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Heartworm is present essentially in all areas of the United States. There are no reliable natural heartworm preventative supplements. In addition, there appears to be some areas of resistance to drugs commonly used as heartworm preventatives as well. Treatments can be toxic, but severe heartworm infestation will cause death. Natural methods can be useful when supporting an animal during treatment or to support an animal whose owners decline treatment.





Year-round prevention is recommended by most veterinarians including The Companion Animal Parasite Council who are experts in parasitology and veterinary medicine.  No one knows when and where mosquitoes will be present, so the canine should get an annual heartworm check.  Most heartworm medications will also treat intestinal parasites that can also be transmitted throughout the year. 


However, once the dog has been infected with heartworms, the best treatment for your canine will depend on several factors including any other ongoing medical issues. 


The only drug available to kill heartworms is an arsenic compound given in a 2-dose or 3-dose protocol intravenously in the dog’s back, alternating sides between treatments.  Some dogs experience pain, swelling and soreness with movement or in rare instances, an abscess at the injection site. 


The 2-dose protocol is done 24 hours apart while the 3-dose treatment involves an initial injection followed by 2 more injections one month later, again 24 hours apart.  Many veterinarians prefer the 3-dose method because it is safer for the dog and more efficient in killing all parasites and the heartworms. 


Once the heartworms are dead, they can still cause some respiratory problems, especially if it is difficult to keep the dog quiet and inactive.  These respiratory problems can last for a few days to a few weeks.  Some canines experience coughing, spitting up blood, rapid or labored breathing, fatigue and fever.  Oxygen and anti-inflammatory drugs usually work well to alleviate these problems within 24 hours after treatment. However, the key is to keep the dog confined in a calm environment during the entire process as much as possible. Some dogs may need to be hospitalized.  Once effectively treated, the dog should be placed on heartworm preventative and tested after six months to make sure all the heartworms were killed.  If they do test positive for heartworm again, another round of treatment may be necessary. 



PREVENTION: There are several medications that are both safe and effective in preventing heartworm infection. Treatment should begin at 6-8 weeks of age. In dogs older than 6 months, it is necessary to do an antigen test to make sure they are not already infected before starting a preventative program; they should then be retested 6 months later to ensure the dog is not infected with heartworms.


When administering monthly heartworm medication, the most important factor is to do it the same time each month for continuous protection.  If a dosage is forgotten, it can have serious consequences for the unprotected dog. 


Integrative Medicine


Once a dog has been infected with heartworm, there are no Integrative Medicines solutions to manage or eradicate the infection. Once the infection is eradicated, integrative medicine can help with problems from any permanent heart damage.


There are herbal repellents that can help prevent dogs from being bit by the mosquitoes that may be carrying the heartworm infection. Heartworm infections are best dealt with preventatively – avoid mosquito ridden areas and give the dog monthly heartworm medication year-round.


Heartworm Infections/Disease
(Reference: Veterinarians’ Desk Reference)

(Live Link)


Species affected: Canines.

Background: A parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes. Heart failure can develop when mature worms (5-9" in length) obstruct the heart.

Symptoms: A characteristic deep, moist cough, lethargy and weakness.

Diagnostics: Cardiac workup, radiology, echocardiography and EKG, blood tests.

Special Notes: Prevention includes decreasing contact with mosquitoes, herbal repellents and chemical filaricides.

Principles for Supplementation: Support myocardial function, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action to help heal the myocardium and support the liver while more toxic compounds are used to eliminate the parasite.



(Please note: These products do NOT treat the infection,
only the heart damage from the infection)







Dogs: 1 capsule/25 lb sid

Improves myocardial function.


1 capsule per 20 lb bid or 1 scoop per 20 lb bid

Supports a calm nervous system.


Dogs: 1 capsule/25 lbs sid or bid (during therapy if needed)

Supports the liver, helps detoxification pathways.


Small dogs: 1 capsule/10 lb bid

Supports the liver; help detoxification; contains anti-inflammatory CurcuVET.


Dogs: ¼-1 tablet bid

Combination of antioxidants and herbs support liver function; contribute to the formation and use of superoxide dismutase.

Small Animal Antioxidant12

Dogs: 2 capsules/25 lb sid

Antioxidants to reduce damage to heart.

Super EPAVET12

Dogs: 2 gelcaps/25 lb sid

Anti-inflammatory; may help heal endothelial damaged by heartworms; may contribute anticoagulatory function to help prevent heartworm embolism after treatment.


To help you quickly find the right Integrative Medicine formulas and manufacturers to help treat your dogs, cats and horses, please refer to the Veterinarians’ Desk Reference
(Click Here)



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