Heartworm Treatment – How to Cure Dog Heartworm

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Heartworm TreatmentLet us define first the word “worms”. When you ask an ordinary individual their usual response is “long, wriggly, slimy creatures” while a dictionary type definition is that, the word worms applies to a great variety of long, slender and limbless animals. To a zoologist however, it is applied particularly to three distinct groups (phyla) of animals/parasites; the flatworms (plathyhelminths), the segmented worms (annelids), and the roundworms (nematodes). These groups are found in almost all parts of the world. Some of them burrow in the earth, others crawl along the ground, and still others swim in the water.

The roundworms or nematodes do not have cilia, a hair-like projection, nor are they segmented. They are considered a richly varied and highly successful group, consisting of enormous numbers of small worms that occupy essentially every habitat in which multicellular organisms can survive-terrestrial, marine, and freshwater. However, roundworms are best known in the parasitic realm. A number of these are parasitic on humans and animals, some attack plants. Insects as well as other invertebrates are also heavily parasitized.

Dogs, cats, poultry, cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, and goats are some examples of domestic animals that are also invaded by these parasitic roundworms. Heartworm, a potentially deadly disease of  dogs, cats, wolves, coyotes, foxes and other animals, such as ferrets, sea lions and even humans is caused by a roundworm (Dirofilaria immitis) that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes, so heartworm prevention is particularly important for pets wherever mosquitoes are at all prevalent. The heartworm is a type of filaria, a small thread-like worm. The heartworm, Dirofilaria immitis, lives as an adult in one chamber of a dog’s heart – usually the right atrium – where it can live for many years, or in the arteries that lead from the heart to the lungs. Infection may result in serious disease for the host and when untreated may die.

Stages of Canine Heartworm

Heartworms go through several life stages before they become adult infecting the heart of host animals. In order to complete their life cycle, they use mosquito as their intermediate host. Immature worms, or microfilariae, then circulate for a number of years in mosquitoes bloodstream while transforming into the next stage of their life cycle. The microfilariae then undergo a series of molts until they reach the infective or third larval stage and migrate to the salivary glands of the bloodsucking mosquito where they wait to infect another host, typically dogs.

The disease is usually asymptomatic during the first six months of infection. Infected animals will show minimal or no sign of infection at all even after the heartworms have matured. There is only light infection and the animals can live a fairly sedentary lifestyle without showing signs of infestation. However those that are severely affected shows signs of exhaustion upon exercise, severe weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood and congestive heart failure. In some instances migrating worms end in unusual sites such as eye, brain, or in an artery in the leg which may result in blindness, seizures, and lameness.

Heartworm TreatmentHeartworm Treatment for Dogs

The best defense against heartworm disease is the use of prophylactic treatment given monthly. But before the worms can be treated once they are established, the infected host must be evaluated first for heart, liver, and kidney function to assess the risks of treatment. Prevention of heartworm infection can be obtained through a various numbers of veterinary drugs. Heartgard is a veterinary drug manufactured for the prevention of heartworm disease in dogs and cats. It is one of the most commonly prescribed heartworm prophylaxes. Heartgard contains Ivermectin as its active ingredient; it eliminates heartworm by destroying the tissue stage of the worm and blocking its development to its contagious disease. However, it can make your dog pretty sick while treating him/her.  Because the dog is already sick from the heartworms, not all dogs survive the treatment.

Heartworm Pills – No Prescription

Heartworm preventative drugs are highly effective however the monthly preventives all have a reasonable margin for error. Adult heartworms do not die off completely until some 18 months of treatment have elapsed, if heartworms are already present. Nevertheless, conventional and other methods of heartworm prevention are often assumed to be the most effective. From time to time various homeopathic, natural or herbal heartworm products are touted as cures or preventives from heartworm disease, and there is a large body of anecdotal evidence that they can be effective.

Of course, the most suitable and cost-effective heartworm prevention is to eliminate all mosquito species in your area, but this is rarely possible,

Unfortunately, heartworm is usually neglected by the public because humans are rarely affected with this disease. However respiratory disease is the prodromal sign of humans infected with heartworm. The worm does live for very long upon reaching the human lung, typically being  absorbed, and therefore killed, by a nodule, called as granuloma. This may well be the reason why humans are atypically infected. It is still beneficial however to inform and educate the public about this particular phenomenon.

Heartworm TreatmentIf your dog has heartworm, click here for information on a natural heartworm treatment that can kill off heartworm withOUT the need for the chemical Ivermectin products.

However, you should NEVER disregard the advice of your vet.  Discuss alternative heartworm treatments with your vet, and express your preference by all means, but do listen to your vet and take into account whatever he or she has to say*.  Also take into account what your research on the subject has disclosed about alternative treatments.  And make your decision based on all the facts.

* (bear in mind that many vets are not open to alternative treatments of any type)

This article researched and written by Adriene Conde.

8 thoughts on “Heartworm Treatment – How to Cure Dog Heartworm

  1. Beverly Myers

    I live in Florida,We have had six dog’s in our family, we have alway’s had them on a heartworm preventative. We have never had a case of heartworm’s. We use heartgard. Prevention is the key to this horrible condition.

  2. Carol Johnston

    We are fostering a tiny 10-year-old senior female yorkie (puppy mill rescue) with several health problems, including a Grade 5 heart murmur, hernia, cataracts, and emaciation…..3.7 lbs. Actually, she will probably be a permanent foster. She is improving daily, but still very weak.

    We live on the edge of a wooded area and there are lots of mosquitoes. All 4 of our other dogs are being treated with Advantage Multi for heartworm protection, but this little one cannot tolerate any kind of harsh treatment, and so I am very interested in a natural preventative. I believe some of the essential oils (diluted of course) and sprayed on her would be a benefit since she has no other protection. I am presently researching what we can use on her as a preventative and which will not cause her any further distress.

  3. Rita

    I give my dogs Black Walnut, Ginger, Garlic , and brewers yeast in their food once a day as a prevention for all types of parasites.
    I put 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in all of my animals water to keep the mosquitos out .
    And I spray the dogs with Lavender, Rosemary, Tea tree and Clove water once or twice a day.
    My dogs are very Healthy And have no parasites. I belive prevention is the best way.
    The convintional heart worm prevention has too many side effects …

  4. Anita

    My dog is 2 years and 5 months old and had been on heartgard and frontline until she was a year and 1/2 old. I stopped because it’s poison and toxic and worked against her body so much for listening to the conventional vet that is pushing the pharm company’s products. We have horrible mosquito’s here in Georgia, but I have been giving her black walnut hull, pumpkin seeds, and wormwood as a prevantative that works with her body. Additionally it is all natural, humans can use it for parastites as well. Just google it and you will find stories where heart worm had been reversed with NATURAL herbs. Ivermectin is used as part of the treatment AFTER a dog contracts heartworm did you know they used to use arsenic to treat heartworm? Shame on the conventional vets!!!! Hope this helps.

  5. Brigitte Smith

    Hi Beverly,

    Absolutely, prevention is the key. Heartgard is not the only option, though, and there is evidence that it is toxic for pets – see here – Dangerous Chemicals for Flea Control – I believe the same applies to conventional Heartworm prevention, as Ivermectin is also an insecticide.

    Hi Carole, Rita and Anita,

    You’re all on the right track! (in my humble opinion).

    There is a specific Herbal Heartworm Prevention Program described here.


  6. Courtney Lindsay

    I just found out that our 5 year old pit bull has heart worm. He was tested about 7 months ago and it was negative, So i am hoping we caught it in time to save him. I am reading about natural or herbal cures for heartworm. I would love to hear from anyone who has been through this or can offer me some advice. My family is in financial hardship and want to do as much for him as possible without loosing the house…… or having to put him down.

  7. Debi Schreck

    I found this natural treatment formula for severe heartworm and also prevention on DaneBytes.com you might check it out.

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