Sometimes I’m embarrassed by my own profession. It happens all too often, actually. I received an email from a distraught dog owner last night who’d been beaten up verbally by Dr. WhiteCoat and staff. Why? Her dog was found to have a positive heartworm test.
M described Lily as “a beautiful, healthy, energetic 11 year old Doxie” who’d been raised naturally since coming into her life at six weeks old. (She’s also raised a very healthy 24 year old vaccine free, home birthed son, so I suspect she knows a thing or two about the Natural Path).
After a couple of messier heats than normal, M decided Lily should be spayed, and in pre-surgical blood work, they found a positive heartworm test. Now, you know if you’ve read my book on drug free heartworm prevention, a positive test means there are at least a few adult heartworms inside Lily. It does not mean Lily has heartworm disease.
What’s that, you ask? Heartworm disease means the dog is ill from its parasite hitchhiker, the heart is malfunctioning and a chronic cough is present.
“Lily has never exhibited any signs of heartworm infestation – no coughing, no exhaustion.”
Keep that important distinction in mind as you read on. M, returning to pick up Lily post surgery, is accosted in the waiting room by a woman brandishing an armload of pills and is told her treatment “option:” months of a toxic drug with cage rest while the worms are poisoned. Enter stage left the model of a heart with the spaghetti looking worms in it to seal the deal (which I also mention in my book: the ultimate fear inducer, guaranteed to make the faint at heart sign on the dotted line. My first employer used a real dog heart in a glass jar for this).
And the final jab: “This could have all been avoided if you’d just given Lily the heartworm preventative for these past eleven years.”
Heartworm: A Real Case, A Real Cure, No Drugs
It’s important to know that you have a choice, in both heartworm prevention and heartworm treatment. I’ll be seeing Lily next month to get her started on the road to cure. No poisons will be used.
Here’s a case from my files of an example of the homeopathic treatment alternative.
Mr. Piggy was so named because he made grunting sounds resembling another species. He was rescued a year prior as a skinny Pit Bull mix, and he’d been heartworm positive for that year. Victoria, his owner, had been trying her vet’s slow kill protocol with an antibiotic for six months, and it didn’t work. He was still showing worms on his test. A vet colleague and a client in her state had both recommended me, so we got Mr. Piggy started on treatment via telephone appointments.
How was he treated? Like all my homeopathic patients: as an individual. Mr. P. was, like most of my patients, a dog who was showing a few symptoms. Very few of his symptoms were related to heartworm per se, but were mostly common ones that any number of dogs might show:
- reverse sneezing (that gasping bout that takes a dog’s full attention for 10-15 seconds intermittently)
- a lackluster appetite, even when he came emaciated a year earlier
- a left rear limb lameness that was brief but visible mostly when he arose from lying down
- some rear end sensitivity, especially under the tail, and some slight anal gland issues
- an occasional mild cough (this symptom likely due to the presence of the heartworms)
As has been the case with most of the dogs who present with a heartworm positive test, he was not sick. Mr. Piggy was not dying of this much feared parasite. He did not have significant heartworm disease, though he’d had the parasite for over a year.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Six in my book, Vital Animals Don’t Get Heartworms that explains why this is common:
“No one ever dies suddenly with parasitic disease — parasites are, by nature, chronic, slow invaders, not acute ones like some viral invaders can be.”
Mr. Piggy got a single, high potency dose of a remedy called sulphur to get him started on the road to “waking up” to his disease.
Better in a Month
At his follow up, Mr P. was less sensitive under his tail, hadn’t reverse sneezed in a long time, was an eager eater, and snored less. Still lame on rising intermittently, though.
Assessment: this was a close remedy, eliciting some response towards cure. But, time to move on.
A re-evaluation of his symptoms lead me to a second prescription, calcarea carbonica, that gave next to no results. Still a low level, infrequent cough, still a bit lame at times. But a couple symptoms emerged: a bit of yellow eye discharge, an aversion to getting his feet wet, and some drooling, which was new for him.
Back to the drawing board. A third remedy fit Mr. Piggy’s symptoms better, it appeared. He was given graphites in a high potency, single dose.
A Month Later, Bingo: Negative Heartworm Test
This remedy hit the mark. Mr. Piggy was now using his once lame leg normally, his drooling went away, his grunting and snoring was less, the yellow eye goo vanished, and he was less sensitive about his keester. He reverse sneezed a couple of times in the blissful excitement of meeting another dog, but he was active, exuberant and playful.
Now, I’d not normally send a dog like Mr. Piggy in for a heartworm test this early, as it usually takes about six months of constitutional treatment like this for them to rid the parasite. But Victoria was taking him in to his referring vet for an exam, some titer testing, and, while they had his blood, a heartworm test was performed.
And the envelope please. Mr. Piggy is… negative for heartworm!
All he’d had for treatment was homeopathic medicine that fit his symptoms, some top notch immune support, and a glandular supplement to support his heart. His owner diligently carried on with his balanced raw feeding, got him out for regular runs, and stayed off the Perilous Path.
More Embarrassing Findings
I’m still embarrassed by my profession, and I’m not alone. I learned last week that 60% of conventional vets are still recommending annual vaccinations, this after over 20 years of evidence that this doesn’t even work. And, it makes animals sick. Here’s a quote from my friend Rodney Habib recently that I think is tweet worthy:
“In the age of information, ignorance is a choice”
It just means you’ve got to be your animal’s top advocate, a central theme that this site is built around. It’s your learning and understanding that will serve you best to keep your animal healthy and vital.
Spring is coming. Have you made your mind up about how you’ll prevent heartworm this year?