Grimm is Heartworm Positive

StillandSilent

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#1
This is my worst nightmare. Even though he tested negative on 12/29, and has supposedly been on a preventative each month, he tested a light positive at the vet yesterday.
Because his positive was so light, the vet wants to wait a month and retest him, because she is concerned about a false positive. I had given him a preventative for this month, thinking it was the right thing to do, and the positive may have been caused by the microfalaria (sp?) being killed by the preventative given.
The good news is, he doesn't have any actual worms, just the babies, so even is he is positive, his poor heart will not be damaged.
Please send us vibes that he had a false positive and will not need to be put through the treatments.
I'm switching him over to raw immeadiatly to strengthen him up in case he does need to be treated, is there anything else I can do?
 

Barb04

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#2
I hope the retesting goes well. Sending good vibes.
 

bubbatd

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#3
When Amy got her 1st Lab , Yogi , he was negative , but the following spring was positive . Luckily the pills he took didn't hurt him and Frontline refunded the cost .
 

smkie

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#4
fingers crossed for a false positive.
 

lizzybeth727

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#6
What happens with the HW blood tests is that they only test for one "life stage" of heartworms. I can't remember all the specifics, but if the dog has the earliest stage of heartworms, the test won't detect it. That's why they don't HW test puppies until they're 6 months old, the test won't detect HWs if they have them. So it's likely that Grimm had the earliest stage of HW when you got him, before you started giving him preventatives, and they are just now progressing to the point where the test can detect them.

The good news is the HW preventatives only hurt the dog if there are actual worms in his heart, and if it's this early there won't be yet. Many vets don't even do the HW treatment in this early stage, as eventually the preventative will kill all the worms. The other good news is that it's too early for Grimm to have kidney damage, lung damage, or any other side effects of heartworms.

We've had several dogs at work go through this - tested negative in the beginning and then tested positive 6 months later - and they've all completed the treatment perfectly and without complications. Good luck!!
 

Whisper

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#7
Sending lots of false positive (((((vibes)))))! And (((((hugs)))))!
 

Brattina88

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#9
{{{{{+++++++vibes++++}}}}}}}}}}} and (((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))
With the rescues, I've seen several dogs heal nicely with nasty cases of HW. I can only imagine how you must feel :(

But here's to it being nothing but a false positive!!!! :)
 

Beanie

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#12
Fingers crossed it's either a false positive, or the preventative will be able to kill all the little baby wormies!
 

Sweet72947

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#13
Aw poor Grimm, heartworms are no fun at all! If it makes you feel any better, I've seen a lot of dogs go through heartworm treatment, and most of them do fine, and don't seem to have any ill effects during treatment (except for a little joint soreness from the meds). The only time I've seen dogs do poorly is when they are very sick with other illnesses, or old.

Fingers crossed for Grimm that its a false positive!
 
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#14
Lots of -=vibes=- sent yours and Grimm's way that it is a false positive!!!


I do want to "third" the two following comments though ...
With the rescues, I've seen several dogs heal nicely with nasty cases of HW.
I've seen a lot of dogs go through heartworm treatment, and most of them do fine, and don't seem to have any ill effects during treatment (except for a little joint soreness from the meds).
My family of origin had once adopted a rescue (GSD/Great Dane mix) who had been HW positive when the original shelter he ended up in found him as a stray. They said he had it very bad. But he went through the full HW treatment, came through fine and healed up fine!!
 

Saeleofu

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#16
I can't remember all the specifics, but if the dog has the earliest stage of heartworms, the test won't detect it. That's why they don't HW test puppies until they're 6 months old, the test won't detect HWs if they have them.
Yes, there is a point where if a dog has been off preventative, the heartworms can be too young to be picked up, but too old to be killed by preventative.

If your dog has microfilaria, then there are adult heartworms, too. Microfilaria are baby heartworms. The preventative kills adult heartworms, and any heartworms about a month old or less (this is why it needs to be given monthly...it's not so much a preventative, as it kills whatever your dog has been infected with in the last month or two).

There are a few tests, and they all detect different things. A filter test cheack for microfilaria. An antigen test tests for adult female heartworms. An antibody test will tell you that the dog has been exposed, but not necessarily infected. Most tests are antigen tests, so if that was positive there are adult heartworms (this is what the Idexx 3dx and 4dx snap tests are for).

Ivermectin (Heartgard) is safe for heartworm positive dogs, as is selamectin (Revolution). both can acutally be used to treat heartworm, too, though it takes much longer than using Immiticide.


I do hope it was a false positive, though :)
 

PlottMom

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#17
fingers crossed for a false positive, but regardless, it sounds like he's in good hands and should get through this relatively easily!!
 

Miakoda

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#18
Hearguard is a proven "slow kill" method of treating heartworms. It works great in young(er) healthy dogs that have the time it takes for the treatment to work. On average, it takes about 1-2 years of a heartworm + dog to test negative after remaining on/beginning Heartguard.

My Rottie tested a weak + after a 3-month goof-up resulted in her not getting her heartworm prevention for those 3 months (this was about 8 years ago). I kept her on Heartguard as the treatment and she tested negative in a year.

A friend of mine, who obtained an APBT after it was a year old and already heartworm +, also did Heartguard as the treatment method and the dog is now heartworm negative less than 2 years later and he was a moderate +.

So discuss with your vet about the slow kill versus fast kill (Immiticide) treatment methods and the pros and cons of both before rushing to judgement (and panicking).

I hope all turns out well. :)
 

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