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Discussion Starter #1
Just when I thought I was getting this dog healthy, she has tested positive for heartworm at her 6 month checkup. The vet wants to hospitalize her for two days next week so he can monitor her treatment and then she needs to be kept quiet for a month. Thank goodness I took out pet insurance. Does anyone have any experiences with the side affects that I can expect to see and does she need to be on a special diet? Thanks in advance
 

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Only experience is my GSD as a kid who did well with treatment, so no advice but sending Lilly healing thoughts.
 

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I'm going through the exact same thing with Cash right now. Adopted him at the shelter, told he was HW free, then he's HW positive 8 months later. He had a stage 3 infestation so we're doing the 3-shot method, which kills them off more slowly than the 2 shot method. (If there are too many worms you don't want them all dying off at once and clogging the arteries.) Obviously you can't give them their HW-preventative until the vet says it's ok. Other than that, they don't need to be on a special diet or anything, just kept very quiet and walked on a leash to go potty.

We had Cash's first injection on Tuesday. The shot is injected into the muscles of the lower back. It would be pretty painful on its own so it's preceded by a local anesthetic. As the anesthetic wears off, I can tell Cash's hind end is sore-- he doesn't want to move around very much. He sleeps a lot and it's obvious he doesn't feel good. I was told to expect some hacking and coughing in the coming weeks as the dead worms start to get pushed into the pulmonary artery and put pressure on the lungs. If I see anything suspicious I'm supposed to call the vet immediately as it may be an embolism--worms blocking the arteries.

Keep me posted on how Lilly is doing and I'll keep in touch about how Cash is doing. We can compare notes.
 

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Because I was going to go to Denver for the summer and leaving on the 4th of July weekend, I have decided to wait till I get to Denver to start her treatment there with my old vet. I am nevous about driving 3 days in the car with her over a holiday weekend if there going to be any complications, and also I think the stress would be to much with moving to a new home while feeling so ill. There are short flights of stairs in the Denver house, and wonder if they will be too hard for her?
 

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Emoore. How did they determine stage 3 and what does that mean. Lilly tested negative on Dec 26th at the shelter and possitive yesterday.
 

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Stage 1 (mild) consists of young, healthy dogs with no symptoms and minimal changes evident on X-rays.

Moderate (stage 2) infection will show heartworm disease that is evident on X-rays, but symptoms are minimal, mostly coughing.

Stage 3 is a severe infection, with weight loss, coughing, difficulty breathing, more damage visible on X-rays, along with liver and/or kidney damage.

Stage 4 and 5 are considered critical, with the dog often collapsing in shock. These dogs will not survive ordinary heartworm treatment, and must have the worms surgically removed if they are to have any hope of survival
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sounds like Cash is very sick if he is stage 3. Did you notice symptoms. I haven`t seen any in Lilly. She pants a lot after her walks but this is Florida so I just put it down to being hot. She hasn`t coughed.
 

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Originally Posted By: Lilly`s MomSounds like Cash is very sick if he is stage 3. Did you notice symptoms. I haven`t seen any in Lilly. She pants a lot after her walks but this is Florida so I just put it down to being hot. She hasn`t coughed.
Weight loss and shortness of breath, yes. When I adopted him Oct 27th he weighed 75lb, now he's at 63. With his size and bone structure he could easily carry 85-90. I attributed that to his constant diarrhea. Come to find out he can't tolerate grains either. The diarrhea is gone now that I have him on a fish/sweet potato food. Hopefully between that and the heartworms getting gone he'll start to gain weight.

No coughing but he has some difficulty breathing and tires easily. I just chalked that up to TX heat until one day he collapsed at a playdate. Rushed him to the vet and guess what? Stage 3 heartworms.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The poor guy. Lilly has gained about 5 lbs since we got her but I have not been able to figure out why I couldn`t get more on her. She could stand to gain about 5 lbs to hide her ribs. The heartworn treatment sounds very nasty. I feel so bad for Lilly. I can`t get her off my mind today. I was so looking forward to taking her to Denver where she will have a fenced yard and lots of wonderful trails to walk. Now we find she has to stay rested for at least 6 weeks. Good thing we are in Denver till October. At least she will have September to enjoy the freedom of the fenced yard. I have no idea how to keep her quiet for so long. She has so much energy. My Denver vet has her scheduled for July 10th. I don`t know yet how he is going to proceed with treatment. Will depend I guess on further tests.
 

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It sounds like she may be stage 2 from Emoore's post. Hope the best for Lilly and use a crate and leash to keep her calm and quiet.

Denver can get warm in the summer and fall is beautiful so you will get to enjoy some of your stay. I used to live in Denver MANY years ago and I love it.

I have never had a dog with heartworms and hope I never do.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Emoore: How is Cash doing? Lilly goes to Denver on the 4th of July weekend and starts her treatment when we get there. I have to wait and see what treatment the vet there suggests. She is maintaining her weight ok still and no coughing. She just seems to pant heavily in the house somethimes when she hasn`t exerted herself at all.If the test hadn`t come back positive I never would have guessed this dog had heartworm. Her appetite is great and stools are good. I have her on Bug Off Garlic and I wonder if that weekens the heartworm at all. My vet here said to continue to give her the Revolution while she awaits her treatment.
 

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An update. We have arrived in Denver and been to the vet here. Treatment is being done on Tuesday and Wednesday. All is not great though. She has a blood clot on the heart which showed up on the ultrasound.Her kidneys are showing some stress as well. Vet still thinks she is a stage one as she is not showing any outward signs. He re tested her because he had his doubts about the accuracy of her first possitive. I am seriously worried about that clot in the lung. He is going to keep her on sedation after treatment because she is hyper and is concerned about how I will keep her calm. With her separtion anxiety she will be very stressed in her crate. I am dreading next week.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Lilly had her treatment a week ago. She has lost 4 pounds in weight even though she has been eating well. Vet thinks her kidneys may be damaged and I am awaiting the results of todays blood work and urine analysis. Anyone know what would cause this rapid weight loss besides the kidneys. She is eating well and drinking normaly. The kidneys showed some stress before the treatment. I am so worried about her.
 

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Just a final update on Lilly. It has been 5 weeks since treatment was started. She is doing well. Her kidney levels are great. She has put on 5 more pounds so she is 11 pounds heavier than when we got her 8 months ago. She still coughs a bit and gags but it is very minimal. Her coat is gleaming and her enery level is great. I can feel her ribs but not see them and her waist is good. I think I finally have a healthy dog. Yeah!!!
 

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Way to go Cash. Lilly has one more week of the rest period to go but the coughing gets less and less. I had Lilly on Revolution but I am going to put her on Heartguard Plus in the future when I get back to Florida. I am using up the remaining Revolution in the interm. Does cash have any shortness of breath or coughing as a result of treatment? I think his case was more advanced than Lilly.
 

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Not after the rest period was over. I did have to work his fitness back up, though. Starting out with shorter walks and working back up to fetch and longer runs.

Originally Posted By: Lilly`s MomWay to go Cash. Lilly has one more week of the rest period to go but the coughing gets less and less. I had Lilly on Revolution but I am going to put her on Heartguard Plus in the future when I get back to Florida. I am using up the remaining Revolution in the interm. Does cash have any shortness of breath or coughing as a result of treatment? I think his case was more advanced than Lilly.
 
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