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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok please don't flame me, I'm doing a bang up job of hating myself right now...

I forgot to give Billie her heartworm meds for two months. Put em in the drawer and flat out forgot em. NO excuses. I'm an idiot. Vet just called me back after I took her in for her checkup and she's got heartworm.

Like I said, I'm an idiot.

I need to know what I'm in for. Since they'd already done her vaccinations before they ran the test we're going to wait a few days before I take her back in to start the treatment. That gives me until Thursday to do anything I need to do to prepare.

Any info anyone has would be appreciated. I don't want her to have any more suffering than she has to while she's being treated. I'm sure the vet will give me the full run down but I'd like to hear from anyone on here who has also dealt with heartworm positive dogs.

TIA
 

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How bad does she have it? Usually, if you've only forgotten for 2 months, it should not be bad enough to where they can't treat her with heartguard. If she's actually had them longer and has to have traditional treatment, she's going to have to be kept quiet for several weeks...mostly only leash walks and crate rest. I would find out exactly "how bad"....again, if you've only forgotten for 2 months, they should be able to treat with Heartguard and not do the invasive treatment. We did this with several rescue dogs.
 

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You're not an idiot. Heartworm medication is important, but I think we all forget to do stuff for our dogs once in a while. Please don't beat yourself up.
 

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When I first got Prudence she had heartworm. This was years ago, so I don't know if the treatments are different now, but she was given an injection and I had to keep her rested for several weeks (no running on the beach or playing around with other dogs, etc), and then she was given another injection. She did really well, I remember she was a little swollen at first, but her behavior was pretty normal, maybe a little tired.
Good thoughts for Billie.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmm...is it possible that my vet is being overcautious then? She talked about shots now and then again in a month. My vet does tend to do the over abundance of caution route and I like that about her.

Labmom2Sun said:
You're not an idiot. Heartworm medication is important, but I think we all forget to do stuff for our dogs once in a while. Please don't beat yourself up.
Thanks. I'm just scared. She's talking about shots and no activity, which must mean it's pretty bad and I'm feeling like I really screwed up here. She told me that a lot of people around here have the problem where they think that winter means no mosquitos and it's cool to not give heartworm meds...so they get a lot of positive tests exactly like this. I know better, I just spaced.
 

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Yeah, don't beat yourself up over it...it happened and nothing you can do now but get her treated and support her through it.
I would do the same thing as you are...blame myself and feel all kinds of guilty about it so I know it's easier said than done.
I hope she is going to be ok and recovers fully.
 

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I'm so sorry she's positive. I don't have any advice; I just wanted to say not to beat yourself up about it (I know, easier said than done). I have forgotten it, too, even though it's marked right on my calendar.

Can you get more clarity from the vet about how serious it is? How quickly does it develop?
 

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Maybe someone with experience can chime in, but if the dog was clear from HW when you started the round of monthly HW preventative, and you only missed 2 months, and the preventative is normally good for 45 days (we do it 30 because it's easier to remember), how COULD it be that bad??

So if she was bitten on the first day the meds weren't working, at the most, she's had the disease 45 days, how far could it have really progressed?

I know you said you LIKE that your vet is over-cautious. I actually hate vets that are. My vet had us spend over $700 in tests for one of ours for things I really felt the dog didn't have only to end up confirming MY original diagnosis. Just make sure that they aren't going to give your the FULL ON treatment when it's not necessary. Don't know how you'll know, but I imagine you understand what I mean.
 

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Something doesn't sound right. I doubt that it would be that serious if missed for 2 months. Do you give year around? Otherwise, it's possible to have gotten it late in the season last year I would suppose.

Even if she is mild, they will two a three step process and you will need to fully crate them for 30 days...with only leash walks to go potty. The toxins are HARSH on dogs. They will give two injections 24 hours a part and then 3 weeks later will follow up with a dose of HW preventative to kill off the microfilia. It's necessary to rid it before it gets bad.

I would recommend though, getting an idea of how positive she is and insist on another test where you get the results while you wait at the vet.
 

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Oh my Gosh! I have forgotten once or twice. Don't beat yourself up, although I know I would too. You have to be just sick with worry. I have no advice, just good thoughts for you guys.
 

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Don't beat yourself up....everyone forgets things once in awhile. But my question is, some people do not give the heartworm medication in the winter months (depending where they live) so I just wondered how missing two months would cause it to happen. Unless you live in a warm climate.
I may be a bit cautious & I really do not know the cost of the test ..........but is it possible to do another test? Especially before giving the treatment.

Sending good thoughts.
 

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I've got quite a bit of experience with HW living in the south and having rescue dogs most of whom have been positive and had treatment. Others can chime in too I'm sure.

First, if I were you, I would find a conservative vet and try to get a second opinion about whether the shots are necessary. If you only missed HW preventative for two months, she shouldn't be that infested with heartworms. Don't get me wrong - a lot of dogs that are positive need the shots to get rid of them. However, the more conservative course of treatment is with Heartguard. Sometimes Heartguard can clear it up itself if it is not a severe case. This is a case by case basis and I'm not a vet so I would go with what the vet tells you on this. Do not give other types of heartworm preventative regardless - I think only Heartguard is okay for a dog that is heartworm positive.

Why would this be my first choice if it is an available option that the vet recommends? One reason - HW treatment is very expensive. In my area for a non-rescue dog, you're probably looking at $600 to $800 depending on the dog's weight. Even for a rescue dog, it's $250 at a minimum in my area. The shots are also more risky. They've come a long way in the last several years with HW treatment so that it's not nearly as dangerous as it used to be. But it still carries some risk of serious illness or death. If the shots are what is recommended by the vet, then the less risky option is to do the two shots a month or so apart. A lot of our rescue dogs get both shots within a day of each other, but that treatment is harder on the dog and carries more risk.

In terms of what to expect with the shots, basically total crate rest during the HW treatment and for a month after the last shot. This means outside on a leash and no playing or running around at all. The dog can die if you don't follow those rules. Some of my rescue dogs have been really sick for the first several days to a week after the shot - flu like symptoms, panting, in pain, etc. Others you wouldn't have known the dog was treated at all. It's really a dog by dog thing. Usually the vet will want to keep them for the first night after the treatment to make sure they don't have an adverse reaction.

I will say that of all of my rescue dogs that have had HW treatment (dozens), all of them are now fine and none of them have died from the treatment. It's very important to follow the vet's rules, but try not to worry too much.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Dani, typically I have given it year round. I haven't yet had Billie a year and I got her from Colorado. She tested negative when I got her last May and we started her on Heartguard when I brought her here. I had her on it and I intended to keep her on it. Then apparently my brain shut off.

It occurs to me that while I have it in my head that I only missed a couple of months that I cannot be absolutely positive. That's how many doses are in the drawer but I am in the process of moving and some could've been thrown out already and I don't remember for sure. That's no excuse, and I'm typically better about keeping things on a calendar. I sure as hell will be now.

Thank you all for all your information and good thoughts. The vet was very clear about what is and is not ok for her to be doing, so I'm trying to get prepared for the "all crate all the time" mentality. My guess is I'll keep her on the leash with me in the house and she'll be crated when I'm gone and when it's time to sleep...is that a plan that sounds acceptable?
 

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BudGirl8 said:
Dani, typically I have given it year round. I haven't yet had Billie a year and I got her from Colorado. She tested negative when I got her last May and we started her on Heartguard when I brought her here. I had her on it and I intended to keep her on it. Then apparently my brain shut off.

It occurs to me that while I have it in my head that I only missed a couple of months that I cannot be absolutely positive. That's how many doses are in the drawer but I am in the process of moving and some could've been thrown out already and I don't remember for sure. That's no excuse, and I'm typically better about keeping things on a calendar. I sure as hell will be now.

Thank you all for all your information and good thoughts. The vet was very clear about what is and is not ok for her to be doing, so I'm trying to get prepared for the "all crate all the time" mentality. My guess is I'll keep her on the leash with me in the house and she'll be crated when I'm gone and when it's time to sleep...is that a plan that sounds acceptable?
No advice, just ((hugs)).
 

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I would keep her crated or at least confined for at least the first week or two almost all the time. Make sure to have plenty of stuffed kongs on hand. After that, you can try to do the leash but I would limit it to an hour or so at a time. We've had foster dogs that we leashed to the coffee table in the evening while we were watching TV so that they could be near us. If you feel bad about it, put her crate in the main living room with you and in the bedroom at night. The last few weeks of treatment are actually the most dangerous time so don't test it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The bedroom in our new house is up stairs. Is she ok to walk up the stairs on the leash? Livingroom and kitchen down stairs, bedrooms up stairs.
 

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Before you go into the invasive treatment; ask if it's light positive or a heavy infestation. If it's light positive, you can treat it with heartguard...some vets won't tell you that because they want the big bucks. You can also call around to see what vets your local rescue uses and see what they would charge for the treatment. It ranges all over the place around here.
Dani, what is that micro larvae, etc.....it's been awhile, so I've fogotten the stages. But I would certainly let them know that you know there are "other" treatments if it's only a light positive.
 

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Sounds like maybe she had a false negative when they first tested her.

Sandy, the microfilia are the babies that are there but can't grow into adult until they have been ingested by a misquito and that process works it's magic.
 

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Dakota was HW positive befoe I got him fron the rescue he seems no worse for the wear. I have no advise other than what has been said. I know its hard but please do not beat yourself up over it. When Brodie got lymes I felt like the worst dog mom ever, so I understand. I was in Korea for 14 mos and the peron watching him never gave the flea and ticks stuff. I never thought to remind them either.
 
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