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Old 02-18-2013, 08:15 PM
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Max, an 8 year old adoption with heartworm

Hi everybody

I'm new to this forum and would love some help or advice.

My husband and I adopted Max in December, who is estimated to be 8 years old. Long story short, Max has just been diagnosed with adult heartworm. We were stunned since his previous vet cleared him of heartworm and he was in good shape other than what we were told was kennel cough. When the cough persisted even after the third round of antibiotics, we decided to get a second opinion. The blood tests show that he's positive for adult heartworm and his X-rays show extensive pulmonary damage with signs of right-sided heart enlargement. The vet advised treatment with Immiticide (he hasn't started yet) and he's been taking pre-treatment meds for 6 days now (doxy and cortisone) which he has been tolerating well. The vet did advise us of the risks of Immiticide and told us that with his age, there's a 50/50 chance for Max.

My husband and I have absolutely no experience with heartworm (we're South Africans living in South Korea - there is no heartworm in South Africa so none of our previous pets have ever had such a thing before) and we would like to hear from anyone with experience about what Max's chances are of survival with the Immiticide especially given his age.

Thanks again
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:38 PM
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We took in a Golden, around the same age, who also tested positive for heartworms the day after we got him.
It was back in 1987 and the only treatment was arsenic. He was in the hospital for 10 days, I think.
Reuben was the only dog they had ever treated with arsenic that didn't have issues with eating (he didn't miss a meal or a snack).
Keeping him quiet for the two months was a pain. We built him a 6x6 pen in the backyard, so he could lay outside and enjoy the sun and mild Spring weather. I thought I was going to have a heart attack when he jumped over the fence.
Reuben lived to be 14, with no other health issues. Not bad, considering he was run over a a pup.

The thing is, you really don't have much choice. If you do nothing, the damage will continue.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:19 PM
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I volunteer for Golden Retriever rescue and we frequently treat dogs of all ages for heartworms. There are always chances of complications, but in my experience they are rare, the dogs recover well and go on to live a normal life. Removing the heartworms is a must unless the dog's health is otherwise compromised. 8 is definitely not too old to treat.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:03 PM
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I live in the deep South of the US where heartworm disease is endemic. The Immiticide with supporting meds is the treatment of choice even though it does carry some risks and has good outcomes. Follow your vet instructions to the letter about the rest period. In my opinion you have pretty good chances for Max to get a full recovery. I wish you the best of luck as you treat him.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:43 AM
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No experience but wanted to say sorry Max has it and I hope the treatment works for him (and you). Good luck!
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:52 AM
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I have no experience, but wanted to say thank you so much for rescuing Max!! Please stay in touch and let us know how he does. Would love to see pictures of Max when u can!! Just love the old gold! They are precious beyond measure!!
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:37 AM
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Hi again everybody.

Thank you so much for your feedback. It's good to know that his chances are good. I suppose we were looking for reassurance. Max is going to the vet for his first shot of Immiticide tomorrow so wish us luck! Here is a pic of Max

Thanks again, we really appreciate it and we will let you know how it goes.


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Old 02-19-2013, 09:47 AM
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Max is beautiful, thank you for rescuing.

I did a foster to adopt of my girl through a GR Rescue while she was being treated over a four month period for Stage 3 Heartworm. Although she was much younger at the time than Max is, she came through the treatment without any problems.


As Thalie said in the post earlier, follow your Vet's instructions to the letter.


Wishing you the best of luck with his treatment and recovery.

Hope you'll keep us updated on his progress.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:06 AM
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Good luck with Max, I will keep him in my thoughts you have come to the right place for advice, supportive chat or down right venting everyone here is great and so supportive. Keep us updated and Max is a lucky( not just good looking) dog.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:00 PM
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Keeping sweet Max in our thoughts and prayers!! He reminds me of my boy Max!
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