Posted : 4/6/2006 11:58:38 PM
Oops Mini-mom, not quite right (not sure what your source is but this is another thing I have a lot of experience with).
You can get a clear occult within a year treating with ivermectin. That's how we treated Ms. Socks because her heartworm was SO advanced she wasn't a candidate for the imiticideg (it would have killed her -- her heartworm was EXTREMELY advanced and heart damage and lung damaged had already occurred).
We gave her daily doses of ivermectin (in the preventive dose). LONG TERM it does not only sterilize the adults but if you give it daily it will actually kill the adults. But SLOWLY enough so the body can re-absorb the dead parasite material.
If you are treating this 'long' way, you are keeping the microfilaria population zero'd out so it's not progressing.
I know some people are using different protocol.s for this -- I've heard some people just giving the ivermectin once a month and eventually you will get a clear occult (but probably not in anything close to a year), and some give it weekly.
I have a problem with both of those because then you have a dog who is a "heartworm factory" (so you can be contributing to theh eartworm problem in your area while treating your dog).
My other problem is that if you only give the ivermectin weekly or monthly then you have the same problem every time -- EVERY time it becomes a big huge risk for the body because you are killing a lot of microfilaria (because you are letting them build up between times) so you have a bigger risk.
However if you do give ivermectin daily, then you have another challenge -- ivermectin dose this weird "pseudo-immune boost" thing that essentially causes the dog's own immunity to get really lazy, so when you are nearing the completion of your treatment plan, you have to actually find ways to stimulate the dogs won immune system and build that up, and literally 'wean offf' the ivermectin to force the body to re-adjust.
We learned that the hard way -- when we were treating Socks, I let someone else take her as a foster for a while and they decided unilaterally to only treat her monthly rather than the daily doses I'd been giving her. She wound up REALLY sick (a major lymph infection that looked like lymphoma) and then I had that to deal with as well as the heartworm treatments.
BIG HUGE LETTERS AGAN -- you can't give a dog ivermectin if it has ANY kind of herding dog in it -- not just collies. But any kind of collie, shepherd, sheltie, corgi, and on down the line.
but ultimately it apparently does kill adults -- I got a clear occult on Ms. Socks within a year -- and she was literally SO positive she was nearly dead when we took her. Several vets had just plain refused to treat her with the immiticide because her symptoms were SO pronounced they were sure it would kill her. And for me to get a clear occult on her within a year was something we're pretty proud of.
But altho it's an inexpensive treatment it is work intensive and you have to know what you're doing.
And Jennie is right -- you GOTTA dose it very carefully -- literally you dose it with a syringe!! Mere drops even for a 50 pound dog -- and for a small dog it would be a very minute dose but one that needs to be measured carefully.