Heartworm Treatment Outline

HomePet CareHeartworm Treatment Outline

Note: The following treatment regimen is based on recommendations of the American Heartworm Society.

Heartworm disease is the parasitism of the heart, blood vessels, and lungs by heartworms. Symptoms are coughing, exercise intolerance, lethargy, weight loss, and eventually heart failure. The adult heartworms produce baby heartworms called microfilaria that are transmitted by mosquitoes. Microfilaria migrate inside a blood vessel wall from the skin to the heart, grow into 14 inch adults and produce more microfilaria.  The entire cycle takes approximately 6 months. Treatment is possible using a very special injectable arsenic compound called Immiticide. Your dog will be scheduled for a 1 day hospital stay to do the following. It will take at least 6 separate visits over 5 months time to treat your dog for heartworms. The following is for asymptomatic dogs. Those with symptoms will have their treatment regimen adjusted as needed.

FIRST VISIT: Hospital Admission for 1 day (Asymptomatic patients)

Injections of Antihistamine (Benadryl) and Steroid

First dose of heartworm preventative and observation for reactions.

Prescription of Doxycycline antibiotic to start being given before next visit.

Upon returning home begin use of heartworm preventative for 3 months. This will reduce the numbers of circulating microfilaria while allowing pre-adult heartworms in the blood vessel walls to mature and become susceptible to treatment. One month prior to Second Visit begin use of Doxycycline antibiotic.

SECOND VISIT: Hospital Admission for 1 day to receive –

(treatment 1)       Complete Comprehensive Physical Exam

Bloodwork and Chest X-rays to evaluate the heart size, shape and function.

Single (1)injection of Immiticide ( arsenic compound)

Steroid for Immiticide injection site pain and possible lung inflammation.

Dog is discharged for 2 weeks of complete cage rest at home.

Please report any coughing, not eating, depression or any other problems

THIRD VISIT: Regular Appointment visit for –

Complete Comprehensive Physical Exam

With a normal exam dog returns home for 2 more weeks of complete cage rest.

Please report and coughing, not eating, depression or any other problems

FOURTH VISIT: Hospital Admission for 2 days & 1 night to receive –

(treatment 2)         Complete Comprehensive Physical Exam and

Two (2) injections of Immiticide 24 hours apart

Steroid for Immiticide injection site pain and lung inflammation

Dog is discharged for 2 weeks of complete cage rest at home.

Please report and coughing, not eating, depression or any other problems

FIFTH VISIT: Regular Appointment visit for –

Complete Comprehensive Physical Exam

With a normal exam dog returns home for 2 more weeks of complete cage rest.

Please report and coughing, not eating, depression or any other problems.

SIXTH VISIT: Regular Appointment visit for –

Complete Comprehensive Physical Exam

With a normal exam your dog has completed all phases of heartworm treatment.

*** Be sure to continue MONTHLY heartworm prevention on a year round 12 month basis.

Your pet will need a heartworm test every year.

NOW YOUR DOG MAY RETURN TO NORMAL RUNNING AND PLAYING!