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Heartworms in Dogs

Does any of yall know what the signs of heartworms in a dog are? Is there stages? I need to know anything about this. I have a Terrier & she is acting somewhat sick. She is usually very hyperactive & now she is slightly lazy.Last year she got sick & started losing her hair,then coughing. I thought it might be heartworms. Then i started to see her neck swelling,there was what looked to be a bite. Finally after giving her antibiotics the neck area started draining with a pus substance. She recovered very well. Now she is looking & starting to act the same except her neck is fine. Except for the scars left from last year.Please can someone help? I don't have a lot of money for a vet.She is doing some coughing.Thanks ladies

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Caughing is one of the symptoms of advanced heart worms... the tests for heart woms are not real expensive and you should call around and compare prices. the SPCA may also offer low cost vet care. I know the one in Dallas does.

Heart worms are fatal and VERY prevelant here in texas, they are caused by being bit by an infected mesquito.

The treatment for heart worms is a lot less exoensive today than years past and the SPCA may be able to offer low cost treatment or send you some where that can.

Good luck-A.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K., coughing and lethargy are definitely signs of heartworms. You should get the dog tested asap, as this is a deadly disease. I believe the tests run between $30 and $50. If the test comes back negative, heartworm prevention is available and very important since the disease is very easily transmitted by mosquitos.

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It sounds to me like your dog might have allergies.You can give them benadryl but you need to call your vet and find out about how much to give.The spot on her neck sounds like a hot spot.She could have gotten it for alleriies or fleas.The skin get infected and causes a irratated patch of skin with hair lose.Just watch and see if she is scratching alot.The coughing could definitly be from that.I worked as a vet technician for 3 years and it could be a lot of things.If you are worried about heart worms then you can get her tested but the treatment is very expensive.the test is not however.But if you cant afford to have her treated then dont worry about the test.I know how it feels to not have the money vets can be very expensive.just love your animal as much as you can.That is the best you can do.Imagine where your animal would be if it wasnt for you.It might be a stray or in some terrible home.You are doing everything you can to help your animal.Alway remeber that.Try googling it and it might make you feel a little better.If the timing this year is about the same time as it was last year I would bet that it is alleries.Also if it was heart worms last year then she would not have gotten better they dont just go away so she would have just gotten worse.If it is the same as last year then you can almost bet not heartworms

1 mom found this helpful

The only way you can tell if it is Heartworms is take the animal for a test they are usually inexpensive about 15.00. If your dog does have them it is very expensive to treat we spent almost 1,000.00 on treatment. You should get your pet on a preventitive. You can order them cheaper on petshed.com. Heartworms are very serious and will eventually kill your pet.

1 mom found this helpful

K., You need to consult with a veterinarian. They will give you treatment options and may very well not be heartworm but kennel cough etc> here is some info: If caught soon enough its treatable on heartworm and so is kennel cough.

HEARTWORM TREATMENT - DOGS

The bottom line: Heartworm is a significant disease in dogs and cats. The treatment involves managing the heart, vascular and systemic disease present as well as eliminating the parasites. The goal of treatment is to eliminate the worms one way or another so the animal’s body can rebuild itself and return to the best possible post-infection health. This sounds simple but it can be very complicated depending upon the number of worms present, the dog’s reaction to their presence, the patient’s general state of health, handling the side effects from the medication and the effects on the patient of the dead worms within the circulatory system.

By now, it is clear that the treatment varies from dog to dog. Each animal’s personal condition is evaluated and the treatment protocol tailored to best effect a full recovery with the least side effects. Therefore, this discussion of heartworm treatment will be very general regarding the medications used and the more common side effects. The specific treatment protocol for your pet will be left up to your veterinarian since there is no way to predict how each animal will react to Heartworm treatment.

Treatment involves two basic areas:
1st) Patient evaluation and stabilizing for treatment procedure.
2nd) Elimination of all forms (adult, larvae, and microfilaria) of the Heartworm parasite.

Patient evaluation and stabilization

This involves X-rays, blood tests, heart evaluation, and any other tests indicated to completely evaluate the pet. The veterinarian evaluates the over-all health of the animal, then determines how to best proceed with treatment. Part of this evaluation is staging the severity of the Heartworm Disease in the dog. Some animals need to have certain conditions stabilized before Heartworm treatment can proceed. Those in third stage Heartworm disease may require deliberation to decide if it is best to try surgical removal of some worms through the jugular vein before any other steps of parasite elimination are considered.

Elimination of the Heartworm Parasite

This is a two-step process. The adult worms and the microfilaria are eliminated separately. No one medication kills both. The adults are treated first then a different treatment is used to kill the microfilaria and migrating larvae.

The most serious side effects usually occur with the treatment of the adult worms. As the worms die they lodge in the lung arteries and block even more blood vessels than before treatment. Besides the usual inflammation caused by the presence of the worms, the inflammation is amplified due to the decomposing worms within the blood vessels. This worm destruction releases foreign substances in to the dog’s circulation as the worms break down and are eliminated from the dog by the immune systems. A large amount of inflammation and swelling generally occurs during this period.

Before treatment begins, it is very important to ask your veterinarian any questions you may have about the treatment and what to expect. Some veterinarians will keep the dogs in the hospital during treatments to watch them closely. Your Doctor will make the decisions on an individual basis regarding what would be best for your dog.

The prescription medications used to treat the adult Heartworms are called adulticides. The two adulticides used most commonly are derivatives of arsenic. It is not known exactly how these medications work to kill the worms. We just know they do work.

NOTE: New medications may be available at any time; this listing of treatments may not be complete!

The first one is thiacetarsamide (Caparsolate). It has been used for at least half a century and is effective but can be toxic to the liver, kidneys, or cause severe irritation if the solution gets outside of the vein. The second medication is called Melarsomine dihydrochloride (Immiticide). With fewer side effects than thiacetarsamide, it is also an arsenic derivative and is administered by a careful intramuscular injection. It appears to be as effective and possibly more so in dogs than thiacetarsamide. It has potential for significant side effects and close veterinary monitoring is very important.

Side effects from the medication can be immediate or take up to 2 weeks to appear. One aspect of the side effects are due to the destruction of the adult worms and the resulting blood vessel blockage and inflammation. No matter what adulticide is used, it is very important to keep your dog very quiet and follow all of your Doctor’s instructions. If you have any doubt about what to do or what is going on, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian ASAP.

As the inflammation peaks after adulticide treatment at 5-10 days, sometimes anti-inflammatory medications are used. The veterinarian will determine at the time what to use after evaluating the severity of the reaction. Some anti-inflammatory medications can reduce the effectiveness of the adulticide. Therefore it is a judgment call regarding what is best for the pet’s health at the time.

Some patients even require a second set of adulticide treatments since the very immature L5 Heartworms and young female adults are more resistant to the treatment.

After the adulticide treatment and its side effects are resolved (usually at about 1 month post treatment), the microfilaria are then eliminated with one or another of two common Heartworm preventatives, Ivermectin (HeartGard) or Mibemycin oxime (Interceptor). This will be done approximately one month after the adulticide treatment, depending on your veterinarian’s final decision regarding when it can be done.

Approximately four months after adulticide therapy, the dogs are retested for the presence of Heartworm. This will determine if a second treatment will be needed.

In Summary

Once the Heartworm is eliminated from the dog, then preventative medication is continued as prescribed by your veterinarian. Each dog’s response to Heartworm treatment is different so the information presented here in ThePetCenter.com is a general guide to help you understand the basics of Heartworm eradication. Your veterinarian will communicate more of the specific information as it relates to your pet’s particular circumstances and your pet’s probable response to treatment. Our goal is to help you better understand that the process is involved, the medication alone can be toxic, and every animal reacts differently.

HEARTWORM PREVENTION IN THE DOG
Preventing Heartworm Disease is definitely easier on the dog and is now much simpler than it used to be. The most common preventatives are given once a month by the pet’s caretaker. Preventatives kill the immature Heartworm larvae before they molt to the L5 stage. As long as they are given every month, they are very effective in preventing Heartworm infection and subsequent development of Heartworm Disease.

1 mom found this helpful

My mom's dog was recently diagnosed and died from Heartworms. The only sign she saw at first was that he was not as active as usual and he was couging alot. It turned out that by the time she was able to get him to the vet it was too late. They gave him some medicine to help lessen the symptoms but they couldn't treat him because he would not have made it through the treatment. Please if you can take your dog to the vet and have her tested for heartworms.

1 mom found this helpful

Our dog was just diagnoised with heartworms and the vet said that coughing is one of the first signs of it. Also if their stomach is bloated. We are just giving our dog the heartworm medicine plus 2 aspirins a day and a vit. C a day. They said they have a life span of 18 months. Luckily our dog is not showing alot of the signs even though he has them and we are praying that he will make it through the 18 months.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a vet that we use down in East Texas. Just call and talk with them and see what they say. Very nice people. ###-###-####, Spencer Vet Services. If for some reason you do need to take her to the vet - I am not for sure where you live, but there is a vet in Terrell that is inexpensive - Risinger Vet. It is located on Hwy 148. I hope this helps!

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Well, I don't know much about heartworms, but wanted to point out a vet to you. I did look where you live and it would be a bit of a drive, so I don't know if it's worth it with gas prices the way they are, but thought I'd tell you anyway.

The best thing to do for her is simply get her tested. After that, they can tell you what to do. The vet is Petmobile and they're located in Garland. However, they have mobile pet clinics during the month. The clinics are free to go to (you don't have to pay an office visit, which is usually the kicker) and the cost on the website says $20. Surprisingly there's a special in May for $2 off the heartworm test- so it's only $18.

Check out the website if you like at http://www.petmobile.com/ and you can check out yourself where the mobile clinics are being held and the prices (bottom left box on the homepage).

HTH some. Sounds like she's definitely unwell. Heartworm can be very painful and if she's tired and coughing, something's not right. Dogs never tell you when they're hurting because it's a sign of weakness and by instinct, they don't show when they're weak.

1 mom found this helpful

best thing to do for your dog is go online and locate where mobile pet will be this saturday and take your dog for a heartworm test. they do it right there and will tell you the results that day... they will also be able to give you any medication for your dog. it is cheaper then the vet but it is a vet just not with the vet charge. i take all 4 of my animals for their shots to petmobile.com each year and when i need a vet for more serious matters i do have a regular vet i us in allen. but for general things when money is tight i take them on saturdays to the petmobile and they are very nice loveing caring people.

their prices are online too so you will know what it will cost before you go.

good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Heartworms KILL animals, so this is not something to try and diagnose or treat at home. I also recoomend the PetMobile!

Also, monthly Heartworm preventative is NECESSARY in the state of Texas all year round.

Also, please check out www.carecredit.com for low/no cost financing for up to 1 year for human and pet medical emergencies. It's better than using a credit card and far better than not doing anything!

1 mom found this helpful

Please don't try to self-diagnose or self-treat the poor girl...there are lots of low-cost vet services out there that all the other posters have explained...I had a dog years ago that I adopted from a shelter, and one year later he tested positive for heart worms. I just thought it wouldn't hurt to go awhile without the monthly heartworm med, but I was wrong and it almost cost my little guy his life. After a week's treatment (most of the expense is for the boarding, which is necessary b/c the animal has to be watched night and day during treatment) he did great, and I never failed to give him his monthly med...it's really cheap compared to the treatment. Now that that dog has gone to Doggy Heaven, 16 years later, we have a new dog & we have him taking it, too. You just can't go without it here in Texas. Mosquitos are too bad, year-round. I understand being strapped for cash, especially these days, and there are some corners that have to be cut, but your pet depends on you to keep her happy and healthy as a member of your family. I swear I'm not trying to lecture, I'm just speaking from my own experiences...

1 mom found this helpful

Caughing is one of the symptoms of advanced heart worms... the tests for heart woms are not real expensive and you should call around and compare prices. the SPCA may also offer low cost vet care. I know the one in Dallas does.

Heart worms are fatal and VERY prevelant here in texas, they are caused by being bit by an infected mesquito.

The treatment for heart worms is a lot less exoensive today than years past and the SPCA may be able to offer low cost treatment or send you some where that can.

Good luck-A.

1 mom found this helpful

i do not know much about heartworms.. But let me tell you a story..My father in law has a dog we gave him. A long time ago. The Vet said he had a bad case of heart worms. My inlaws could not afford the treatment cost. My father in law started boiling whole garlic with just a little bit of water to soften the garlic--sometimes he kept it raw. He would stick it in the dogs food. Months later he took Poco to the Vet and The Vet did not understand why Paco was still alive.. It has been 10yrs. They still put garlic in Pac's food. I also put it in our Mutts food.:-) This is a true story.

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K.,

my dog started that coughing and sort of sounded like a hacking cough sometime. Unfortunately, when we took him to the vet they said he was positive with heartworms. They gave him some kind of expensive treatment and he is fine now. This however, was my daughters dog so I am not sure what they charged her. It seems like around $200.00, but this was over 6 years ago. You might want to get a blood test for her because that is the only TRUE way they can tell if your dog does have heartworms. The fact that your dog is lethargic may be some other kind of canine disease. I'm not a vet but have had many dogs over the course of my life and maybe you can work out a payment plan for any treatment, if she needs it. I take my dogs to Grand Prairie animal clinic and I think they charge $25.00 just for the blood test. If you get her a blood test maybe you can at the very least...rule out heartworms. Good luck I hope this helped a little. God Bless

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.!
Really, the best thing would be to go to your vet.
Also, consider your dog's age. Some dogs will show barely any signs of age, and then one day, it all seems to go downhill.
Coughing can also be a sign of congestive heart failure (I had a dog die from this).
If she does have heartworm, she really needs to be treated - they are awful parasites. Treatment is expensive; I did meet someone once who treated his dog himself by giving him extra doses of heartworm preventative, but I'm sure this is not recommendable. If you do need to get her treatment, then she'll need to be kept fairly still for a month, so the dying heartworms (killed by the vet injecting poison into the heart) don't dislodge too fast and cause a clot... Whatever you decide, you should definitely have your dog on heartworm preventative all year 'round.
Here's a website with some more heartworm info:
http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/hartw.htm
Good luck!
-Christina

1 mom found this helpful

I know someone has already mentioned PetMobile, but I just wanted to second their recommendation. They give the test for heartworms and the treatment depends on the size of the dog. I have a huge mastiff so his treatments are going to run about $300. They are letting me pay in small monthly payments. They are wonderful and really love animals. Thursdays are really busy because they give shots for $7 from 5-8 p.m. I recommend them.

1 mom found this helpful

K.,

That must be scary to see what your pet is going through. I don't know much about hearworms but I may be able to provide you with some information for a pet plan that allows you to save up to 80% on your vet bill in case you wanted to take him to the vet. Send me an email at ____@____.com and I will provide you with the necessary information to be able to take your pet to the vet for a reasonalble fee. Hope to hear from you.

F.

1 mom found this helpful

It certainly does not sound like heart worms. it sounds more like a staph infection. My dog had it and it didn't
initially show up as anything. Then it showed up as roughans pus looking life sore that spread. I am not saying this is what your dog may have but if it sounds familiar the dog needs antibiotics!

1 mom found this helpful

just went thru heartworms with Chiquaqua and Shepherd. They start coughing,trying to gag up something as the worms are growing in number and moving. They give arsenic compound to kill them off, then the worms have to move safely out of their system. It is fatal if unchecked. I spent $300 ea. for the treatment and $32 for a years supply of monthly heartworm medicine.
There is a simple test your vet does to determine this. If they were outdoors and exposed to mosquitos (carriers) then its a good chance they have it.

Ask your vet for a monthly pay plan. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K., coughing and lethargy are definitely signs of heartworms. You should get the dog tested asap, as this is a deadly disease. I believe the tests run between $30 and $50. If the test comes back negative, heartworm prevention is available and very important since the disease is very easily transmitted by mosquitos.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,
Sorry to hear about your doggie's woes. Although I'm positive those symptoms (except the coughing) doesn't sound like heartworms. Heartworms live in the blood flow in the heart passages causing the one chamber or more to work harder. Since the heart is truly a muscle the more you work a muscle the larger it becomes. Then as the walls thicken and the worms are in the blood flow it simply gets constricted and the blood flow is no longer efficient. Also the other chambers will thin out and can actually get a hole, this is caused bleeding out and that is why heartworms are fatal. I can assure this is usually a long process...few years.
The test for heartworms in very inexpensive $25 but the treatment is very expensive.
We use a very affordable vet. The clinic is 360 West in McKinney.
Also if it turns out that your doggie has heartworms sometimes you can find some help from the breeds rescue group. Did you say it was a Jack Russell terrier?? Just find a local group and ask them for the $$ help. Also the monthly heartworms chews are very affordable..$15 month.
I hope this info helps you. I was a vet tech for about 6 years and really loved it.
Feel free to email me ____@____.com
if you have any more questions.
Good Luck
Animal lover, Jen

1 mom found this helpful

I began caring for a dog - a Southern Blackmouth Cur - and her pups after their owner died from lung cancer last August.

Around Christmas and through January, the mama dog was losing so much weight that her ribs and spine were showing. She became lethargic and got a hacking cough. Finally, she refused her food. Classic heartworm symtoms.

I could not afford the $$$$ to have a vet give her a dose of arsenic to "poison" all the heartworms at once - - and then keep her in a kennel for a week while her body reabsorbed the dead worm carcases. I went online and googled: "HEARTWORM NATURAL HOME REMEDY."

I read and read the back-and-forth conversations over treating a dog at home. After days of agonizing over the controversy, I decided try one of the home remedies.

The treatment worked.

Here's what I did: Bought a tube of IVERMEC at the Keller Feed Store. It's a worm killer for cattle. I gave her just ONE PEA-SIZED SERVING (!!!!!). She weighed approx. 35 to 40 LBS. at the time. After a few days, the cough was gone and she immediately started eating again. Now her weight is back to normal - - over 50 lbs. She is healthy and happy. Just this morning, as I was leaving for work, I watched her pounce on one of her pups and roll in the grass wrestling like a young pup herself.

She probably still has some of the heartworms living in her heart. I plan on using a pea-size serving of Ivermec every 6-WEEKS AS A FUTURE PREVENTATIVE for her and my other dogs.

There are plenty of warnings across the web to NOT do this - - some dogs have died. But then a lot of people on the web have lost their dogs during the vet-supervised arsenic treatment. My best friend who volunteers with a dog rescue group in the North Texas area is STILL NOT SPEAKING to me for doing it this way! She told me I was an IDIOT and the dog would most likely die. To me - - the choice is: YOu either poison ALL of worms at ONE TIME at the vets' office OR poison just a FEW AT A TIME at home. You must decide for yourself.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi. I am a veterinary nurse, and what you describe could be many different things, heartworm disease, thyroid disease, heart disease. It would be best to get her tested for HWD as it can be fatal if left untreated. Coughing is a sign of heartworm disease, but also of heart disease or lung disease. In all three of these dogs can become "lazier" because their circulation isn't optimal. Thyroid disease also causes dogs to appear lazy, and severe cases can cause hair loss.

I would suggest finding a low-cost vet or clinic to take her to and get her checked out. Explain your financial situation beforehand and ask if they would take payments; not all will, some are willing to work with you. Once you find a vet, also get estimates on everything so you have an idea of how much money things can cost. Your dog's symptoms match so many different illnesses that it is really necessary to have a professional look at her.

Best of luck to you; I know it isn't easy to see your pet sick and know that finances are limited. I've been in that situation before and it is really hard, heart-wrenching at times.

S.

1 mom found this helpful

The vet can tell you with a simple blood test if your dog has heart worms. If your dog does, the treatment is very expensive, they board the dog and practically poison them to kill the worms. We had this treatment done several years ago on our dog, and a week or so later, her stomach twisted and we had to have her put down. We don't know if the treatments caused her stomach to twist or just coincidental timing. After this incident, I have sworn to keep my dogs on monthly heartworm chews. In the long run it is easier on you and the dog, and less expensive. If you dog has not been on prevenitive meds, the vet must do a blood test before you can start them. Hope this is helpful.
Jen D. Frisco

1 mom found this helpful

We are right in the middle of heartworm treatment with my Rot. Before she was diagnosed she was lazy, short of breath, had difficulty breathing and had a slight cough. It's almost like congestive heart failure symptoms... the lungs are wet (coughing), which make is difficult to breath (short of breath); the heart can't supply enough blood and oxygen to the body (lazy and difficulty breathing).
If you are the least bit worried, the first step would be to have her tested, which is only $30. They draw blood, and use a in-vet test... looks like a PG test. This only take 3-5 min for a result.
The sooner you catch the heartworms the better! The worms multiply making it even harder on the dog to recover.

1 mom found this helpful

Please contact Dr. Pipes located off Hwy 78. He's near Firewheel Mall.(Albertsons shopping center) He is more than generous with patients who can't afford it. He's an animal lover. My aunt Barbara takes all of her rescue dogs to him.

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