Natural Heartworm Treatment
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." ---- Anonymous
We have provided many canine heartworm links to give you information about different health care modalities and among them are traditional veterinary information to assist in your research of heartworm disease in dogs. We do not advocate use of traditional canine heartworm treatment, but believe some of these sites are useful in obtaining knowledge about canine heartworm disease. We strongly believe everything was put on this planet that we need to cure or prevent disease. Our experiences, amongst those of MANY others, is showing without a doubt, that holistic health care is truly best. Please take your time and thoroughly research the heartworm information for your dog you have come here for. Longevity and superior health is what you will gain, as will your furry friends.
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living the the arteries of the lungs and in the right side of the heart of dogs, cats, and other species of mammals, including wolves, foxes, ferrets, sea lions, horses, and humans. Heartworms are classified as nematodes (roundworms) and are but one of the many species of roundworms. The specific roundworm causing heartworm in dogs and cats is known as Dirofilaria imminitis.
Dogs or other animals harboring adult worms are the recognized reservoir of infection. Adult worms produce the offspring that circulate in the blood and are then transmitted to mosquitoes once they bite the infected animal. These offspring (microfilariae) undergo development to an infective larval stage within 14 days in the mosquito, and can then be transmitted to another host (such as a cat) or back to another dog, when the infected mosquito bites again. The infective heartworm larvae travel through a tubular organ within the mosquito's head and are injected into the skin of a new host animal through the mosquito bite wound. In the dog, the larvae progress in their development to an adult form of the worm, and live in the heart and pulmonary vessels, where they continue the life cycle and cause extensive injury. In the cat, the larvae molt as well, but fewer worms survive to adulthood. While dogs suffer severe heart and lung damage from heartworm infection, cats typically exhibit minimal changes in the heart. The cat's primary response to the presence of heartworms occurs in the lungs.
Within the dog, the time frame between initial infection and growth to adult worms is approximately six to seven months, eventually arriving in the heart and pulmonary vessels where they begin to produce new offspring.
In cats, it takes seven to eight months before adult worms arrive in the heart and pulmonary vessels. In most cases the life cycle of the heartworm ends here since microfilaria are produced in less than 20% of cats.
Some worms may get up to 3 feet long. Heavy infestation of heartworms will cause swelling in the lungs, pulmonary arteries, kidney and heart, which will eventually cause the animal to die. Heartworm infestation can also cause anemia and liver damage.
Symptoms of heartworm may include loss of appetite, lethargy, exercise intolerance, weight loss, fever, dyspnea (difficult, labored breathing, shortness of breath), coughing, weakness, dull dry coat, and hemorrhage.
In the beginning stage of heartworm disease symptoms can be quite mild, if left untreated heartworm disease can potentially become fatal. In the early stage of heartworm disease it may go undetected until time for yearly testing, in some cases it may be overlooked then. During the first stage of heartworm disease, there may be no symptoms present, this is why heartworms are difficult to diagnose without testing.
Be mindful of your dog's typical behavior, so that potential symptoms like a reluctance to exercise or extended lethargy don't get overlooked. The most observable heartworm disease symptom is the cough that does not go away, and progressively becomes worse. As the disease progresses symptoms will escalate and become more noticeable.
Heartworm disease is divided up into four stages. The only noticeable symptom in the first two stage may be a mild cough. As the disease progresses this cough becomes more pronounced. Without treatment, the symptoms become increasingly severe, having a negative effect on the dog's heart and lungs. Below is a brief description of each stage of heartworm disease symptoms:
This stage of the disease often shows no symptoms at all, but you may notice a slight cough. Your dog will likely appear to be the healthy, happy pup he or she has always been. Even a physical exam will likely not show that your dog has heartworms. Many times in this early stage even a blood test will come back negative.
As the disease progresses into this stage you may notice what is considered moderate symptoms. Your dog may exhibit a lingering cough and/or may become fatigued after exercise. The symptoms may be more noticeable at this point and give cause for concern. Testing will likely show a positive result at this time.
At this stage the disease is having a marked impact on your dog's health, symptoms are becoming more severe and noticeable. Your dog's cough will likely be more prominate, he or she will tire more easily after exercise or may not want to excercise at all; they may also have difficulty breathing at this stage. They may also cough up blood. At this stage the damage from the disease will be evident on e-rays.
In stage 4 with the symptoms worsening, they will ve very visible. Testing may reveal abnormal lung sounds, and enlarged liver and heart noises. If left untreated at this stage, it can be fatal.
There are many things you can do to help prevent heartworm. Consider a few of the following natural remedies to help keep your furry canine companion healthy:
The potential side effects of Ivermectin (the active ingredient in Heartgard) include liver problems, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, lethargy, skin eruptions, seizures, tremors, paralysis, autoimmune disorders, thyroid problems, fever, weakness, dizziness, coughing, nose bleeds, difficulty breathing, pneumonia, irritability, sudden aggressive behavior, nerve damage, fertility problems, and sudden death. The drug poses a particular risk to Collies and related breeds. Other chemical heartworm preventatives have many of the same side effects. In his book "The Nature of Animal Healing", Dr. Martin Goldstein states that he believes that much of the cancer and liver disease we see in dogs today is the result of years of treatment with heartworm preventatives. 98% of the dogs in his NY practice (including of course his own dogs) aren't on any heartworm preventative.
If you must give a chemical heartworm preventative, keep in mind that both Interceptor and Heartgard are effective when given every 6 weeks instead of monthly. Unless you live in a state where mosquito season literally lasts all year (e.g. Florida), it is also very important for the health of your dog to spend at least a few months each year without the drug. Just because you see a mosquito in January does not mean that your dogs are at risk. In order for microfilariae to develop into infective L3s, it needs to be sufficiently warm (above 57 degrees for a period of time). Always give milk thistle, Life Cell Support or an herbal liver detox blend following the heartworm drug.
The ingredients in traditional canine heartworm treatments can cause great adverse effects to your dog, even death. It is our hope that you will research ALL information and in conjunction with the assistance of a good vet. Truly consider a natural heartworm remedy that works for both you and your dog, without the harmful side effects that traditional heartworm treatments cause. Here is some information with regards to treating canine heartworm holistically:
It has been found that heartworms and many other parasites depend on the Wolbachia Bacteria for survival. This bacteria enables the parasites to reproduce. It is now recommended in traditional, as well as alternative treatment to first combat the bacteria for better results in eliminating heartworms.
The information on this web site is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or veterinarian. This information is not intended as a substitute for the reader's independent judgment and personal responsibility. Health issues are far too important to delegate to anyone else. It is highly recommended you research and seek information and counsel from as wide a variety of sources as possible, so you can make well informed educated decisions about you, your child's, or your pet's health, as in the end YOU make the decisions.
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