This parasite is a source of great anxiety
among dog caretakers. (I don't believe that
one "owns" a dog.) Thanks in large
part to the scare tactics of many veterinarians
in promoting preventive drugs, many people
believe that contracting heartworms is the
equivalent of a death sentence for their
dogs. This is not true.
for seven years in the Santa Cruz, California
area, and treated many dogs with heartworms.
The only dogs that developed symptoms of
heart failure were those that were being
vaccinated yearly, eating commercial dog
food, and getting suppressive drug treatment
for other symptoms, such as skin problems.
My treatment, at that time, consisted of
switching to a natural (that is, homemade)
diet, stopping drug treatment whenever possible,
and eliminating any chemical exposure, such
as flea and tick poisons. I would usually
prescribe hawthorn tincture as well. None
of these dogs ever developed any symptoms
of heart failure.
from this that it was not the heartworms
that caused disease, but the other factors
that damaged the dogs' health to the point
that they could no longer compensate for
an otherwise tolerable parasite load. It
is not really that different from the common
intestinal roundworms, in that most dogs
do not show any symptoms. Only a dog whose
health is compromised is unable to tolerate
a few worms. Furthermore, a truly healthy
dog would not be susceptible to either type
of worm in the first place.
to me that the real problem is that allopathic
attitudes have instilled in many of us a
fear of disease, fear of pathogens and parasites,
fear of rabies, as if these are evil and
malicious entities just waiting to lay waste
to a naive and unprotected public.
is not caused by viruses or by bacteria
or by heartworm-bearing mosquitoes. Disease
comes from within, and one aspect of disease
can be the susceptibility to various pathogens.
So the best thing to do is to address those
susceptibilities on the deepest possible
level, so that the pathogens will no longer
be a threat. Most importantly, don't buy
into the fear.
been said, there are practical considerations
of risk versus benefit in considering heartworm
prevention. The risk of a dog contracting
heartworms is directly related to geographic
location. In heavily infested areas the
risk is higher, and the prospect of using
a preventive drug more justifiable. Whatever
you choose to do, a yearly blood test for
heartworm microfilaria is important.
basically three choices with regard to heartworm
prevention: drugs, nosodes, or nothing.
currently a variety of heartworm preventive
drugs, most of which are given monthly.
I don't like any of them due to their toxicity,
the frequency of side effects, and their
tendency to antidote homeopathic remedies.
Incidentally, the once-a-month preventives
should be given only every 6 weeks.
option is the heartworm nosode. It has the
advantage of at least not being a toxic
drug. It has been in use it for over 10
years now, and I am reasonably confident
that it is effective. It is certainly very
safe. The biggest problem with the nosode
is integrating it with homeopathic treatment.
But at least it's less of a problem than
with the drugs.
option, and in my opinion the best, is to
do nothing. That is to say, do nothing to
specifically prevent heartworm, but rather
to minimize the chances of infestation by
helping your dog to be healthier, and thereby
less susceptible. This means avoiding those
things that are detrimental to health, feeding
a high quality homemade diet, regular exercise,
a healthy emotional environment, and, most
of all, constitutional homeopathic treatment.
Of course, this will not guarantee that
your dog will not get heartworms, but, under
these conditions, even the worst-case scenario
isn't so terrible. If your dog were to get
heartworms, s/he shouldn't develop any symptoms
as a result.
it's worth, I never gave my dog any type
of heartworm preventive, even when we lived
in the Santa Cruz area where heartworms
were very prevalent. I tested him yearly,
and he never had a problem.