Fostering a heart worm positive Mal - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Today, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Fostering a heart worm positive Mal

I am all good to go to foster for a GSD rescue and a Mal rescue. I already have a call to my vet and waiting to get more info on this female Mal but she is positive for HW and needs the treatment but I have never had a dog with this. I do know the treatment can be hard on the dog’s system. Anyone here had a dog under treatment for HW.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Today, 04:06 PM
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I think every adult foster I've had had been HW+ (Louisiana). They need to be put on 30 days of Doxcycline right away.

They can't do conventional HW treatment until they've been on prevention for 2-3 months. Try to advocate to get Advantage Multi not Heartguard! It's the only product that has been found to kill adult HWs -- so you'll be doing more than prevention once you start it. Most vets don't know about the literature on Advantage Multi so they may need to be educated.
In a couple of months, the rescue will probably want to put him through fast kill treatment with immiticide. That's the gold-standard treatment. It's a form of arsenic. It's painful and really awful.

However.... I've fostered some young-adult mals that simply couldn't be still for two months, and that is what this treatment requires. Literally two months of strict crate rest -- even potty trips have to be leashed in the backyard. They're not allowed any exercise or excitement, as getting the heart-rate up during immiticide treatment could cause them to throw a clot and kill them. They also get put on prednisone during this treatment phase, so all the issues that go with that happen too (peeing in the house, being grouchy).

FWIW, our rescue's vet does hundreds of HW treatments a month for various rescues. The only breed that scares her during immiticide treatment is ours. Most dogs sail through it easily, but when there have been life-threatening complications, in her experience, it has mostly been in GSDs. We have no explanation for that, but we've lost several dogs during treatment, despite doing everything right (crate rest, pred...the whole protocol perfectly done, and the dog still died). Maybe mals will be better at handling it.

For dogs that temperamentally just can't handle two months of crate rest, the other option is to use Advantage Multi for "medium-slow kill." It doesn't require crate rest --you can walk the dog, go on outings and such (but avoid running the dog hard). Whereas Heartguard used to take 2-3 years to do slow kill, the literature shows AM clearing adult worms in 9-18 months. Our rescue has done a lot of this, and most dogs are testing clear in 12 months. A few go out to 18 months. The research papers on it are linked in Gatorbytes thread about Lil -- you'll almost certainly have to show them to the rescue or vet if you want this option, as few vets know about it. I would not do slow kill with anything except Ad Multi--it seems to work differently because after 3 months it builds to a steady-state in the blood (unlike all the oral meds).

If the HW disease is advanced, you may not have the option of anything but fast kill. If that is the case, you'll need the vet to teach you the symptoms of Caval Syndrome (which is an emergency -- drop everything and rush to the vet).

Last edited by Magwart; Today at 04:11 PM.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Today, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the info. Still waiting to hear from rescue.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Today, 05:57 PM
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We fostered a HW+ Malinois last year. She came to us in August 2018, rescue went with the slow-kill method, so we gave her Heartgard every 2 weeks (and Doxycycline initially). She was adopted in Jan 2019 (still HW+ then). We received an update from her adopters over the weekend, they tested her again recently and it finally came back negative (they will test her again in a few months to make sure).

We had a HW+ GSD several years ago, rescue went with slow-kill method as well, I think he took about 9 months to test negative.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Today, 06:05 PM
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@GatorBytes went through this a couple of years back.PM her?


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