I just adopted Parker, a 4-ish year old black lab from a rescue group. He came from Houston, TX, and is heartworm positive. Unfortunately, that is all we know--I don't know the degree yet because he was tested by a vet in Texas who pulled him from the euth list and shipped him here to Colorado where heartworms are pretty rare, and all that his records state is "coughing, heartworm +." I did call the office in Texas, but only learned that they recommended slow kill for all of their rescues because it is more affordable and the rescues cannot afford to pay for fast kill.
The "coughing, heartworm +" gives me hope that he is in the early stages (otherwise I would expect a more extensive list of symptoms.) I am getting my vet's office to schedule an EKT of his heart to see how severe they are. The rescue currently has Parker on the slow kill method, but people I know have said to me that fast kill is the only way to go since the worms damage the heart more during slow kill because it takes up to 2 years to kill off the worms.
Has anyone out there gone through this? Can you give me advice on what to look for in his condition? Right now I am taking advantage of the slow kill method and making sure I get him thoroughly crate trained (he is pretty good) for his treatment period. Also, I understand that my other dog (also a rescue) needs to be on monthly heartworm medicine during Parker's entire treatment--does this sound correct? and does that mean I need to inform my neighbors that I have a heartworm + dog since many people do not use preventative around here?
How long before your dog(s) was/were heartworm - ?
Also, just an aside, I support the rescue of animals, and I knew going in that if I rescued a dog out of the Houston area that there was probably better than a 50% chance of it being heartworm +, however I have serious mixed feelings about pulling so many animals out of HW states and bringing them (infected) to states where the disease is rare. I was told yesterday that we are starting to show signs in Colorado of a particularly hard to fight strain of kennel cough due to dogs being brought in weekly from a different state. Any thoughts on this?
I don't have a great photo of him yet (he likes to come to the camera.) But I will post one I have.