Friday, February 28, 2014

The heartworm jouney begins...

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When we adopted Waffles from the shelter six months ago, we were told upfront that she was heartworm positive. The shelter workers said that she was a low positive and made it seem like it was no big deal, that we could just give her monthly preventative and it would clear up in a few months. Never having dealt with heartworm before, we believed them. We feel duped, because it is a big deal.

After six months on preventative, she's still heartworm positive and her lungs don't look good. The vet left it up to us, but made it clear that it could take quite awhile for the adult heartworms to die with only the preventative, and that they could do more damage over time. We decided to go ahead with the intensive treatment because we've already had to take her to the Pet ER twice because of respiratory distress. We almost lost her once and don't want to risk that happening again.

Our first appointment was February 1st to discuss the treatment with our vet. Waffles does not like the vet's office now, probably because she remembers getting a fluid shot from her last respiratory emergency. She starts trembling and crying as soon as we walk through the front door. I'm not sure how, but she somehow wound up on my lap as we were sitting in the waiting room. It's heartbreaking.

Started her on antibiotics as soon as we came home from the visit, then started her on a second pill Monday morning. Also did a Heartguard Plus treatment. The vet advised we wait until Monday morning in case she had a bad reaction. 

The plan was for one month on the pills to weaken the heartworms, then get her first shot. We decided to get her used to not being able to run in the yard by keeping her on a leash every time we took her outside. Also bought a larger crate for the living room, just in case she got too active and we had to confine her.

The month went better than expected, probably because we weren't sure what to expect. She threw up three times, always in the middle of the night. It was a thin, yellowish bile each time. The vet said that wasn't anything to panic about and just keep an eye on her. Easier said than done.

One month down, two to go....