Treatment for heartworms is costly and might have major negative effects. Many dog lovers are hesitant to use this type of medication. Cost is a factor at other times. There are natural therapies you may use at home to help your dog recover from this fatal condition. They are less expensive than traditional treatment and usually require fewer veterinary visits, though they must be used with caution because heartworm can quickly turn fatal.
DISCLAIMER: Do not try any of these heartworm treatments without first consulting a veterinarian who specializes in holistic or alternative medicine. A holistic veterinarian can be found at ahvma.org.
Heartworms in Dogs
Heartworms are caused by mosquitoes infected with Dirofilaria immitis, a parasite that is commonly found around the United States. Heartworm disease can be transmitted from an infected dog to humans, so it’s important to keep your pet healthy and heartworm-free!
Heartworms are long, thin worms that live in your dog’s heart. They have three parts: the head, neck and body. The head of the worm is located in the right side of your dog’s heart, while its tail extends from there into your pet’s lungs.
The female adult heartworm can grow to be as long as ten inches—that’s only slightly longer than a tube of lipstick!
Heartworms have a unique reproductive system. They reproduce sexually and a female worm can produce up to 2,000 eggs per day. Heartworm larvae are able to live up to 18 months without a host, meaning they can survive in soil or water for over a year. Larvae may also be able to live inside insects that carry them from one host animal’s body to another.
How Long Do Heartworms in Dogs Live?
Heartworms, which are transmitted by mosquitoes, can live up to seven years in dogs and five years in cats. Dogs are more likely than cats to get heartworm disease because of their outdoor lifestyle and the fact that mosquitoes prefer biting them over cats.
Developing symptoms of heartworm disease takes about six months after you first introduce worms into your dog’s bloodstream through a mosquito bite. Heartworm disease affects your dog’s circulatory system and causes the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs to work harder than normal—and do so for an extended time because these parasites keep growing as they mature inside their hosts.
HWF: Natural Heartworm in Dogs Treatment
HWF is an herbal treatment that comprises a number of components that promote heart health. HWF is not licensed as a therapy or preventative for heartworms. The following components are included in the mix to help your dog cleanse and maintain good cardiovascular health:
- Black seed
- Hops flowers
- Apricot kernel extract
- Hawthorn berries
- Sheep sorrel
- Grapefruit seed extract
It is critical to limit your dog’s activities while utilizing this remedy. Long walks, jogging, or playing with other dogs are not permitted. If the heart rate of a heartworm-positive dog rises, the worms may detach and lodge anywhere in the dog’s body, resulting in a lethal blood clot.
HWF treatment can take anywhere from four to nine months to be successful. It takes a long time to recuperate after heartworm therapy. Working with a holistic veterinarian to establish the right dose for your dog is recommended by the producers of HWF. The dosage is determined by the weight of the dog, and instructions are included in the product packaging.
Wormwood and Black Walnut
These herbs are both effective dewormers. When used jointly, they appear to be more effective. They can, however, have major negative effects. Tannins in these herbs can cause nausea, diarrhea, and kidney or liver illness in dogs who are sensitive to them. The dosages vary widely based on the size and general health of your dog.
When utilizing these two herbs, like with other herbal formula, seek the advice of a holistic veterinarian.
Homeopathic Remedies by Holistic Veterinarians
Homeopathy may be used by a holistic veterinarian to help your dog’s immune system. Customized heartworm medicines are recommended based on your dog’s individual history, medical exam, and lifestyle.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every dog. Following a consultation, your veterinarian will recommend a treatment plan tailored to your dog’s needs. You’ll be asked to keep an eye on your dog for a few weeks and then consult with your veterinarian. The solution may be modified depending on how the dog is doing. Homeopathy is most successful when accompanied with a nutritious diet and vitamins like Vitamin C, E, and the antioxidant CoQ10.
Homeopathic treatments are generally considered to be quite safe and have little adverse effects. Your veterinarian will monitor your dog’s progress to ensure that he is getting better.
Do Not Try to Get Rid of Heartworm Without Veterinary Supervision
A veterinarian MUST be consulted if a dog has been diagnosed with heartworm. Many holistic veterinarians will work with dog owners to develop a treatment plan that includes nutrition, immunotherapy, homeopathy, herbs, and vitamins to treat heartworms.
When used incorrectly, even natural therapies can be deadly. It’s critical to work with a holistic veterinarian even if you’re looking into natural remedies. But, if it makes you feel better, your veterinarian may be able to track your dog’s progress by email and phone after the physical exam and consultation.
Save Your Dog’s Life
Discuss any concerns you have regarding therapies with your veterinarian. If you’re thinking about using a natural medicine to treat heartworms, talk to your veterinarian about the potential side effects and toxicity. Heartworm is a dangerous infection, and your dog’s life is worth saving whether through natural or pharmaceutical remedies.
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