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Affairs of the Heart: Protecting Your Pet From Heartworms

Important information on heartworms and how best to protect your dog from them.

Every week I hear about more and more dogs contracting heartworm. There are many reasons for this. Some people think that the heartworm meds are overpriced and can't afford it. Some people think it's not necessary if the dog is an inside dog. Some people just don't bother with them because they figure the chances of a dog contracting heartworms are small.

I'm here to tell you that lots of dogs get them and yes, it's a killer and yes, it's preventable.

My own dog, Levi had heartworms when he came out of the shelter he was rescued from, and then, despite me giving him heartworm medication, contracted them again. I have always given heartworm medication to him every six to eight weeks as I honestly don't like Heartguard and then, I, stupidly, like many others, bought a generic brand of heartworm meds which were supposed to be just as good as Heartguard. They weren't. He either got heartworms again, or they were never cured in the first place when he came out of the shelter. Either way, I had to treat them, and fast.

Levi had had the awful immiticide injection before to cure previous heartworms, and so no way was I going to put him through a month of incarceration after all that he had been through. I had to find an alternative treatment that would allow this dog to run and play and not suffer unduly throughout, as his quality of life had been compromised for so long in the shelter. A friend of mine had been working with Dr. Pat Zook at Gwinnett Animal Hospital in Snellville for her bassett with stage four heartworms, and she told me Dr. Zook had recommended a protocol made by Dr. Gerald Wessner, a holistic vet in Florida. I can't tell you enough how highly I recommend this veterinary clinic as they totally embrace holistic medicine and yet keep a firm grounding in traditional western medicine. The result is a conjoining of the two that gives the best of both worlds to the animals. Combine that with a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere and so much time extended to each consult, and you have an outstanding veterinary practice.

We were poor as church mice at the time and were struggling to pay the bills so we got the phone number of Dr. Wessner, told them the details of our case and sent off the 75 bucks for the protocol. We followed it to the letter for the next eight months with a gradually declining dose and backed it up with a great diet and heart supplements every day. Throughout the entire process, Levi ran and frolicked in the field, swam and splashed in puddles and never even realised he was undergoing treatment. He went from strength to strength, week by week and nine months later tested negative for heartworms. It was a pleasant experience for him; he was administered his meds every day with a huge dollop of whipped cream or cheeze whiz, and he would sit and drool waiting for it.

If your dog has been diagnosed with heartworms and you're wondering what to do, give the office of Dr. Gerald Wessner a call at 1-352-245-2025 and talk to them about your options. I found the treatment miraculous and kind and would recommend it to anyone. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Pat Thomas February 27, 2013 at 09:39 AM
As you point out, Penny, being inside is small defense by itself, since fleas are almost as happy to live in your carpets and clothing as they are on your pet. Treating for fleas & ticks (and heartworm) is just not optional in the South, I'm afraid.

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