Fear Sells (Cost: Your Dog’s Health)
Stop Killing Your Pet: The Top 5 Ways – Part 4
Heartworms. Worms that live in the heart of my dog??? Eeek! Gross!
The very thought of worms living in your dog’s heart (and now, even your cat’s) sends a shiver through most people.
To play that feeling for profit, clever marketers who sell heartworm drugs will often feature, prominently in their ads, a picture of a dog’s heart, opened for all the world to see, and stuffed full of long, spaghetti-like worms.
Nothing sells like that. Shiny new cars, snappy boutique clothing, and slick new i-devices take back seat to a fear-inspiring graphic like this.
Out of fear, most pet owners sign up for the monthly heartworm preventative and don’t ask questions.
“I never want those nasty things in my dog’s heart!” <Shudder>
But, you’re here because you’re more thoughtful than that. Good thing for your dog you are.
An Unexamined Drug (Not Worth Giving)
Often forgotten in the rush to prevent these nasty looking heartworms from gaining entrance to your dog’s heart, is what the drug itself can do to your dog’s health.
Once more, we are in the land of pesticides here. With all the attendant risks these compounds carry, including sickness and early death.
Let’s be honest. The drug kills larvae. In all the market double speak about “interrupting the life cycle,” the monthly heartworm “preventatives” just kill the heartworm’s larvae.
The killing field is your dog’s blood. That’s where the larvae get to from the mosquito bite delivery system.
Killing = Toxic
Killing something always comes with a risk.
The risk of “collateral damage.”
–Will innocent people, who have no political agenda, be killed by dropping this bomb on the enemy?
–Will my liver be damaged and my life be in ruins when I sign up for chemotherapy to kill these cancer cells?
–Will my dog’s life be damaged in some way or shortened by killing heartworm larvae?
Useful questions all.
Ivermectin, the chief ingredient of Heartguard, and its cousins in the same class, are indeed toxic. In small quantities. The cousins are in Interceptor, Trifexis, Sentinel, Revolution, Advantage Multi and ProHeart 6.
Has anyone studied them for safety over a period of a dog’s life? You can bet not. They went to market with weeks of study, not even years.
And I can tell you, from experience in my own body, that ivermectin made me ill every time I used it, very cautiously, to deworm horses. Rubber gloves on before use, hands washed afterwards, driving to the next farm, I’d feel dizzy and nauseous.
How much could I have been exposed to? Mere molecules.
ProHeart 6 was recalled in 2004 after the FDA received more than 5000 reports of sick or dying dogs. It’s back on the market.
And, as in all pesticides, resistance builds. Yes, though the manufacturers really, really don’t want you to know this, their drugs are just plain failing to protect like they used to.
In my practice, I have a client in Louisiana whose neighbor’s dogs, while fully on recommended doses of heartworm preventatives, contracted the heartworm parasites. And she’s not an isolated case, as the link above hints at.
Side Effects: May Include Death
Autoimmune Disease: Sound the Alarm!
Much more serious is that these drugs are a common cause of autoimmune disease in the dogs who take them.
A review of 55 cases of autoimmune disease in dogs was very revealing in both causes and outcomes.
Precipitating factors or diseases most frequently implicated in secondary immune-mediated thrombocytopenia or hemolytic anemia were: recent vaccination, drug therapy, obstetrical complications, stress, recent viral infection and neoplasia.
Just over half of all dogs survived…
(emphasis mine: our old favorites, implicated in so much illness, vaccination and drugs)
Here’s a product information sheet of an injectable heartworm prevention poison whose stated side effects include autoimmune disease (and seizures, collapse, liver damage, shock, and bloody diarrhea).
Oh oh. This Can’t Be Good
When my professors in vet school told us about autoimmune disease, even though I’d not yet seen it, I instinctively got a sinking feeling.
I felt pretty confident that infectious diseases could be beaten. Broken bones could be mended, bad teeth could be pulled.
But, disease where your dog’s own immune system attacks him? The very system that he depends on to ferret out the bad guys, kill the evil doers, and lay to waste the baddest viruses?
That system, attacking your dog from within?? Damn.
Tough Disease. Poor Answers.
The dogs with autoimmune disease are in big trouble. Life threatening, hand wringing, high tech trouble. Their very red blood cells are getting wiped out, and by their own immune attack!
All we had to fight that scary monster always sounded worse to me than the disease: immune suppressors, usually steroids. It was never a clean outcome. Failures abounded, and dogs were dying from this disease.
Blood transfusions sounded lame. “Here, let’s find the safe blood type that won’t set off a rejection reaction by the already confused immune system, and pour that in to your dog’s veins!”
It was just heroics and damage control.
The whole treatment plan left me feeling impotent. I wanted answers to save my patients! Things that worked, by God.
Holistic Medicine, Natural Prevention
I never got those answers from conventional medicine, but luckily, never saw autoimmune disease until I had learned homeopathy, and could treat it effectively.
But we’re talking prevention here. “Stop Killing Your Pet” is the theme of the series, so we need some alternatives to toxic drugs.
And the good news is, that prevention is already built in to your animal. We just have to unlock it, support it, enhance it, and get out of its way.
I found myself lecturing my clients on this so often that I wrote a book and offered that instead. You can very affordably buy my ebook or audio book on my site and read it in the comfort of your easy chair. Or listen on the device of your choice.
The bottom line, which I’ve discovered from working with patients in heartworm endemic areas for the past twenty plus years, is that you don’t need toxic chemicals to have heartworm prevention that works.
You need know how. I share my know how with you in my ebook, based on hundreds of patients who’ve successfully resisted heartworm with my methods. And my many clients who use this program aren’t losing sleep worrying about mosquitoes.
A holistic, “Whole Dog” approach. Prevention that works without poisoning anything or anyone, and keeps the heartworms out of your dog. You can get it here.
[Next up: Give ‘Em Raw Bones!]
[Update: just before going to press with the latest version of my ebook (and the new audiobook version!)
“Vital Animals Don’t Get Heartworms! The Drug-Free Prevention Program That Works,”
I dug into a research paper Dr. Jean Dodds sent me, that directly spoke to the illnesses associated with heartworm pills. Very scary stuff, autoimmune, largely fatal, and clearly coming on shortly after the giving of heartworm pills. The link to the book will show you some examples.
Also, just before the book came out, a patient came to me with IBD (Inflammatory bowel disease, i.e. E.R. type of diarrhea and vomiting), and her owner and I realized it recurred monthly. After her heartworm pill! That case was posted here.]