This sweet boy is our friend Carter Sue C. He is a lucky fellow that found his perfect match after spending way too much time at Metro! We first met him in March of 2015 when he came in for some vaccines and infected anal glands. He had been in his new home a couple of months and he and his Dog Mom were settled in and completely in love with each other!
Dr. Megan ran a routine heartworm test on Carter since we didn’t know his history of care prior to his adoption. We were all very alarmed when it came back positive. Further testing confirmed the diagnosis.
Sometime in Carter’s past life he had been exposed to a mosquito carrying the heartworm parasite. Carter had not been on heartworm prevention, and the heartworm had completed it’s life cycle. Adult worms develop 6 months after infection and often become lodged in heart and lungs.
Killing this parasite is a very long, involved, painful, and expensive process. If treatment is not implemented, the dog will experience heart failure due to it’s inability to function normally while full of worms. Dr. Megan mapped out and implemented a treatment plan for Carter.
Carter was given a combination of medications including; Heartgard Plus, Prednisone, and Doxycycline.
- Heartgard Plus: killed the immature forms of the parasite, so no new adults would develop and prevent spread to other dogs.
- Prednisone (steroid): helped prevent inflammation/allergic reactions related to the dying off of the parasites
- Doxycycline (antibiotic): treats a bacteria-like organism that is frequently associated with this parasite. The bacteria causes further complications during treatment for our heartworm positive patients.
The last step was killing the adult worms. Carter received a series of three Immiticide injections in June. This is a medication that kills the mature heartworms. It is extremely painful during and after administration, so Carter was given medications to treat the pain. Carter had to be strictly confined with no leash walks, running, or jumping through the end of July! Not a fun spring and summer for anyone involved!
Carter has had a series of recheck exams and tests over the last few months. He was finally given a heartworm free status earlier this month by Dr. Megan (hence the party hat!)! We are all so excited!
You can bet Carter will be on Heartgard Plus year-round to prevent another heartworm infection while under his Mom’s care! You can also bet they have lots of hiking and fishing adventures planned for this summer!
These articles contain further information on the heartworm parasite lifecycle and treatment of the condition. Please call if you have further questions or concerns.
American Heartworm Society - Heartworm Basics
Heartworm Treatment - VeterinaryPartner.com - a VIN company!