Walk With Me: Curing Lily's Heartworm Without Drugs | Episode 1

I had the pleasure of meeting Lily this week, a healthy, full of life and charming Dachshund who also has heartworm. Worms. In her heart. Gulp. I blogged about her briefly a couple of weeks ago, but I thought you might like to come along for the ride, while I cure her of her parasite burden.
Heartworms. Those long spaghetti like worms. The ones that live in her heart.
We won't be subjecting Lily to harsh arsenic-based drugs to do this. Nor strict cage rest for two months. Why do vets impose this on the dogs going through conventional treatment? It's because they are poisoning the heartworms, and they die off rather suddenly and can get propelled into the lungs and/or blood vessels in big chunks. Not a pretty picture. Of course, arsenic is not a very pretty element, either. Long history of being used as a poison, often nefariously.
No, Lily won't be poisoned in the least, nor will her worms. And Margo says Lily would about die from being caged for two months. She was advised to not even approach the cage with loving words, as it could get Lily too excited!
Sheesh, what a punishment to get rid of a parasite.

A parasite called heartworm that's not even causing any disease.

Wait. These worms are living in her heart, right?
And there's more than one?
Yes. Plural.
And you're saying she doesn't have any disease, Dr. Falconer?
That's right. I met Lily almost a month after her dread diagnosis from Animal Trustees of Austin on March 7, 2014. Was she carried into my clinic in decrepit condition, coughing her lungs out, looking morose?
No way! Lily came plunging in almost pulling Margo along on her leash! She couldn't wait to inspect every corner and every crevice in my painted concrete floor, and seemed to take great relish in smelling the glandular supplements that were on the shelves in my clinic. Her coat was shiny and soft, her eyes were bright, she happily greeted me, and there was an unmistakable bounce in her step that a sick dog never has.
Does that sound like disease to you?

Heartworm, Yes. Heartworm Disease, No.

Of course not. I speak more about this in my drug free heartworm prevention ebook. Lily is merely a dog with a positive test. She has at least three worms living inside her heart to turn that test positive. And that's a very different thing than heartworm disease, which typically presents a chronic cough and a lack of stamina. She has no symptoms indicating heartworm disease.
How is that possible? It's because Lily is a Vital Animal. And she's about to get more so, with my homeopathic help.
As I pointed out in my earlier blog post, Lily is eleven now, and has led a very healthy life. She's been with Margo since six weeks of age, had never been vaccinated, had her uterus intact until March 7, and had been fed healthy food. She'd basically never been sick in her eleven years, with the exception of a contact dermatitis while she stayed with Margo's son a couple of years back. She broke out in an itchy, itchy rash, likely due to a newly installed carpet and a polyester sweater given to her to withstand the cold. Probably some stress around being out of her normal territory and away from Mom, too. And staying with Big Dogs, who she is always wary of, being the pint sized Doxie she is.

Never Vaccinated. Never Spayed. Till A Month Ago. Then Lily's Troubles Began.

Lily's history revealed she'd been a happy camper, owned by a mom who had gotten wise to vaccinations years ago, and who raised a strapping healthy son without any. Kind of like the kids I raised. And she was intact, having heat cycles twice a year, though never becoming pregnant. Margo was careful around those times, a responsible pet owner. When her last couple of cycles seemed unusually heavy and long, Margo made the decision to have her spayed a month ago. And Lily, for the first time in her life, came into contact with conventional veterinary medicine.
That's when things started to go downhill.
She entered a system that doesn't condone independent thinking. Or award points for glowing health. Or allow for much flexibility. She must get a rabies shot, they said. She'd need blood tests to determine that she was well enough to withstand anesthesia, they said. There were more demands, more tests, more shots they wanted to do, but Margo refused.
She allowed the rabies shot only.
As you've learned if you've poked around this site at all, vaccinations are likely the most significant cause of illness in the animals we see in veterinary practice on a daily basis.  To catch up, if this is news to you, start at this page. Whether or not you vaccinate those animals in your care is the most significant decision you will make. And I'm not saying that lightly. It's risky. To see blog posts where vaccination enters in, you can drop the word "vaccination" in the little search box you find near the bottom of every page. Go for it. We'll be here waiting for you when you return. No, really. It's that important.

Back Home Sick, With a Five Day Recovery

Normally, spayed animals recover pretty much to normal activity within a day. Many is the dog or cat who, other than having an incision scar, really exerts and plays and leaps and just acts normal after this procedure. This is the historical backdrop against which we now have pain killers routinely going home with spayed animals. Even though they typically do not show pain, they are sent home with pharmaceuticals to dampen pain. I've always found that odd, as does any vet who's been in practice as long as I have.
Lily came home with an unexpectedly large incision and took a full five days to recover, all the while on Tramadol, an opioid pain killer. Here's the sick version of Lily, during recovery:

Doxie Lily looking glumly at computer. She's sick after vaccination, I'd bet.

How do I write "glum," Mom?

Why the long recovery? I am most suspicious about Lily getting vaccinated for rabies, while under anesthesia. Vaccination is a big enough insult to the immune system, but imagine being completely unconscious from inhaled drugs when you get one.
I learned in taking her history that perhaps Lily had some disturbance in her estrus cycle all along. Margo felt the "too long" heats of late lasted two weeks or longer (normal is three weeks…). And the ones that got her in for a spay had way more blood. And the person checking Lily out from the clinic asked if she were pregnant. Unexpectedly large uterus? Probably, they made a longer incision than expected. The clinic had no notes on it. I called inquiring. No mention of pyometra, another possible cause of a large uterus in an older intact dog.

Who's My Patient Named Lily?

Margo reported Lily as being not much of a drinker. And she would absolutely refuse to set foot outside if it was raining, and even when it wasn't, avoided wet feet at all costs. She does like the outdoor fresh air, lying by the open door or heading out to her patio. And, not unexpectedly, loved to burrow and lie in the sun, common for her breed.
Everything else was pretty normal: people were drawn to pet her (she is charming!), she's gotten gray as she's aged, slowed down a bit this year, but still had plenty of spunk, enjoying a good romp and multiple daily walks. Her teeth are a bit dirty, but will likely improve now that Margo is going to start offering some raw bones to her.
So, how to prescribe a remedy on so few symptoms? My take was that we'd start with what she presented with:

  1. Recent reproductive tract abnormality
  2. Aversion to getting wet
  3. Thirst that was quite low
  4. Recent vaccination and a prolonged spay recovery

That lines up quite well with a remedy I could not practice without, a vaccinosis remedy called thuja. Lily received one dose of thuja 10M, and our plan is to watch for a month.
What do I expect? Maybe a more normal thirst. Maybe some more pep as she loses some chronic disease. And maybe some more clues, especially in the form of symptoms popping up in the first week after her dose. We give a remedy to provoke a healing response. It only happens when the similarity (homeo-) of remedy is high with her disease (-pathy). Of course the humbling of homeopathy can visit when we are certain of a remedy and the animal fails to respond at all.
So, Margo is keeping a diary on anything that changes. Anything. In as much detail as she can see clearly. We'll talk in a month and see what Lily thought of my prescription. And you'll be able to read about that soon after I hear it, so stay tuned.
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  1. Rachel Mendell on April 29, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    I cant seem to find the next part of this store i have 1< 3< 4< and 5 but not 2 ? help please

    • Rachel Mendell on April 29, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      Story** sorry

      • Will Falconer, DVM on April 29, 2018 at 7:16 pm

        https://vitalanimal.com/curing-lilys-heartworm-2/ That’ll get you there, Rachel. Sorry for your trouble.

        • Siobhan on December 4, 2018 at 9:03 am

          Hello Will,

          I live in the UK where we don’t have heartworm. I have just adopted a dog from Portugal and after he arrived I was told he had tested positive for heartworm.

          My homeopathic vet here in the UK has no experience of heartworm so told me to try and find a natural vet in the US who would be willing to do a phone consultation to help.

          I know that you aren’t taking any new patients but are you able to direct me towards someone who could help?


          • Will Falconer, DVM on December 5, 2018 at 1:55 am

            Hi Siobhan,

            In your (free) Vital Animal Pack membership comes the Apoquel Alternatives Report, and I tell you how to pick and choose there. Good luck, and please know that a vet doesn’t need to know “how to treat HW” with homeopathy — I merely treat the patient, get him healthy, and the worm leaves. No home in a healthy beast. So, if a homeopathic vet has experience with constitutionally treating patients, he/she can “treat HW” successfully. Takes about 6 months, IME. Maybe a remedy a month, single dose, fairly high potency (depending on the vital force of the patient, as always).

  2. mike on January 15, 2018 at 11:57 am

    thank you r. falconer for voicing your positive comments to dr. cal change is always difficult and swallowing ones pride is even more difficult.

  3. Cal on June 14, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I agree with some of your points, but I also don’t like some of the wording.
    1) Tramadol is technically an opioid in the US, but it is nothing close to what most people think of. In Canada, it isn’t even classified as one.
    2) Running a blood panel to test for issues before anesthesia has zero risk to the animal, and if someone refuses to have it done and then their pet had a complication or reaction to it, they have nobody to blame but themselves. It is 100% their fault.
    3) Rabies vaccines have such a low rate of serious reaction that it is almost laughable. If you are worried about over-vaccinating, get titers checked. I’m appalled that any veterinarian can feel good telling people not to get their animal protected against a fatal disease, especially one that can infect humans as well. If one of these unvaccinated dogs happened to bite another person (regardless of reason), do you think the owners will ‘ve happy they skipped a safe, simple vaccine that will now possibly result in their pet being euthanized?
    4) Imitocide is used because it works. Yes, it is not something that is good for a dog. No vet enjoys giving it. I’m sure if you published scientific evidence of a better treatment that was as or more effective the protocol would change. As with most alternative medicine, I haven’t seen any yet. If some exists, please link it, I would love to read it.
    5) My dogs eat (gasp) dry kibble, get vacinattions followed by titer checks, are on flea and heartworm preventive, and could run circles around 90% of pets. Also of note, none of them have ever had parvo, rabies, distemper, heartworms, fleas, flu, or any of the supposed diseases and ailments that so many claim vaccines cause. I have also personally vaccinated hundreds of puppies, adults, and senior dogs and have yet to see a serious reaction. Same goes for spay and neuter.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 14, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      So much to unpack here, Cal. Let me dig in.
      1. Long time since I posted this, but interestingly, a reader informed me in the past week that Tramadol is garnering more concern of late. A quick Google search also reveals athletes have problems with it, and some want it banned from sports. My main point was its common overuse in spayed and neutered animals. No drug is w/o side effects, and why use pain killers when, for many years before we thought they were so necessary, animals rarely (if ever) showed pain after neutering?
      2. Blood tests pre-surgery? No harm, just an added expense that is likely unnecessary in most cases, barring seniors or suspicious symptoms indicating liver or kidney impairment. Maybe in Lily they would have made sense, but in the clarity of hindsight, I don’t see that anything was missed by not doing labs.
      3. Rabies. Yeah, we’re seeing this quite differently, Cal. If you count “reaction” as sickness within hours of the shot, yeah, you’re likely to think the world is a rosy place, and rabies vaccines are as safe as purified water. I can’t tell you how often we’ll see illness after vaccination, rabies, DHLP, any vaccinations, if we look out a month or two. Some of it is much sooner, but it seems only those who don’t sell vaccinations care to look at the longer picture. We’ve been aware of this since the 90’s at least, and when you look for it, you notice it, unmistakably.
      At “best,” it’s a curse of life long allergic skin or ear disease or both (none of which you can cure, by the way). At the worst, it’s autoimmune blood disease or partial to progressive paralysis or seizures.
      I’m not necessarily telling everyone to never vaccinate for rabies. But, with duration of immunity being for several years, why repeatedly vaccinate every year or three? If indeed you recommend titers instead, bravo, but I’m just going to assume you push the “law” and say, “We’ve gotta do this one. No choice here.” That’s all too common, and animals suffer needlessly from too frequent vaccination when prior immunity is already there. That same immunity likely interferes with further immunity from the oncoming vaccine, so it’s also a waste of your client’s money.
      Oh, and the euthanasia scare tactic? My readers have likely read the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control. I know most of my students have. You may want to brush up on it. It’s free for Pack members on your Member Home. Euthanasia is clearly not the only choice owners have, whether their dog is vaccinated or not or merely “out of date.”
      4. Immiticide “works.” Sure, so did its predecessor, the other arsenic-based drug. If people get success with alternatives to that toxicity, they’re not going to wait on “published studies” to leave your practice and seek something safer. I won’t be publishing a homeopathic protocol because I treat each dog as an individual, the way all homeopaths do in all species. When we get them well, they no longer tolerate a worm burden and they slowly rid themselves of these parasites. No sudden die off, no cage rest, and no drug side effects. I’ve also heard of success with herbal protocols, though I’ve no first hand experience with them.
      5. As to your own dogs, depending on how many you have and how frequently you vaccinate them, sooner or later I’d predict you’ll run into allergies, at a minimum. Do you vaccinate them every year or three? If so, why? There’s absolutely no science behind repeating vaccinations in adult animals who are already vaccinated. Hopefully you know this. Vaccine labels have zero science behind their recommended repetition.
      And those hundreds of vaccinates you speak of? Start an exercise in your practice, if you dare. Do a thorough history taking when someone brings you an itchy dog or one with otitis. Look back to when the prior vaccines were given. Do that for a year. Let me know what you find.
      While you’re at it, check all your hypothyroid dogs, hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and mast cell tumor cases, and the CCL ruptures and see who was neutered vs intact. A lot of good solid data that shows increased incidence of all these in the neutered. Again, if you care to look for it, it’s there.
      So, you’re faced with a choice, as are your clients, Cal. You can blow all this off and carry on the way you always have or you can open your mind and explore it. The latter is far riskier for your feeling good about your profession and your style of practice, of course, but in the end, you’ll be doing a greater service for your animal charges and your patients if you take the blinders off.
      When I started practice back in 1980, I was much like you are now. We did what everyone before us did, and “kept up” with the latest vet medicine procedures and drugs. It took leaving that paradigm and striking out on my own to see things differently. And that leap has changed everything, both for my peace of mind and for the health of my patients, many of which no longer need my medical help. They remain healthy by avoiding practices like yours.
      Their owners have learned valuable rearing practices that save them from countless expense and the common scourges of chronic disease that seem to only be increasing, year over year, among those who refuse to see a more natural path is possible and wise.

    • Joyce on June 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Cal,
      I’ve been following Dr. Falconer’s natural heartworm protocol for 8 years now. I also know personally 18 dogs that are also following this exactly protocol) we all live in endemic Norh Texas area, all heartworm negative.
      I had used Iverhart Max for 2 years before I knew any better.
      My heart dog was also given off label Ivermectin for a case of suspected sarcoptic mange.
      This boy succumbed to cancer at the young age of 8 years old.
      I firmly believe that between his puppy vaccines, in addition to the use of these chemical poisons, is what contributed to his cancer.
      It was a painful lessons learned and I know better now, thanks to having learned there is a much better way with Dr. Falconer’s protocol,
      which works beautifully.
      The Natural Path, is the only path for me and my animals.
      Grateful for all of the invaluable information given freely on this blog, and to Dr. Falconer for his commitment to the natural way.

  4. Kyle Rouse on May 20, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    I’d like some feed back on a treatment for my dog. I just found out today. He is a 100 pound Shepard mix 5 years old. Never had any kind of treatment till I just felt urged to go get him tested. I want to kill this work and prevent it from coming back. Please let me know how to do this!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 23, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Hey Kyle,
      As a homeopathic vet, I treat each dog who is diagnosed with anything, HW or otherwise, as an individual. My goal is to choose remedies that help that very unique dog cure his chronic disease, and in so doing, the susceptibility to worms is cured and the worms are taken out by the immune system. It also acts as a preventative, same line of reasoning.
      As that’s different for every dog, it’s not something I can share, as you might imagine.
      Now, I’m told people have successfully beat this infestation with an herbal approach. That appears to be a “one size fits all,” though I’m not convinced that makes the dog any healthier and more resistant. In fact, I highly doubt that’s the case. If you’re interested, explore what Amber Tech has to offer.
      All the best.

  5. brti on May 6, 2014 at 8:10 am

    sorry I mean to say Heartguard every 40 days and also do appreciate some of the tips given here

  6. brti on May 6, 2014 at 7:57 am

    I took in a dog a last year that had received no HW preventative and got HW. Because of the severity of it he received the Immiticide treatment and no, did not have to stay in a cage for 2 months, just had to be gently walked and not allowed to run around. He made it thru treatment fine and I had him on Milk Thistle and other herbs afterwards for a couple of months and now he is a healthy boy but yes, he is on Heartguard every 30 days. While I prefer to do everything naturally and my dogs are fed a raw diet and no toxic flea/tick preventatives I have been around long enough to know that some things are necessary in this world we live in which includes rabies. Btw disappointing to see links led to having to purchase a book.

    • Erica on May 6, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      You purchase the book to support Dr Falconer. Why WOULDNT you buy it? I did. So happy I did. It had a GREAT heartworm product at the end (that is all natural 😉

  7. L on April 13, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Here is the thing about giving your dog the 1 rabies shot. Let’s say that you have a healthy young dog and that you would like him to get 1 rabies shot to have lifetime immunity.
    Maybe it’s different from state to state, but where I am the veterinarian (homeopathic or traditional) is obligated by law to notify the town clerk/dog officer every time they give a rabies shot. They provide your name and address. So, if you are flying under the radar already and maybe have other pets, things can get complicated. They will notify you to license the dog immediately and/or fine you if you don’t cooperate. In one year they will notify you again that the shot is due. It goes on and on…. I hope they change the laws soon.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      It definitely varies, municipality to municipality, and state to state, but the city or town you live in is likely to be the one that comes to bear. Most places I’ve heard of lack the manpower to do what yours does. Unless they don’t actually come to your door, in which case you may have more choices than you imagine.
      A real shame when manpower is wasted on enforcing a law without any scientific basis that costs animals their health to boot.

  8. Lorri Redmon on April 7, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    I wish I had found you a few days earlier. My 12yo Rescue Doxie Louise just had her first treatment for HW today. If I had known a non arsenic treatment was available, I’d have been all over it! She came to us from a puppy mill infected. I will now be following you!

  9. L on April 7, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Also I test for heartworm once a year.
    I really have learned a lot from this website, I hope I didn’t sound critical. I just don’t like taking risks.
    Since I have gone to a homemade diet and got rid of the kibble, my dog with allergies is much better. Thank you, Dr Falconer

  10. L on April 7, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    It is confusing, isn’t it? I believe most of of what the homeopathic vets say. Especially about diet (Although I still cook the food a little) and vaccinations. However, it is difficult to get around that rabies vaccine due to the laws, etc. Once you give the dog one rabies shot you are on the radar screen.
    I lost a dog to Lyme disease/kidney damage, so I know what ticks can do. I use Advantix every month in the spring through fall.
    Heartgard every 6 weeks (not 4) except when the ground is frozen. I’m afraid not too.

  11. Rick Rankin on April 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Will
    I know that I am New to a whole lot of this… I have only been making the changes again this way for about the last 3 months…But I have been going to as many websites on nutrition, raw diets, suppliments and the whole holistic approach to Vet. Medicine and driving my vet. crazy with a thousand questions and she really is a good vet and has put up with me somewhat…
    But she simply says if she was holistic vet she more than likely would not be able to stay in business and her whole view on the vaccination and heartworm part, she says she understands where I am coming from, but she still begs to differ with my thoughts on the whole thing, because she said for every case she has treated or seen for adverse reactions to vaccinations, she has seen the results of disease effect, 100 times higher…
    She is young and said that she will honor my requests and still do the routine yearly checkups and titer testing on my dogs, but she adamately advises against me not doing or using the heartworm preventative measures at least using Heartguard because it is much milder but still efective…. Because she personally feels like the risk is too high with the likehood of the HW disease happening vs. a dog having a reaction or long term effect on their organs from taking the HW preventative such as cancer being a lesser risk.
    So here I am…. An avid all about the health of my dogs type person and I have 3 Dogs and one cat. 2 Westies and a new lab pup about 21 weeks old. Who is getting the benefit of all I have read on your site, Dr. Becker’s, The Dog Food Advisor site and Susan Thixton’s site as well…
    Plus I am surrounded by people who do the whole Holistic approah in their own lives as well as myself and so Jess is my guinea pig with the “New way”…
    Jess gets a semi raw diet with Orijen LB puppy kibble and Annamaet Satcha kibble while I am at work and he goes to work with me everyday. I suppliment his food with several things such as coconut oil, curcumin, probiotics, Kefir, super food veggies that I grow in my peticide free garden. I add a topper of canned healthy dog food, along with krill oil etc. and sometimes a few sardines in water are thrown in for a different flavor….
    So now my major struggle is flea and tick and HW protection and I have read it all, but what I have ran into is everyone that is promoting the holistic approach it seems with the exception of your site is either selling their own high dollar brand of their own brew of stuff that you spray on every couple of days or they using items that when I read about them, seem to me to be as unhealthy as most. Especially when you read the labels or even oin their sites they are warning you to not get it into your eyes or it says you can’t breath its dust or be careful about using too much of these essential oils or it can irriatate your dog’s skin and so your only resort is use their brazilian obtained perfect mixture of stuff and so you can only use what I sell….It make me feel like the regular vets do promoting their own stuff…
    I do know Heartworm issues are real in my area and I lost 3 prized and very beloved, highly trained labs to Heartworms and the first one was treated by the vet and not with arsenic treatment but some new kind and she died within a few days of the treatment although she was being secluded in her crate and allowed very little movement except to pee and poop and yet she died in first few days of the treatment and the other two I tried the treament once again with the same result and the last one I tried to treat naturally because of losing the other two and yet I found him dead down the road a month or so later and with all of them with the exception of one, they both got to the point of coughing up blood before they passed on… No don’t get me wrong that was years ago and maybe the holistic medical vets were not as informed about what worked and what didn’t but it consisted of different kinds of bark and herbs and I thought he was going to make it and yet I found him dead as well although he did appear to be getting better. I found him with blood coming out of his mouth and dead in his kennel as well…. So I do not want to ever go through that again…
    Several years later, I had a Jack Russell that I rescued and he was HW positive fairly highly and so I told my vet of the others and told him treatment was not an options so he reccomend a slow approach and to simply treat him with Heartguard and he came up negative after 8 mos. and I left him on Heartguard from then on.
    So anyway I am looking for answers right now and I know that heartworm infestation does kill dogs in our area and I never want to ever see another dog die like that again. It was horrible and so much so that I in fact told my wife that I would never have another outside dog again due to that very thing and I would never try to to naturally prevent Heartworms again… I mean I was using DE all over my yard, essential oil spray mixtures on my dogs as flea, tick and mosquito repellent and trying every new fangled idea or thing to keep pesticides out of my yard and garden and off my animals and here I am now… My Westies are on Heartguard and Comfortis Flea tablets and yes they have had all of their shots and yet even though I have the bad with trying to do it all naturally and even though I don’t like this medicating my dogs….
    I still find myself once again because of all of the reading that I do about the dogs health and my health….i find myself worried about GMO products, pet food ingredients, especially snacks and I have at least got all of my dogs eating right now and almost fully raw, but yet out of fear of what I have seen in the past, all of them have had their shots even though I was very reluctant for that to happen especially with the new pup.
    And so now I am back to my reading and investigating late into the night and wondering what I need to do and my objective is raw diets as much as possible. Vaccinations only if I have to….But after losing my dogs to heartworm destruction, I sure can’t go through that again and I fully understand the toxicity of spot on flea treatment and internal pills and treatments for the same.
    So I want to find a factual based, not a Russian Roulette based HW treatment for a their preventative. Not something haphazard like….Me never let them outside during mosquito season and then wondering if you do just to let pee or poo that if you do and they do just happen to somewhat come up positive on a HW test then you can treat them naturally….
    Well I will be flat honest with you about this….I do not want to go for his yearly checkup up with my fingers crossed just hoping every year that he doesn’t have heatworms because I lost some of the most beloved dogs I ever have had, to those worms and I never want to ever have to play the risk games with any dog I ever have again in my life nor do I want to apply cancer causing topical flea treatment either….So I am looking for a valid answer and not just some jelly salesman’s replacement to make them money instead of the med people that vets use….
    Do I think vets peddle drugs for the suppliers? Yes because every time I go to a vet it seems like when I am going to Sonic and ordering a hamburger and then they want to also ask me to sell me tots and cheese sticks and as I tell them…If I wanted those things, then I would have ordered them when i placed my order and that is the way that I feel at vets as well….
    So I am all about going the natural homeopathic way but I want to do it the right way and not the Russian Roulette way… I want thge tried and true no risk way. I do not want to gamble with their lives only to lose them to HW again anyway…. so please help me on this because I truly want to do what’s best…
    Thank you Rick

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      That’s a whole lot of writing, Rick, and I can only say that I see a flaw in your thinking. There are two things done towards heartworm: prevention, conventionally with risky drugs, and treatment of dogs who HAVE heartworm, with even more risky drugs.
      Make no mistake. If you had HW positive dogs and they were treated, they were likely given significantly toxic, most often arsenic based drugs, Immiticide being the latest version.
      Life has no guarantees. It’s biology, not auto mechanics. We all try to study, learn what works for others, investigate and decide where our comfort level will allow us to go, in our own health and those of our animals.
      I wish you all the best in your pursuits of natural health. Take it a step at a time and don’t expect your conventional vet to see things like I do.

      • Rick Rankin on April 14, 2014 at 1:09 pm

        I only wish my vet did…. And my second wish would be to live closer so I could take my dogs there.
        Thanks Rick

  12. kathie vogel on April 7, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I am very interested in Lilys progress! What will you use to address her heart worms?
    Good luck Lily & Margo!

    • Esther on April 7, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      Kathie: I believe Dr. Falconer is going to treat her symptoms as a whole, not necessarily address the heartworms. As she gets more vital she will be able to get rid of them

  13. karen dalonzo on April 6, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing all that you do! I wish I had known all of the dangers my dogs would be confronted with long ago. My chihuahua puppy, now 5 years old, had a horrible reaction to 6 vaccinations (all at once). Today after having only mandatory vaccinations since he has horrible anxiety and has pretty much always. He hides and sometimes is withdrawn. Thankfully 90% of the time he is a happy and well adjusted little dog. The unfortunate thing is that our main stream veterinarians either don’t know or just don’t believe the long term damage caused by giving so many shots at once, as well as just over vaccinating. I wish I lived a reasonable distance to a great Holistic vet. It breaks my heart that I have done this to my sweet little dog!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 8, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Karen, and welcome to the Natural Path.
      I’d urge you to visit my Resources page and hunt for a homeopathic vet who does phone consulting. Distance is no matter if you know your dog well and can describe symptoms. Many of us offer this kind of service, as there are just not enough of us to go around!
      All the best going forward with your Chi.

  14. Toni Pierce on April 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    I only wish I had known about all of this many years ago! I had 2 male chihuahuas that I loved dearly. I lost them 2 years ago and still grieve for them. They were only 8 years old. They began having identical symptoms and they were NOT even from the same parents. We had gotten one of them from a rescue organization.
    I don’t want to go into too much detail as it upsets me so much, but they were both having paralysis problems and eventually we made the very painful decision to have them put to sleep as we couldn’t stand to see them suffer. Looking back on it now, I truly believe they would still be with me if we hadn’t let the Vets talk us into all of those annual vaccinations (some were for things I had never heard of), the heartworm meds, topically applied flea meds, etc. They were such tiny dogs anyway and I think we poisoned them with it all and then it attacked their muscles, etc. Breaks my heart to think it could have been prevented if I had known better.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 8, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      Dear Toni,
      Please forgive yourself. You did the best you could do knowing what you knew at the time. We all come to learn new things at various times in our lives, and what you learned from these brave dogs will serve all the future dogs whose lives you’ll have a say in.
      All the best to you. Glad you’re here on the path with us, Toni.

  15. Salli James on April 6, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks Doc! I am so happy for Margo and Lily, and as she has her miracle, the rest of us learn.
    So happy!
    Salli and the Havanese
    Raw Fed/Vaccine free

  16. Kathryn Palmer on April 6, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Dr. Falconer,
    As with the rabies vaccine I too am very worried. My two dogs ages 3 and 4 are coming due in Jan for their required 3 yr. The problem is 1 yr after they got the rabies vaccine they caught and killed a raccoon which turned out to be rabid. Animal control and the health dept got involved and required me to revaccinate them again. So my 4 year old has had 3 rabies vaccines. I am so upset about this. Other than that, they are both pretty vital animal. Raw feed, only puppy serious shots. No chemical flea or tick and I have decided not to treat monthly for heartworms. My question is, is there anything else I can do. Should I use Thuja or something else on a regular basis to hopefully prevent anymore damage that these vaccines may have caused. If there was anyway around their next scheduled vaccine I would love to know. I don’t think my vet would considered them not healthly and not give me a waiver. Thank you, Katie

  17. Barb McKee on April 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Will,You are a breath of fresh air:)) I thank you for your insight & your email contact.Never ending OK’s from me to you:)
    Please keep on doing what you are doing.
    Hugs/Barb/Behaven Shelties
    Raw Fed/vaccine Free X 30 Years

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Well thanks, Barb. If you don’t mind, I may call on you for an interview some day. If you’ve truly managed to keep animals vaccine free for all these years, you must know how to “run the tunnels,” and others could learn from you!
      Thanks for sharing the path with me.

      • Destiny White on May 5, 2014 at 3:11 am

        I too would love to know how she kept them vaccine free for that long!

  18. marilyn on April 6, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I learn so much in reading your blogs, some of which confirms the way I have come to believe about feeding raw and avoiding drugs.
    It will be interesting to see how Lily responds to your treatment. I hope she tests negative for heartworms. Having both a rabies shot and an operation at the same time seems like a lot to subject an animal to!
    I learned about thuja with a previous dog whom I did vaccinate. My present dog is due a 3-yr. rabies shot (he’s 8 1/2 and in good health) and I am hesitant. He has been vaccinated for rabies three times previously and, as you say, is probably immune for life.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 6, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Hi Marilyn,
      I think it more than highly likely this dog is immune for life. And while getting a rabies vaccine while under anesthesia is more than any animal should be subjected to, I’ve seen illness come with just one rabies vaccine without anesthesia. Too many times, in fact.
      I applaud your hesitancy. It’s a good voice speaking up within you.
      All the best.

    • ken scott on June 21, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      all you need is black walnut oil to kill heart worms,——-look it up

      • Karen Pearce on July 23, 2020 at 8:25 pm

        What is the dosage for an 80 lb dog?

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