Case Report: Heartworm Cured Without Drugs (or Guilt)

Mr. Piggy the heartworm dog looking at the camera

“You’ll give me the safe, homeopathic heartworm treatment, right Mom?” “Yes, Mr. Piggy.”

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. Never mind that it was from a street dog in Mexico…).

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 leg 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.

And because his homeopathic prescribing was tailored to him (not his parasite), he was allowed complete freedom and normal activity.


My goal, like any good homeopathic vet trained in curing patients, was NOT to poison anything. It was simply to “wake him up” and allow his own immune system to take care of the worms, safely and surely, as Nature designed it to do.

The problem with the poisoning approach: the worms die off suddenly and their remains can plug up blood vessels. Hence, cage rest for a long time.

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’ve learned that 60% of conventional vets are still recommending annual vaccinations, this after over 30 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.

How about you? Are you ready to prevent heartworm safely this year?

Or, do you want to find a qualified homeopathic vet to cure your HW positive dog? I’ve got you covered on my Recommended Resources page. Be sure to hit the link to watch my walk through video and you’ll be on your way to a natural cure!

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Leave a Comment


  1. Sophia on April 13, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    Hello… my dog just got a HW positive test and I am so worried. She has all those symptoms you listed above (lameness in her legs—all at different times, reverse sneezing from time to time, etc)… I feel like a terrible dog mom 😭 I would rather treat her naturally if possible. How would I go about finding a vet that would work with us?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 13, 2021 at 9:29 pm

      A qualified homeopathic vet is your best bet. I explain how to sort them on my Recommended Resources page. There’s a video walk through by the AVH list.

      All the best,

  2. Steven C on March 22, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    I’ve been reading these articles and they are very similar to what I’m going through with my rescue. His cough has seemed to get worse but he doesn’t have a bunch of bad symptoms. I want to try the sulphur and graphite’s treatment but I don’t know dosage or what exactly to get. He is a 83 lb Catahoula leopard dog mix.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 22, 2021 at 10:02 pm

      Hey Steven,
      It’s important to note that I was treating the individual dog, not the heartworm. That’s the work of a homeopathic vet, who takes YOUR dog’s entire history and symptoms and then starts prescribing for YOUR dog, only changing remedies based on what your dog does with what he’s been given. In other words, this isn’t DIY. It’s the work of professionals trained to cure chronic disease (which is what allows parasites to live in the body). When that’s cleared, so, too, will be the HW.

      I have a video on choosing a good homeopathic vet on this page, near the AVH list. Notably, you needn’t have one in your locale to make this work.

  3. Sarah M on September 25, 2020 at 10:07 am

    I have been searching for answers to the sudden death of my beloved dog from what I can only guess was heartworm related. I live very remote and was used to home treatments for everything. I had been giving him black walnut hull extract every day for a couple weeks when I was concerned about the presence of heartworm microfilia..with only positive or neutral results. I stopped for a good while, 5 monthsish, and recently noticed him having a progressively more frequemt cough. He would also seem more uncomfortable at night, sometimes panting a lot or pacing the house. And on two occassions he had weird short lived (5 min max) incidents of having apparent trouble standing up and even seemed to lose control of his hind legs one of the times. Amd on two other occasions, randomly and seemingly unprovoked, experienced mild seizures.

    When the cough started and began to occur more frequently ( a few like 5 times a day) I thought either heart condition or heartworms. So I decided to start the black walnut extract again and ease him into adding other natural aides. I gave him roughly 240mg of the black walnut hull extract, same as before, and accounting for his weight of 50 pounds. That was in the morning. By that night he was standing around panting heavily and I took that to mean it was working and it was normal to have more labored breathing or panting when the stuff is working and killing off larvae. Proportedly it does not kill the adults? I kept him calm all day and the next morning came out to find some blood on the floor nearby where he lay gasping for air. He had vomited his dinner and was mildly responsive to my voice and presence. He died within 10 min, in what I would describe as heart failure poasibly heart attack, as there was a significant moment where he lifted his head and arched back in pain and cried out, then he was not responsive as his lungs continued to heave for air.

    I had come to feel fairly confident in home treatments and management and had read hundreds of articles on the particulars of various natural methods and am still in shock as to how this single, one time, reasonable? dose of black walnut hull extract, taken from a closed capsule and the same he would receive a few months ago without issue, could kill him?

    Is it likely that it actually did kill off the adults all at once? Would the larvae cause a clot or if there was just a crazy amount of them? Could this have been a coincidence or could the black walnut extract have been poisonous in the presence of some other condition like heart problems?

    Of course I am devastated and will not give my animals natural treatments without a vet signing off but I would like to know if this could actually kill a dog of that size at that dose and if it was definitively that extract as the cause.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 25, 2020 at 10:35 pm

      Oh, Sarah, I’m so sorry your dog has died like this. As I’m not a trained herbalist, I really can’t comment on the cause. Did the black walnut cause a sudden die off? Did it not stop the progression of HW and that caused his death? I can’t say, but I know walnut is a strong acting herb and, untrained as I am in herbology, I’d be remiss to ever use or prescribe it.

      All my best to you in what must be a time of deep grief.

    • Jade on November 27, 2022 at 11:41 am

      It sounds to me like the heartworm disease killed the dog bc you when you start and then stop the treatment like that the parasites come back stronger.

  4. Jonathan Hebert on February 5, 2020 at 11:45 am

    I really enjoyed reading this article and it has given me some hope that my dog, Jett, has a chance. He has recently developed a cough (about a week ago) and seems to get winded quicker than usual. His breathing is more rapid than usual and he has been skipping breakfast at least every other day. I read one of your replies above where you hinted that a homeopathic vet doesn’t need to be nearby to receive help from them. If you could maybe recommend someone for me or just point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it. Hope to hear from you soon!

    All the best,

  5. Kevin Jaramillo on July 26, 2018 at 3:21 am

    Hello I just read this and was trying to see if I could get a phone appointment with you. I live about 1 hour from Austin but I have a busy schedule and it’s hard to drive there
    My dog is showing some of the symptoms that Mr. Piggy was showing but I don’t want to just try to do the same thing for my dog since everyone is different. Please contact me or someone in your office I truly would appreciate it.


  6. Gene on July 14, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I live in North Georgia. We do have plenty of mosquitoes especially since I live close to the town reservoir. My dog is a small, 14-lb female Manchester terrier mix. I got her from the local shelter at the end of April/beginning of May and had her spayed. Would the vet have tested her for heartworm in bloodwork before the spay or is the test elective? They did not tell me anything about a heartworm test when I picked her up from the vet after her spay. Here are things that she has had from the first day I got her and I had mentioned all of this to the vet when I took her in to get the suture trimmed: Atrophy to the left rear hip musculature that is associated with limping (she always holds the leg up and limps when she trots or runs and does not like that leg or her feet to be touched which makes me think someone may have injured the nerve through abuse), intermittent episodes of reverse sneezing that last for one minute that happen about 3x/month. She has never had any coughing. I had a Gordon Setter when I was a kid and he got kennel cough at age 3. He had a wheezing, hacking cough, no appetite or energy, and hard, swollen glands like ping pong balls. My current dog has none of those symptoms. She has a good appetite, is very playful and enjoys going on hikes; even when we are out for over an hour, she still has stamina. However, I am freaked out in thinking that she had the reverse sneezing a little longer than usual today, and it happened 7 hours after we took a 2-hour hike. Does this mean she could have heartworm and I am hurting her by taking her out to exercise? I am just worried because I don’t know if I can just order the ELISA heartworm test online and then get treatment from the vet or if the vet will make me pay an arm and a leg to get her tested by them for heartworm before handing over the preventative heartgard Rx if the test is negative. Should I be this concerned about it?

  7. Monalisa on June 28, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    I’m so glad I came across this wonderful article and learning about graphites and natural medicine….. i recently rescued a very neglected small dog, 8 pounds, but she is hw+, and I can’t afford the $800 to up to $1000 dollars for the treatment at the vet, and I don’t wanna take her to a shelter where I won’t know her luck…. i search already for homeopathic vet in the area (Houston, Texas) but there’s only 2 for acupuncture. …. do they sell this remedy online? Any recommendations? I’m so sad and desperate, i don’t want her to die, she’s so little and sweet and she doesn’t have any symptoms at all….thanks for your time and information

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 28, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      Whoa! If you read this article carefully, you’ll see this is a homeopathic case. Meaning, I was treating “how my patient was showing her sickness,” not treating heartworm. Big difference. You’ll also see that graphites was one of a few remedies used to get my patient well, and then the worms left, unable to live in such a healthy body.
      What I did was set out to cure the dog’s chronic disease, and that’s a different path for every patient, as they all show it differently. Sorry to say, but there’s no standard protocol for curing any chronic disease, heartworm included, Mona. Giving a remedy that cured one case to a different animal has a negligible chance of curing that new patient.
      It’s part of what makes homeopathy challenging and time consuming, but that specificity is what also makes it great in curing things conventional medicine often cannot.
      You’ll need professional help if your aim is to cure a chronic case with homeopathy. On my Apoquel Alternatives report on this page, I tell you how to find the best homeopathic vets to help. Hint: they don’t need to be nearby.

      • Monalisa on July 1, 2016 at 9:39 am

        Thanks Will, my rescue puppy started the fast killing treatment at the vet two days ago, she’s doing well…. anyway I’ll keep investigating about natural & homeopathic since I’m a big believer of this. … my doggie (who already went to heaven) was 19 years old, she had several uti infections and other problems that I was able to control with colloidal silver, when the vet saw that she didn’t need mess anymore asked what I was giving her because she wanted to.learn about it, she told me never heard about it but keep doing it because it was working. … thanks for your info

  8. Brit on June 14, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    My sweet Sahara was recently positive for heart worms, She didn’t have any when I tested her back in July of last year. I would like some help on this my vet wanting me to do a very strong treatment that would have her locked up for basicly 3 months straight. Any advice would help Thanks

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 16, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Hi Brit,
      The best advice is, first, don’t worry. She can be cured without a 3 month lockup or toxic (read: arsenic) treatment. And time is on your side, as in months of time, most likely.
      Why has she gotten heartworm? She’s got some underlying chronic disease that allows susceptibility to be present. The goal is to cure that underlying disease (with professional help, not DIY) and expect the susceptibility to vanish along with the worms.
      If you visit this page on Apoquel, you’ll see a free report called Apoquel Alternatives. In it, I outline in detail how to find a good homeopathic vet to help you.

  9. Mary Lou May on November 16, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I would love to discuss this article with a relative (who is a vet) – can you tell me what doses of sulpher, calcarea carbonica, and graphites that you used? You said “single, high potency dose” for the sulpher and graphites. I would love to hear your reply. Thank you!

  10. Kathi on March 14, 2014 at 7:45 am

    I live in Georgia and there is a mosquito problem here but I did stop giving heartworm pills back in November. Last month I had my two dogs tested (negative) and told my vet that I wasn’t doing vaccines (except rabies) or heartworm “preventative” anymore. She was ok with the vaccines but was horrified I wasn’t doing the heartworm pills anymore but instead was giving them a tincture three times a week. She asked me if I thought she would give her dogs something she considered to be toxic. Sigh. I didn’t want to get in an argument about it so I kept my mouth shut but I have to admit it does worry me with the number of mosquitoes we have here.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Kathi,
      Too bad your vet took your decision to get your dogs of a toxic drug personally. It’ll be important to think through that, and recognize it as her fear, her feeling betrayed, etc. Nothing to do with you and where you are on your path of learning. As I point out in my drug free heartworm prevention book, there’s a tremendous amount of fear that exists around worms that live in the heart. It’s far more emotionally triggering than worms living in the intestines!
      The key is trusting and supporting the natural resistance to parasites, which is what I outline in detail in my book. And the real world results of my hundreds of patients over 20+ years helps you to see it’s not the mosquitoes we need focus on. They’ve stayed negative without drugs by focusing instead on building health and resistance.
      To the extent you get comfortable with that inherent powerhouse of prevention your dog has, you’ll find yourself thinking less and less about mosquitoes or worrying about heartworms.

  11. Sue on March 10, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    WOW, great article. Love your articles, I tell all my friends that have pets to get your emails. Thanks for all you do

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 10, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Thanks for being on the path with us, Sue, and for sharing it with your friends. I’m glad you find something useful in my writing.

  12. Esther on March 10, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Thank you for this whole newsletter what a wonderful article Dr. Falconer, very informative. I remember my male dog was given Arnica before surgery by a homeopathic veterinarian, her partner was the one doing the surgery. There was some problems with the anesthesia but I did not know it was because of Arnica. No one told me that.
    It is nice to know that you can treat heartworms with homeopathy. My dogs have not used preventative since last year. We have just have a negative test. It would be nice if you answer Tricia’s questions about Antigen test instead of microfilaria? I do not know what test they did, I guessing the usual but this veterinarian does not know I am not using preventative. I was using your heartworm nosode but the homeopathic doctor the dogs are being treated by do not want me to use it because she says it will interferes with remedies. We have lots of mosquitoes here, and even during the day we have the Asian mosquito.

    • jeannee Taylor on March 10, 2014 at 11:52 am

      Yes please Dr. Falconer. I too am interested in knowing about the Antigen V Microfilaria test.

      • Esther on March 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm

        I just stating here what I found out from my homeopathic doctor about the heartworm test. She said all tests are Elisa for the antigen of heartworms. Hopefully this would put some minds at rest.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on March 10, 2014 at 5:36 pm

          Yes, thanks Esther. As I answered Tricia a bit ago, the common tests for many years now are all antigen tests. It’d be unusual to test for microfilaria in the blood nowadays, though it was the common test 30 years ago when I entered practice.

  13. Kathryn Palmer on March 10, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Loved the info on Arnica. Use it alot but did not know about the preop issues. Also, I am getting very close to not treating for heartworm with the monthly pill. My dogs are raw fed, only had the puppy shots and the dreaded required rabies vaccine. I am still afraid of the wrath of shame I will get from my vet if I don’t treat and I’m not sure I could handle the guilt if they did test positive for some reason. Help. How can I overcome these issues 🙂 Also, if I understand the article correctly a dog can test positive one time and neg another is that correct? I am going to order the vital animals book. I really want to get on a competely natural path. I have to Bernese Mt. Dogs ages 4 and 3. Thank you for the wonderful info you put out for us. Katie

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 10, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Hi Kathryn and welcome.
      I’m so glad you’re taking these cautious steps and are already raw feeding. As you’ll see in reading my book, you’ll have lots of company if you follow the protocol for drug free heartworm prevention! Best advice I can give is to surround yourself (even if that’s online) with others who see the truth you are perceiving. There’s no place for shaming on any vet’s part. You have a brain, you can think for yourself and make good decisions based on carefully weighing evidence before you, and if the vet is not on board, that’s his/her problem, not yours.
      Tests usually don’t just go negative on their own, no. Mr Piggy was treated homeopathically by me. That’s why he tested negative.
      We’re glad you’re here, Kathryn, and wish you and your Berners the best, most Vital long lives going forward!

  14. Marina on March 10, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Thank you for another very informative article. Yes, unfortunately most conventional veterinarians still have very closed minds when it comes to healthier alternatives for our animals. I recently took my two Shih Tzus in for their “required” rabies vaccines. Long story short, I told the doctor that I was only going to do the rabies vaccines because that’s all they needed (well, the law says they need them). My dogs are 7 years old and have already had all the other vaccines, and after the last full round at age 4 I said no more, other than the rabies. After a bit of back and forth, his opinion versus mine, he left the room and had his technician finish up with me. He tried very hard to be polite but I could that tell he was furious with me. Anyway, I was just glad to be done with that. I’m not looking forward to dealing with this again three years down the road but, who knows, maybe the laws will change prior to that time; at least to maybe stretch out the rabies requirement even further to say every 5 years or so. We’ll see.

    • Birdlegs88 on March 10, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Recently went to a new Vet for an issue with a recurring ear infection. Basically, wanted a second opinion as we had been medicating my dog for months insuccessfully. My regular Vet, who I love, is extremely conservative with his treatment and tries to save us money. In this instance I was frustrated by our failing to get the ear infection to heal. While at the second opinion Vet, I was asked about my heartworm prevention. When I told them I would not give my dogs poison and preferred instead to keep exposure to mosquitoes by using essential oils, you would have thought I was a dog abuser. When I told the Vet that I had studied this topic and followed it for years and offered to bring him literature on it, he wasn’t interested. I guess the money he makes for selling this crap outweighs any rational thought for the risks to our animals. Needless to say, I am returning to my long term Vet and will never “cheat” again.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on March 10, 2014 at 5:28 pm

        Yes, dog abuser is often the vibe you get from these folks when you refuse to partake in the “prevention” that sells poisons and unnecessary vaccinations.
        A shame it’s that way, but one where you’ve got to wax your feathers a bit before embarking on a discussion like this.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 10, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Ah, Marina, I’m sorry you had to experience such stress over what should be a common sense decision for someone educated on immunity, even somewhat, as most of us were in vet school.
      The missing piece in most vets’ understanding is the duration of immunity from a virus vaccination. Laws not withstanding, your dogs are all “good citizens” already (immune to rabies) and will stay so for the rest of their lives without further shots. So say the folks with no financial incentive around vaccinations: the veterinary immunologists.
      p.s. We should never all Dr. WhiteCoat to think he’s in law enforcement. He’s clearly not. You can refuse more vaccines and have it marked on each animal’s record for all to see: No More Vaccinations, by Owner Request. Then, it’s not a battle each time you pay a visit for something.
      All the best going forward.

  15. Susan Dailey on March 10, 2014 at 5:44 am

    I think the recovery was wonderful, wish we had a vet in my area that practiced this type of medicine.
    Well I have read your book, which I thought was a great read. I have four doggies and I will be taking them in for an annual test soon. Have to admit I’m a little worried because I haven’t given heart worm treatment for almost two years now, last test was negative. Keep you posted. My dogs are raw fed and I don’t use any type of white coat treatments for anything, I seem to solve many things with very simple remedies

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Susan, and you should have no worries. The majority of my clients are testing negative year on year following my protocol outlined in the book.
      As I point out in the book, time your test for 7 months out from the last mosquito exposure date so you are getting accurate readings. Remember, it takes a full 6 months from bite to adult HW, IF all systems favor the parasite. Of course, following the protocol outlined in the book, all systems are clearly OPPOSED to the parasite!
      Keep us posted though.
      Thanks for being here.

  16. Tricia on March 9, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Thanks so much for talking about heartworm and what a great success story for Mr. Piggy. I know Lily will be just fine as well.
    So how do I “prevent”? Well, I mostly track the weather. I think its important to know when infection is even a possibility vs. just a regular mosquito bite.
    I follow the 57F rule with loosely calculated HDU’s after that. When I lived in Texas I think there was only 60 days that year that infection was even a possibility in my area.
    During that time we AVOIDED mosquitos. Staying in at dawn and dusk. Draining all water from pots and puddles. Mosquito dunks in the pond. And consistent, liberal use of Wondercide on both my dogs and myself. I then heartworm tested 6-8 months later. All good.
    Now that we live in Seattle I think we’ll have an easier time of it due to low temps but we’ll still use the Wondercide. I know I don’t like getting bitten by mosquitos so I imagine my dogs don’t either.
    I recently heard that for folks not using preventatives, if we decide to test, we should ask for the Antigen test instead of the Microfilarial. What are your thoughts on that Dr.?

    • Jeannee Taylor on March 10, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Hi Tricia !
      Native of Nevada transplanted to Texas here! Heart worms NEVER an issue in Nevada. I have started on the natural path with my not yet 2 year old shepherds and am nerveous about keeping them off Heartguard. (off since fall). I use wondercide . You mention tracking the weather ? I thought ALL mosquitos were carriers of heart worm but you make it sound like that is a wrong assumption so could you elaborate on that for me? also you mentioned HDU’S ? What does that stand for?
      Any info or direction to info on what you are referring to would be appreciated !

    • Connie Disbrow on March 10, 2014 at 11:49 am

      I too am very interested in “tracking the weather” especially since we will be moving to Florida in about a year or so. Right now in the Pocono Mountains mosquitos are not too big a problem where I am, and we don’t have fleas either, but Florida I know will be a different story.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on March 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm

        Connie and Jeannee,
        It’s important to note that this is Tricia’s recommendation (avoiding mosquitoes), not mine.
        My book is not based on avoidance of contact with mosquitoes, but rather on working on getting your animals so “bullet proof” that a mosquito bite does not result in a heartworm infestation.
        I share some research in it to a species doing quite well and living among mosquitoes 24/7!

      • Tricia on March 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm

        Hi Connie –
        The tracking weather part is just that heartworm can’t develop if the temp dips below 57F day or night. Which is why its crazy for vets to prescribe pills all year long. After that its about letting your animals bodies do the work its meant to do. Dr. Falconers protocol works. We lived it for 2 summers in Texas. Avoiding mosquitos was more about comfort. A backyard with less buzzing is more enjoyable and less probable to get bitten. Human and dog alike.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      Yes, Tricia, the antigen test is much more accurate. It’s also the most commonly run test when you just ask for a HW test, so odds are you’ll get that without specifying it.

      • Tricia on March 17, 2014 at 9:26 pm

        ah Great. Thanks Dr.

  17. Salli James on March 9, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Thank you for this whole newsletter. Arnica… was a Wow, I did not know the preventative prior to surgery was a No No… The success story with Mr. Piggy… PRICELESS! Thank you so much for this Share!
    Salli and Havanese gang.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 9, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      You’re most welcome, Salli. Glad it was an eye opener and a feel good piece at the same time. Mr. Piggy really wowed me, too!

  18. Natalie Lenoir on March 9, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I love this success story. Also, just want to make a connection with another like minded veterinarian.
    I love Transfer Factor and Austin 😉
    Nice job!!
    I enjoy your blog. I don’t have many people to share info like this with here in Birmingham.
    Thanks again!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 9, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Hey Natalie,
      Thanks for stopping by to say hi! If you ever get up to Austin, do give me a heads up, and I’ll take you out to lunch. Are you using the Transfer Factor in your practice? I’m so impressed with all the research on it, spanning 50+ years and the way the Russians came, studied it against their gold standard for immune boosting (interleukin II), and ran back to Russia with TF, making it part of their hospitals formulary.

      • Kelly Vaughn on November 28, 2017 at 7:06 am

        I have a dog that is heart worms and I would like to try this but don’t know how to get ahold of one of you guys around here to help.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on December 1, 2017 at 5:04 am

          This isn’t DIY, Kelly. It takes hiring a homeopathic vet to do this. I have a vetted list of them on this post.

          • Perry Tippy on April 4, 2021 at 9:44 am

            We had 2 Blue Healers, sisters about 6 years old. They had been on Heart Worm Prevention Meds since they were puppies and had puppy shots. We believed this was the right thing to do. Recently both of them developed a gasping cough and was swelling up. one was diagnosed with thyroid problems and the other congestive heart failure and both with heartworms. The one with congestive heart failure passed during the heart worm treatment. I’m not wanting to put the other through this. I need some help in treating her.

          • Will Falconer, DVM on April 4, 2021 at 10:45 pm

            Hey Perry,

            HW positive animals can be treated in two ways without resorting to the standard toxic drug approach:

            1. The best approach is to hire a homeopathic vet who’s trained in curing chronic disease. It’s a given that any dog the “allows” parasites to be present has some chronic disease that’s feeding their susceptibility to worms. This approach takes appointments, usually monthly, where the vet chooses remedies that fit your dog (no one remedy fits all) and usually in six months, the test will have gone negative. I explain how to find a good vet to do this at the AVH link on this page (video accompanying makes choosing a vet easy).. The advantages of this approach are: you end up with a very healthy dog who’s less likely to get any parasites for some time.
            2. A worm focused approach has been working for people, I’m told. A supplement is out there on the internet called HWF (name has changed now and then, but a search should find this in association with the word “heartworm” or “heart worm.”) This is cheaper and doesn’t get your dog any healthier or more resistant, it just attacks the worm with herbs. I have no experience with it and don’t recommend it, but I’m passing it on from others’ experiences they’ve mentioned to me.

            It’s also important to know that “Time is on your side!” A heartworm positive dog is rarely on “death’s doorstep.” Most are free of symptoms but just have a positive test, meaning there could be three worms or 30, but the dog is living normally with the parasite present. I speak more about this in my ebook/course called “Vital Animals Don’t Get Heartworms! The Drug-Free Prevention Program That Works”.

            Best of health to you and all those in your care,

  19. Madeleine Innocent on March 9, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    You’re lucky – I would say 100% of conventional vets in Australia recommend vaccination. Even the vet I use (only for sterilisation) does and he uses homeopathy! There is too much money tied up in it, as well as pressure. Great article on that!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on March 9, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      Hi Madeleine, and welcome from Down Under!
      Are you saying they are all vaccinating annually down there? I’ve seen some thoughtful work from a veterinary group in Australia leading the charge for slowing way down on the vaccine recommendation.
      I hope they can make some progress and even show up the American vets, so we’ve got a better example to follow.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      • Mary Langevin on March 10, 2014 at 7:31 am

        Excellent article! I am a natural rearing breeder – all our dogs are vaccine-free and toxic free and all pups are sent to homes in the same natural state :o)

        • Will Falconer, DVM on March 10, 2014 at 5:13 pm

          Way to go, Mary. I’m so happy to hear you’re raising vital pups!