Posted January 13, 2014 12:15 pm

Hard decision about heart worms

I've recently acquired a nice dog named Jax. He's a boxer, and he has heart worms. 

He's just a year old, and we're assuming the heart worms began this past summer, as he was outside all summer long without flea, tick, or heart worm prevention. 

I've been to a couple of vets and talked with the Humane Society of Faulkner County about treatment methods. 

I've consulted the Internet forums, but my mind still hasn't been made up quite yet. 

When you find your dog has heart worms, you have two treatment options - slow- or fast-kill protocol.

Slow-kill involves a combination of preventative medicines, which don't kill the worms but make them somewhat unhappy with their digs, and a dose of antibiotics that slowly kill the adult worms over time. 

This method keeps babies from being born and eventually kills adults in an environment where no more worms are possible, but any adult heart worms in my dog's heart can go about their business of destroying tissue. 

The dog's activity level has to be reduced 50 percent for many months or perhaps a year. This is because the worms die, break apart and could clog arteries, which could cause sudden death if his blood gets pumping too quickly.

Fast-kill involves heavy injections of Immiticide, an expensive, but FDA and American Heartworm Society approved and backed method that is rough on your dog, but apparently 99 percent effective. 

The dog's activity level has to be completely cut out for six to eight weeks. He'd have to be crated and only walked on a leash to go to the bathroom. No playing in the house, even. He's an active dog, and surely this would just about kill him.

I'm usually pretty good at making these kinds of decisions, but this one has too many positives and negatives on both sides. I love this guy, and I want to do what's best for him.  

I am hoping someone out there has experience and can give us some advice. Anyone?