Vet w/ heartworm experience in Denver?
July 14, 2015 5:05 AM   Subscribe

We recently adopted a rescue Australian shepherd. He is super cute but heartworm positive. He was given 2 (of the recommended 3) shots for treatment before we adopted him. When we got him, he tested positive. Vet recommended antibiotics (4 pills per day for 30 days) because it was just baby heartworms remaining. Recently finished the antibiotics and he is still testing positive.

Vet called us and was not sure what to do. Vet called a doctor who works for the American Heartworm Society for advice and is waiting to hear back. This is where my doubts set in. OK, sure, this is a treatable disease. And sure, it's not terribly common in Colorado. But meanwhile I have been waiting for a week to hear back from the doctor on how to proceed in treating a disease that is pretty common in dogs.

So the question: have you gotten a dog treated for heartworm in Denver? Do you have a vet you can recommend here? I'm near Cherry Creek reservoir, so ideally a vet nearish there.

Thank you!
posted by rachelpapers to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
 
Dogs will test positive for heartworm proteins for up to six months after the adult heartworms are killed. How many months is your timeline looking like?

My dog was heartworm positive when we got her. Her timeline was as follows:

1. Two months of doxycycline and Heartgard to weaken the worms and kill any baby worms. Possibly also prednisone, I forget when that started.
2. One month into the doxy, first immiticide injection.
3. One month later, two immiticide injections 12 hours apart.
4. Continue on heartgard and prednisone.

Several months after treatment, she began to test negative and was cleared for resumption of frenetic activity. She's been on monthly preventative ever since.
posted by bookdragoness at 6:37 AM on July 14, 2015


We gave my dog the heartworm meds when he had the babies (at our vets suggestion). If I remember right we did it for like 3 months.
posted by ReluctantViking at 7:35 AM on July 14, 2015


Pick a large well-known rescue group in your area and find out who their vet is, because they have undoubtedly dealt with heartworm treatment repeatedly. It is weird that your vet is struggling so much with this.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:08 AM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you get really hard-up, I'm happy to share the name of the two vets in the Boulder area that our rescue recommended as knowing heartworm issues really well (our rescue pup was also heartworm positive and treated before we adopted her). That would be a long haul from where you are, though. I would absolutely not stay with your current vet; heartworm isn't endemic on the Front Range but this isn't a rare condition either.
posted by iminurmefi at 8:33 AM on July 14, 2015


Anyone with a herding dog should read up on the Ivermectin (heartworm meds) problems (Severe neurological toxicity can result.) MANY vets do not know this. Ask any prospective vet if they know about Ivermectin and herding dogs.

Dogs affected are:
Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherd Mini
Border Collie
Collie
English Shepherd
German Shepherd
McNab
Old English Sheepdog
Shetland Sheepdog
Mix breeds with any of the above

1800 pet meds article with link to WSU study and tests
posted by cda at 10:14 AM on July 14, 2015


Yes, if you have a herding breed it is worthwhile to get the WSU test, because there are many drugs that can cause problems and cda is right, MANY vets don't know about it or even if they presumably do know, they forget to ask if your dog has been tested before administering potentially problematic drugs (this actually happened to me with a vet at WSU!). If you have a herding breed, you have to be vigilant about this issue yourself.
posted by HotToddy at 10:29 AM on July 14, 2015


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