Friday, December 28, 2012

Tyler's Heartworm Treatment - a Long Road

Our new foster dog, Tyler, the 2-year old mini-dachshund has heartworm. It was doubly confirmed by our vet.
Tyler posing
  Here's the catch. The treatment to cure him and rid him of the heartworm takes 6 months! Yup, half a year. That's a long time to keep a puppy immobile. SO, PLEASE give your dogs heartworm preventative. It's not only the time, and the challenge of keeping a dog from exercising, but it's also costly (the rescue is covering expenses for Tyler, although we're willing to assist).

NOTE: I didn't show a picture of what the heartworms look like because it GROSSED ME OUT. *Please put your dog on heartworm preventative**

  Here's how Tyler's treatment will work: 
  It's 1 month of pre-treatment with antibiotics (and Tyler doesn't take pills easily and hates peanut butter and cheese - a weird little Doxie).
After a month then a series of 3 shots are administered over 5 months with pain killers, because the shots hurt a lot afterward. That entire time it's: short leash bathroom breaks, no playing, etc.
   It's a challenge to say the least. He's so young that he's worth saving. He's got a long life ahead, and he's so adorable.
  During the short time we've had him, Rob has been training him to sit, stop, walk, stay and come. He's had virtually no training from his first home in North Carolina, which btw, really ticks us off.
  Why do people in the south (in general, not everyone.. and I lived there, too) not give heartworm preventative, and not train their dogs?  That's just cruel to the dog. Rescues also find that southern folk also abandon their dogs on the side of the road to fend for themselves - How cruel!
Southern residents are also famous for not spaying or neutering their dogs and then turning the puppies out in the cold. I only know this because of the rescues we work with that encounter it daily.

Canine Heartworm Disease:

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?  In most dogs, the heart and lungs are the major organs affected by heartworms with varying degrees of clinical signs. SIGNS; coughing,   exercise intolerance, abnormal lung sounds, dyspnea (difficulty breathing), abnormal lung sounds, hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver), syncope (temporary loss of consciousness due to poor blood flow to the brain), ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity), abnormal heart sounds, death
WHAT IS IT?  Dogs are considered the definitive host for heartworms. However, heartworms may infect more than 30 species of animals (e.g., coyotes, foxes, wolves and other wild canids, domestic cats and wild felids, ferrets, sea lions, etc.) and humans as well. When a mosquito carrying infective heartworm larvae bites a dog and transmits the infection, the larvae grow, develop and migrate in the body over a period of several months to become sexually mature male and female worms. These reside in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels. As mature adults, the worms mate and offspring go into the blood stream. Offspring can be detected in the blood about 6 months after the infective larvae from the mosquito enter the dog. 
SOME SIGNS A DOG SHOWS:  A heartworm infected dog with mild disease may appear to be perfectly normal upon physical examination. Severely affected dogs, however, may show signs of right-sided heart failure. Labored breathing or crackles may be heard in the lungs due to vascular clots and elevated pressure. A history of coughing and inability to exercise are among the earliest detectable abnormalities.

TREATMENT: Adult heartworms in dogs are killed using a drug called an adulticide that is injected into the muscle through a series of treatments. Treatment may be administered on an outpatient basis, but hospitalization is usually recommended. When the dog is sent home, exercise should be limited to leash walking for the duration of the recovery period, which can last from one to two months. This decreases the risk of partial or complete blockage of blood flow through the lungs by dead worms.

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Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next