Cost of heartworm treatment (not preventative) in dogs?
November 5, 2008 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Is it a bad idea to adopt a rescue dog from a shelter who is "mildly heartworm positive and has begun conservative treatment"?

I am strongly considering adopting a pug from a pug rescue shelter in Houston. The dog is currently living with a foster family who I have been in contact with. Unfortunately, the dog is heartworm positive, but has begun treatment.

The shelter's biography of the dog states that he is "mildly heartworm positive". Otherwise he is a healthy three-year-old. I'm mainly concerned about the cost of treatment (which the shelter will split with me), but I'd also like any other input.
posted by junipero to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
"Mildly heartworm positive" sounds like "slightly pregnant" to me.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:29 AM on November 5, 2008

Best answer: The major part of heartworm treatment is keeping the dog mostly inhibited and relaxed for five-six weeks while the (now dead) heartworm breaks up and is processed by the dog's body. The issue is that if the dog gets his/her heart rate up then large pieces of the worm can break off and cause clots.

My sister adopted a dog that was heartworm positive; he had already had the injections to kill the worm, but the first month she had him, he had to be kept calm and often in a crate; he was only allowed walks to pee/poop. It was really hard to have a new dog and not be able to play with him, but I am sure she wouldn't regret it. He is a great dog.
posted by sulaine at 11:38 AM on November 5, 2008

We did the exact thing. No injections- just heartworm treatment. No worms in heart - only larvae. I might suggest an ultrasound.
posted by beccaj at 12:24 PM on November 5, 2008

"Mildly heartworm positive" sounds like "slightly pregnant" to me.

Actually there are varying degrees of heartworm infestation.
posted by fructose at 12:47 PM on November 5, 2008

Treatment for heartworm seems to be pretty straightforward these days -- do the treatment, keep the dog calm for 6 weeks or so. Of course, the ease of the latter step depends on the temperament of the dog. Sorry I can't help you about the price, but I do know it's no longer a death sentence. Many dogs get past it just fine and live long, healthy lives.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:12 PM on November 5, 2008

My dog lived for most of her life with a heartworm positive diagnosis. She died at the age of 15 (unrelated causes).

I was very young at the time of diagnosis and don't remember much about the initial treatment. However, her extended treatment amounted to one medicated treat given to her every month for the rest of her life. It didn't cost the earth ($60 for a six-month supply I think?) but would have been worth it at any price. She was by all appearance, a very happy and healthy dog.
posted by roshy at 6:29 PM on November 5, 2008

Why don't you look at it this way? Even for a pug, the outcome is likely to be good. If it's not - and I know you don't want to deal with that - but if it's not, then you have taken some burden off the rescue for the foster care of the dog and its treatment.

So, during the time you have the heartworm pug, which ever way it goes, this rescue has more resources to help more pugs. Win win in my book.

One of the reason why I never want to run a rescue is that people in charge have to make hard choices. If this pug is being treated, most likely there is no reason to expect anything other than a long happy life.

Here is a picture of birthday pug to make you happy and get the pug Jones roiling.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:12 PM on November 5, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you all! I am going to adopt the little pug! His name is Marty, and he is three. He will be joining my family on Saturday!
posted by junipero at 2:12 PM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

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