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Long-term Effects Of Heartworm Infection


Guest cleo570
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Guest cleo570

DH and I are considering adopting a senior who just finished treatment for heartworm. According to his foster mom, he was "high positive" on the serum test, and is now HW negative after doing the full treatment course.

 

So, what are the long-term effects of a previous heartworm infestation? Does it shorten the dog's lifespan?

Do they have more heart/lung problems down the road?

 

I haven't been able to find any good information online about this...

 

Thanks in advance!

 

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Guest Tenderhearts

I'm not a vet, but do have personal experience with this.

 

My old newf mix tested very 'hot' on the heartworm test when she was 4. I had just switched to a new vet, and that was the first time I had heard of heartworms, and had all my dogs tested.

 

She was the only positive.

 

I knew the people who had the mother dog, and they also had her tested after Biscuit was tested, which she was positive.

 

So it was pretty evident that both mother and pup had contracted the heartworms the same summer they were together (Biscuit was 8 months old when I got her). The vet was also very concerned she would not survive the treatment. Because she did have such a heavy load, she was going to be hospitalized for 10 days during the treatmemts, but did so well she was released after 7, with the strict promise I would keep her activities very limited for 6 weeks.

 

She's never been a real energetic dog, so that wasn't difficult at all.

 

I was told there was a good chance she would not live as long as had she never had the heartworms. Her valves were pretty damaged and she had a substantial murmur after treatment.

 

She just turned 13 this month :D

Edited by Tenderhearts
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Our Heart came to us heart worm positive and went through the treatment also. Our vet told us she should live a healthy happy life. She does have an enlarged aorta but not bad. She will be 7 in February and shows no other effects from the worms or the treatment and has tested negative since the treatments.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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It depends on so many things... too many to list in a post.

 

Chances are good that she'll live a healthy, normal lifespan. Heck, I had an old mixed breed that carried an enormous HW burden until the day she died (she came that way, we tried 1/2 of one dose of the adulticide and she couldn't handle it). She had a HUGE murmur and wasn't any athletic champion, but she was also about 13 years old when she came to me. I eventually put her down due to cognitive issues at 15 or so.... she had been in some sort of "alternate reality" for a while, but she started getting fearful and I hated to see her scared of things that weren't there and I couldn't make go away. Long story short, it had nothing to do with the heartworms.

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As Lynn said... too many variables to consider. Some severe infections could really affect life expectancy... mild infections may have no effect whatsoever. You'd have to talk to the vet who treated the dog to really know.

 

 

Bill

Lady

Bella and Sky at the bridge

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." -Anabele France

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Jazz got heartworms as a stray. GPA got her and treated her -- she was 5 1/2. I don't know how bad the infestation was. Jazz never had any serious health problems until she was put on Deramaxx in October of this year (at 12 1/2). She's now in kidney failure. Anyway, we've been to a few different vets in her advanced years and no one can believe how good she looks for her age (even now, she's skinnier, but still looks pretty good).

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