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Hey all..we're looking at adopting a second dog. I have my eye on one who seems perfect in all ways except is listed as having tested positive for heartworm and is going through treatment.

I'm woefully ignorant about this, except that we give ours the heartworm pill for prevention. Are there any long-term effects? I'm off to do research but I'd love any input as well.

Thanks. :)
 

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We adopted a stray GSD years ago. She had heart worms when we got her and had her treated. Then, in spite of being on the preventative, she got them again many years later. By that time, she was in her teens and the vet recommended against treating her. He said that, given her age, it could kill her and that she'd die of something else B4 the heart worms got too bad. He was right.

I don't know how old she was when we got her, just that she was an adult. But we had her for years. I can't recall now how many years we had her but I'm thinking it's was over 13 years.
 

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I would go ahead and get the dog. The treatment works. One of my dogs got heartworm when he was about 2 years old. He was treated for it, and never got them again. I had him checked every spring and had him on preventative. He was a cocker spaniel, and lived to a ripe old age of 21 years (still fetching to the end). I think he was super dog, as they say 16 to 18 is pretty much tops for cockers. I had him for half of my life at the time of his passing. :kiss: Gave him lots of love, a quality diet and lots of exercise.
 
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The preventative is the same as the treatment. You just let the worms live their lifespan and the preventative prevents further infestation. Where the worry comes in, is that as the full worms expire, they leave holes in the heart. And those need to heal. A sedate lifestyle for the 12-18 months (I am guessing here, I don't recall the exact time frame) while the adult worms die off and the holes heal is all that you need. If she is a good dog, it is worth it!

There is an aggressive form of treatment, but it is much harder on the dog, and has more chance for the dog expiring as all the worms die off at once and leave multiple holes...
 

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I have an ancient German Shepard Dog that I found on the road 4 years ago. She tested positive for heartworm, and because of her advanced age/physical condition at time of rescue, my vet put her on Heartguard and left it at that. She is still going strong more than 4 years later, still gets Heartguard monthly. Don't let the prescription run out if you go this route, it can set your dog back.
 
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I have an ancient German Shepard Dog that I found on the road 4 years ago. She tested positive for heartworm, and because of her advanced age/physical condition at time of rescue, my vet put her on Heartguard and left it at that. She is still going strong more than 4 years later, still gets Heartguard monthly. Don't let the prescription run out if you go this route, it can set your dog back.

Yes. That is exactly the solution!
 

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When the adult heart worms die, there is a chance that the dead worm could cause a blockage. This is why a slow die off is preferable. Heartworms have a lifespan of about two years, so as long as you use the preventative (to keep baby worms from becoming adults), your dog will eventually be free of heartworms.

Myself, I would not use the treatment, I would let nature take its course and use a preventative.
 

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You should share a picture, if you decide to adopt the dog. Everyone loves dog pictures! :D
 

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It depends on how bad the infestation is, a heavy heart worm load can cause permanent cardiomegaly and congestive heart failure even after successfully getting rid of the worms. I have never heard it recommended to put a heart worm positive dog on preventative, it might work if the worm load was not too bad. What I think is irresponsible is to do nothing. Having a heart worm positive dog only allows a source for infection (through mosquitos) to other dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
...yeah, it just says he's under treatment, but not exactly what that is. It also lists him as having to take it easy for a while. Poor little guy.
 

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Ooh - well nevermind. We're fostering an entirely different dog starting tomorrow. Heartworm pup had too many hoops to jump through. But at least this thread is out there for anyone to see. :)
 

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The reason you put the dog on preventative is to prevent other dogs from getting infected, since the adult worms are mating and producing offspring. It is also to prevent the dog from picking up even more worms.
 
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