it all. :dance:

Have you changed your mind about being more vigilant when it comes to giving the preventative?
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Postby Ino » September 21st, 2011, 8:15 am

Sorry to hear Blue is positive. Hopefully it is a weak positive and he will be able to go through the slow kill method. Did the vet give you an idea of how the snap test results looked? Usually it is a strong positive if there are 3 dots and 2 leans towards the weaker side (although blood tests are still required to check how strong/weak it is- the snaps are not nearly as accurate). I have had Ino on interceptor monthly since he was 8 weeks. The vet in NY told me I could not use them in the winter months and would be ok, but I kept him on them year round because they also did intestinal parasites and up there Ino was a poop eater (deer, the GSD we walked with and a neighbor's cat who never received vet care). He got worms once from eating the cats poo and the interceptor made him expel one- so we went for a fecal and he wasnt carrying them still so I was glad we used it year round. We see a lot of HW+ dogs in the shelter system here (FL)- especially this year with the mosquitos being this bad. I would call around as some places may still have the treatments. I know we are still adopting dogs out that are positive because we still have some of the treatment available for them, but the SPCA will not pull HW+ dogs from us for now because they are out.
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 21st, 2011, 8:35 am

I had to rush over here, after seeing that you were taking Blue to the vet this morning...so sorry to hear this, and it has me worried too. I'm a bit lax about HW prev. myself...I just tend to forget.

Good thoughts headed your way for BOTH of you
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Postby madremissy » September 21st, 2011, 8:39 am

Like I said before, I am not going to accept this!!! He is going to be fine, he has to be. Good, positive thoughts for Blue this morning at the vet.
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Postby airwalk » September 21st, 2011, 9:35 am

Alyssa, so sorry to hear this. Keeping my fingers crossed for a weak positive and options that are available.
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Postby amalie79 » September 21st, 2011, 9:50 am

TheRedQueen wrote:so sorry to hear this, and it has me worried too. I'm a bit lax about HW prev. myself...I just tend to forget.

Good thoughts headed your way for BOTH of you


Ditto. I've started putting an alarm on my phone for it.

Please DO keep us updated. Don't most treatments start out with a few months of ivermectin or one of the related HW preventatives to get the young worms taken care of?

We'll be sending lots of good thoughts and big hugs.
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Postby TinaMartin » September 21st, 2011, 10:07 am

Hopefully one of the options we talked about will work for him. :hug3:
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Postby SisMorphine » September 21st, 2011, 10:23 am

Bloods we did this morning:
Ran an in-house HW test and the antigens came back low, so that's good.
Ran a CBC which should be back by tonight.
Microfilagia count should be back tomorrow or Friday.

We'll start treatment next week. We'll be going by the American Heartworm Society protocol
http://www.heartwormsociety.org/UrgentAlert-8-9-11.pdf

I also think I'm going to up his daily dose of garlic to help expel the little bastards, but forgot to ask my vet about that this morning. Will have to ask her when she calls with the CBC results.

iluvk9 wrote:Have you changed your mind about being more vigilant when it comes to giving the preventative?

Oh most definitely. Like I said above, not only has it changed how vigilant I'll be, but it literally sent some of my friends who haven't used HW preventative for their dogs in over 10 years running to their vets to get some Interceptor.

After discussing with my vet I will be changing my HW preventatives to once every 6 weeks (and, you know, I'll actually make a point of PURCHASING it instead of just pushing it off). I might even actually do it throughout the winter. Obviously this has me freaked.
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby TheRedQueen » September 21st, 2011, 10:28 am

Did you do regular HW tests even though you weren't giving HW...or your friends? I make sure my guys are tested yearly...just in case.
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Postby SisMorphine » September 21st, 2011, 10:42 am

TheRedQueen wrote:Did you do regular HW tests even though you weren't giving HW...or your friends? I make sure my guys are tested yearly...just in case.

Yeah mine are tested yearly, which is how we found it. Last week we went in for the impacted anal gland and since he was due for his annual next month we just did it all at once and ran the HW test. I'll be bringing Teeny in for another HW test before I start her back up on Interceptor next week. Though she did test negative this past spring at her annual, I just want to be sure.
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby Jenn » September 21st, 2011, 11:45 am

:hug3:
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Postby BigDogBuford » September 21st, 2011, 12:27 pm

Wow, that sucks. I'd feel super guilty too but there's no point beating yourself up about it though, what's done is done. I'll ask my boss if there's any holistically that you can do to help his immune system once you've got the treatment plan down.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 21st, 2011, 4:29 pm

So many good thoughts for Blue! That's so bizarre that he got it - he's raw fed, too, isn't he?
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Postby SisMorphine » September 21st, 2011, 5:36 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:So many good thoughts for Blue! That's so bizarre that he got it - he's raw fed, too, isn't he?

Yup. Gets his daily garlic and I use Neem sprays when we go out for hikes, just didn't do it daily like for out in the yard or around the block.
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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Postby furever_pit » September 21st, 2011, 8:49 pm

I'm really sorry to hear this. Blue will pull through though.
FWIW, I know several dogs that were HW+ who recovered just fine.
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Postby turtle » September 22nd, 2011, 1:35 am

Poor Blue! I am glad you caught it in the tests and it does not sound like he has a heavy infestation of them which is good.

You have probably heard of Wolbachia which is a parasite of the heartworms but here are a couple of articles about it --

http://dogaware.com/articles/wdjheartwo ... #wolbachia

http://www.dogaware.com/health/heartworm.html#wolbachia

This is certainly a wake up call to not forget to give the preventative regularly! Good thoughts to you and Blue.
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Postby SisMorphine » September 22nd, 2011, 3:32 pm

Yup he'll be on Doxy for the Wolbachia. Thanks for the info :)

We already got the bloodwork back. The CBC looked great, and I guess they found no microfilaria. She said he is the perfect candidate for the slow-kill method. So we start treatment next week!
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." -Anatole France
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