Non-Herbal Heartworm Treatment
Please do your own research on your options for heartworm treatment for your pet. We cannot prescribe for you.
Currently the older form of arsenic treatment has been discontinued among vets for the more favorable use of Immiticide given as an intramuscular-administered drug.
This is still an arsenic-containing drug which offers this information online at drug or veterinary sites:
May see pain, swelling, and tenderness at the injection site or reluctance to move due to pain at injection site. Firm nodules can persist indefinitely. May also see coughing, gagging, depression, lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, lung congestion, and vomiting. Less commonly seen are excessive drooling, panting, diarrhea, coughing up blood, abnormal heart rhythms, and death.
• Not for use in dogs with Class 4 disease until the heartworms are removed surgically from the vena cava (large vein carrying blood back to the heart) as the risk of death is increased.
• Animals with other diseases should be treated only with intense monitoring.
• Death of the worms may cause coughing, fever, or weakness.
• The dog must be kept quiet (cage rest) for 4-6 weeks after treatment to help decrease the risk of pulmonary embolism.
* Repeat the antigen heartworm test 4 months after treatment.
* Treating the heartworm disease may kill the pet, but if not treated, the heartworm disease is likely to kill the pet.
* Use with caution in pregnant or nursing animals if unable to wait until a later date to treat.
Low margin of safety. Need to have an accurate weight before treating. May see damage to the lungs or kidneys. May see drooling, panting, restlessness, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, lethargy, staggering, and difficulty breathing which may progress to collapse, coma, and death. A possible antidote for an overdose is BAL in Oil Ampules (Dimercaprol Injection, USP). It is listed in reports as an antidote for arsenic toxicity. Contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center if you think your pet may have accidentally received or been given an overdose of the medication.
Ivermectin is another drug that is generally used three weeks after the heartworm treatment to eliminate the microfilarae. Ivermectin has specific actions on increased release of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA is a naturally-occurring inhibitory neurotransmitter. Mammals are *usually* unaffected because ivermectin does not cross into our central nervous system easily. But when it does, it can show neurotoxic signs because GABA is also important in brain tissue. Neurotoxicity in mammals can include listlessness, lethargy, uncoordination, disorientation, tremors, pupillary dilation, weakness, agitation, blindness, head-pressing, and death.
Do your homework for the benefit of your dog. We are not telling you not to use drug treatments, but to be informed so you can make an informed choice. You have to feel comfortable with whatever you choose and your pet will need you feeling sure of your choice.