Posted : 2/11/2012 1:25:42 AM
My vet also mentioned the shortage of heartworm treatment available right now, but I told her I did want to proceed with treatment so she was going to try to hunt some down/get some ordered. Although, now hearing that it's so stressful for the dog makes me think I should go with the slow-kill method? It's difficult because I really want to do whatever's best for him, but I guess that's not really knowable until the vet gets a better idea of how bad everything is.
Your vet is likely not going to want you to do the "slow-kill" method -- because it's not under his control. The slow-kill method can be far far easier on the dog, but it's a bit work-intensive for you. You have to understand how ivermectin works in the body and it's side effects to keep this safely under control during the whole treatment.
(and I'm not screaming this but for lurkers -- you MUST MUST MUST be cautious with a herding dog and ivermectin -- in this case the dog has already been ON liquid ivermectin so he's not sensitive to it)
In honesty -- it's not sounding *to me* like he COULD be very positive. He's not old enough, first of all.
**BUT I* WILL CAUTION YOU --
He **will** have to be sedentary. Absolutely with ANY treatment.
ANY of these treatments kill first the microfilaria but ultimately the adult heartworm are dying. The trick of the immiticide is to only have "some" heartworm adults die at a time. (you'll understand more in a minute). With the slow-kill method you DO only kill the adults slowly - it takes repeated applications to kill ANY adults.
Think of it this way -- adult heartworms look eerily like cooked spaghetti. Now -- there can be a few or a LOT. But feature -- if you will even a few strands of cooked spaghetti pasta in your hand. Your hand is the "heart".
Now -- what does the heart do? It beats -- OFTEN. So -- feature that cooked spaghetti wadded up in your hand and now you squeeze your hand repeatedly (as the heart squeezes as it beats to shove blood thru the heart). Imagine what you now have in your hand. MUSHED cooked spaghetti?
Except remember now -- your fist is the HEART. There is blood rushing thru that ALL the time. So those pieces of mushed pasta? They just got swept away by the blood rushing thru the heart.
THAT IS THE HUGE RISK -- when the adult heartworm DO die then, like **any** dead material, it begins to decompose. And as that dead parasite weakens as it decomposes, the heart is going to mush it up as it beats. And "chunks" of that parasite go sailing thru the bloodstream. Those pieces can clog blood vessels, can cause a stroke, or just cost a myriad of problems in the blood vessels until the body is able to re-absorb all that junk.
But with ANY treatment -- that period of them being sedentary? it's CRITICAL because you have to give the body time to re-absorb all that dead parasite material and filter it away in small enough amounts so that the body can handle it.
You likely will need to keep him on relaxants -- something like valerian root or passionflower even (not habit-forming) or perhaps tag team those with something like Hylands Calms Forte so you can keep him from climbing walls while he heals.
You will become a pro at things like stuffing a Kong and freezing it so he has to work IN HIS CRATE to get his food out -- it will keep him occupied and give him some isometric exercise. Think toys, etc. so he gets mental stimulation and something to "do" without him running around the house. He will NOT be able to do that without risking a stroke.