Natural Heartworm Prevention

April: Heartworm “Bewareness” Month

In honor of the U.S.’s National Heartworm Awareness Month, I’ve slightly renamed it, as I’ve learned enough about the dangers of the drugs used to prevent the worm that I think you’ll need your eyes wide open, especially now. It’s time to make your yearly decision in the northern hemisphere:

Will you use the toxic heartworm prevention drugs for another year, or will you seek a safer natural alternative?”

Oh, I know, the conventional veterinary contenders will tell you there is no such thing as natural heartworm prevention. They are locked into their paradigm that toxic monthly preventative drugs are your only hope, and have the blessings of the drug manufacturers (natch) and the conventional organizations who drink the same Kool Aid (AVMA, AAHA, American Heartworm Society, etc.).

But you’re reading this because you are willing to think outside the box, make your own informed decisions, and not necessarily march to the same drummer that the rest of the crowd does.

Ask The Basic, Important Questions

With any healthcare choice you make for those animals in your care (who depend on your choices for their health), there are two key questions to ask about any procedure or drug being presented to you:

1. Does this work?

This is also known as efficacy. We’ve known, for example, that although 60% of conventional veterinarians still recommend annual vaccinations, they are recommending this counter to the knowledge and recommendation of veterinary immunologists for the past 20+ years. Immunologists clearly know repeating vaccinations lacks efficacy.

The heartworm preventative drugs have been showing decreasing efficacy over the years, much like antibiotics, as resistance builds in the pest. The researchers hope this resistance can be stemmed by convincing you to keep your dog on year round heartworm prevention drugs.

I’m betting you’ll not be part of that experiment.

2. Is this safe?

This is by far the more important question. Safety refers to whether or not illness is caused by a drug or vaccine or procedure. As I wrote about the Trifexis scam, and how fear sells poisons, clearly there are problems with giving pesticides to your animals. And yes, that’s what heartworm “preventative” drugs are, in fact. They depend on killing the larvae in your dog’s blood stream to keep the adult parasite at bay.

Preventative is in quotes because these drugs are really not preventing infestation of the heartworm larvae, they are used to periodically poison them to keep them from developing into adults.

Similarly, the lack of safety of vaccinations is the greater problem. Chronic disease, especially allergies is common after vaccination, as long as you look for it coming on about a month or so after vaccination. It’s usually not immediate.

So, how does a natural heartworm prevention program stack up in these two measures? As might be expected, it depends on the natural prevention program, its basis, and the outcomes in those who use it.

There are many programs based on the use of potentially toxic herbs, like black walnut, to prevent heartworm. While black walnut certainly kills intestinal parasites, does it also kill worms who live in the circulatory system like heartworms do?

I don’t know.

Wait. Beer as Natural Heartworm Prevention??

Another natural heartworm prevention you’ll find online is the use of Guinness beer! Some sources are even calling it “homeopathic” (which it’s not), and claim it can even be used to  treat a dog successfully who has heartworms.

Has efficacy been demonstrated (i.e. does it work)?

I don’t know.

Is there a safety issue with either approach? Again, I don’t know, but I know that black walnut and alcohol both are potentially toxic.

What I Do Know

Having lived in the presence of heartworm for the past 25 years, practicing first in Hawaii (year round mosquitoes) and now in Texas (mosquitoes from April through September or even October), my clients have largely NOT given the heartworm preventative drugs. I’d estimate the percentage to be in the 90% range who are preventing heartworm with my natural heartworm prevention protocol, focused on building strong resistance in the dog.

And their annual Spring heartworm tests keep coming in negative, year upon year.

Between Hawaii with its year round exposure and Texas with its 6-7 month exposure, I’m estimating the number of dogs protected this way is in the hundreds.

Has efficacy been demonstrated with this method?

I can clearly say it has. Hundreds of negative testing dogs over 25 years using the protocol in heartworm endemic areas is a pretty loud call out to efficacy.

And safety? Any side effects from this approach?

Yes, it’s safe, and yes, there are loads of side effects!

Known Side Effects of My Program

  • Shiny coats that smell great (without bathing)
  • Bright, clear eyes
  • Stools that don’t stink
  • White teeth and sweet smelling breath
  • Disease resistance to many other diseases, like allergies, ear infections, arthritis, tumors, etc.

Do Your Research, Both Here and Elsewhere. Then Decide.

This is worth studying thoroughly. Especially now, in this month of  Heartworm Bewareness, I’ll leave you with several links for easy access to posts I’ve written on the subject of heartworm. There’s certainly a lot more strewn across the internet, but you want to be asking the hard questions on all of this:

1. Does this work?

2. Is this safe?

Before you decide for yourself what you’re going to provide for your animal’s heartworm prevention, be sure you are comfortable with the answers to each of these basic questions.

Articles to Help Your Understanding

One dangerous drug with a manufacturer denying harm, contrary to many animal owners’ direct experiences:

The Great Trifexis Hoax: 6 Ways to Spot the B.S.

(by the looks of the comments on the very popular article linked above, Big Pharma shills have been hired to comment that you have nothing to worry about. And how they are just glad to have a flea-free, heartworm-free, parasite free dog. See what you think.)

The title says it all:

Stop Using Poisons For Heartworm Prevention

A case report from my practice of a dog getting sick each month after her heartworm preventative:

Heartworm Pills: Seriously Sick

Last, but not least, here’s where my time tested natural heartworm prevention protocol resides (along with some of Dr. Jean Dodds’ research showing harm from the original heartworm drugs, still in use today):

So, tell us where you’re at in the comments, what you’ve researched and what results you’ve seen in your own Vital Animals. Heartworm prevention can be “crowd sourced” to a certain extent, as you hear from real people and real animals’ experiences with the natural approach.

And, as the Trifexis article shows, real people with real heartache after pesticide use is not at all uncommon.

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  1. Sam on May 28, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Glad I found this article. This year, I plan to skip the Heartgard with my dog.

  2. on June 9, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Hello, Dr. Falconer,
    It is with a breath of fresh air to have found your website and am now a member. I live in Roswell, Georgia where there are a lot of Dr. Whitecoats (even supposed homeopathic vets) that imply we are bad pet parents not to be vaccinating, using pharmas, etc. It has been a long road with finding our way to strictly a homeopathic approach. Our last two dogs started us on our way, but not soon enough for our 12 1/2 year old Elkhound. Her uncle lived to be 16 2/3. I believe her last vaccine at 11 slowly decreased her immunity (we planned for it to be her last, but not in that way) plus a broken heart (she passed 3 months after her Joe). We now have two new Elkies, (11 and 10 months) who have not been vaccinated. We found a vet in FL who will do 1/4 cc vaccine for rabies and then follow up with nosodes so we can be within the law! We are searching for one a bit closer to home.
    Is there anything you recommend for intestinal parasites? We do DE, a home prepared organic cooked meat/fish diet with root veges, veges, fruit, pumpkin seeds, and herbs, plus a natural dewormer. They still continue to test positive for intestinal worms (hook, whip) which until they are close to nil will not inject them with the rabies vaccine.
    Since December, they only leave our yard when getting a chiropractic adjustment. As puppies, they were raised on a farm in rural WV; we became their parents when they were 10 and 14 weeks. We did take them to a nearby school with a dirt track in our early days with them to burn off some puppy energy where most likely they could have been exposed to parasites that we did not remove when wiping their feet of dirt (puppies!!!)
    Thanks for listening and the great advice your provide.
    Kindest regards,

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 5, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Hey Theresa,
      There’s rarely ever a worm case in my practice, especially in the raw fed patients. They are too healthy to allow worms a home.
      If you shift to a raw balanced diet and still see positive fecal tests a couple months later, it’s a good bet they’ve got chronic disease allowing susceptibility to remain.
      That’s best addressed by a homeopathic vet who treats constitutionally, i.e. the “whole dog.” When the chronic disease goes, so will the worms.

  3. Teresa Dinner on May 28, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I purchased your nosodes last year and still have lots left but can’t remember if they are to be given with food or not. Please reply and Thank you.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 5, 2017 at 10:48 am

      They are good as long as they are clear, not cloudy. That could be years, if you’ve handled them well.

  4. Karen Mitchell on April 12, 2016 at 8:56 am

    I shared this page on my Facebook Group and one of the members said
    “NO research is shown. I would like to see the research.”
    “No research listed. When i read it I wanted to see research. This is all about his thoughts. nothing to back it up.”

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 13, 2016 at 8:02 am

      So, Karen, you don’t believe clinical experience, then (or your FB folks don’t, you don’t really say what your thoughts are)? I’d suggest that these same doubters look for the research on every drug they either take or give to their animals. And not look at face value at the research done by those who sell the products, but put it to a scientist whose work is to critically evaluate research.
      You (or they, again, not sure who’s talking here) will find very, very few hold up to the standards of good research.
      It’s the same lame argument that it’s been “proven” that vaccines don’t cause autism. By “research” that’s never compared vaccinated to unvaccinated populations. But, by all means, tell the thousands of moms who had normal, bright, engaged youngsters who lost their normal lives to this disease after being vaccinated that they have no research to “prove” it.
      If decades of use in hundreds of patients with scads of negative HW test reports year over year isn’t good enough, this approach isn’t for you. Or your FB buddies. Stick to the monthly pesticides. But again, show me the research that shows they are safe and efficacious, and that’s been verified by a real statistician as valid.
      Facebook is a vast wasteland of opinions and emotions and just because something’s in print doesn’t make it valid.

  5. cj on April 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    I too, gave up heartworm poison several years ago, just after going to a raw diet for my dogs. I have several older dogs, ex showdogs, who have not had hardly any vaccines(except rabies) since puppyhood, and some have only had rabies vaccines. They do not have heartworm disease, and continue to be healthy…my oldest dog is 15.5 years old!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 11, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Nice work, cj! Keep it up and let others who are interested know of your results.

  6. Colleen on April 11, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I would love to take my dog off heartworm prevention and go onto a safer way of prevention.
    I read your article but you have not posted any research.
    Where can I read about any research done in this field?
    Just because there are dogs in high risk area without prevention does not mean that your idea works. It just means that they may have not been bitten. There are many dogs in my area that use nothing and are clear and many who are positive. I do not want my dog to be that positive while drinking beer.

  7. Jackie on April 5, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Dr. Falconer! I purchased and have been following your “Vital Animals Don’t Get Heartworms” in April 2014. So far two years with no heartworm meds for my pups! Yippee. I see that there’s an updated version now. Are the changes significant?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 5, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Jackie,
      Good for you! Love those negative tests amid no poisons!
      I think the main update since you bought was the addition of the audiobook version. Just to be sure, though, I’ve added the current ebook version to your membership goodies, so when you login in at Member Home, you’ll see it there for you.
      Thanks for being here!

      • Jackie on April 5, 2016 at 1:13 pm

        Great! I’ll go check it out. Thank you soooo much 🙂

    • Riane on July 15, 2018 at 11:06 pm


      Do you use the heartworm nosodes?

  8. Terry on April 5, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Dr. Falconer,
    Have you ever heard of Pet Protector tags? (Here is my website I’ve been using them on my three dog for 3 years now, and haven’t used any pharmaceuticals on my dogs since then. I live on the east coast of Florida near the lagoons. Lots of pesky pests.
    Would you recommend this product to your readers? It’s totally non toxic!
    I also feed all raw for about 6 years now, and I have the healthiest dogs around. Everyone comments on their coats and muscles. They are small Rat Terriers and I haven’t even had to give any baths for about 6 years. Shiny, silky coats. They just shake off any dirt after rolling around the yard.
    I would really respect your opinion on this.
    Thank you.
    Terry N.

  9. Shirley Gilbert on April 4, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    I don’t want to stay, how do I get off your site?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 5, 2016 at 4:08 am

      Hi Shirley,
      There are two things:
      1. My website,, which you posted your question on, and
      2. My newsletter, which comes to members of the Vital Animal Pack, and brings you updates and Tasty Tips on raising healthy animals via your email inbox.
      To leave the website, you just go elsewhere. Type a new address in the address bar. Or quit Internet Explorer or what ever browser you had open to write this message.
      I’m guessing you’ve decided you don’t want my newsletter, in which case, in your email (“Vital Animal News April 4, 2016”), way down at the bottom, you’ll see an Unsubscribe link. It’s blue, underlined text, down below the picture of geese flying in a V. Click it and you’ll not receive any future updates from me.
      Thanks for visiting and all the best to you and your animals. I hope you find a path that works for you.

  10. Will Falconer, DVM on April 4, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Hey Justine, Just sent you an email telling you how to get it. You can reply to that and let me know if you’re good to go or not. Thanks!

  11. Wendy on April 4, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I stopped giving Heartguard on my RIP GSD so the current GSD has not received any heartworm medication. And both always tested/test negative for Heartworm. I use Wondercide sprays when we hike. However both dogs were positive for Lyme but never symptomatic.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 4, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Nice, Wendy! Positive for Lyme and never sick? That means a great immune response. Very different than Lyme disease.
      Keep up your great work!

  12. DEBORAH BELLES on April 4, 2016 at 8:51 am

    My dog has always been feed raw. I don’t do flea & tick or heartworm. and I don’t use toxins around my house. except for 3 rounds of puppy shoys and one rabies ( which I am working with a homeopath to reverse the damage done) he get no vaccines. In January he had a tooth the needed to be pulled. the vet ran blood work and did a snap test for heartworm( he was heartworm negative 9 month before). the test showed a very thin faint line but no microflora under the scope.the vet decided that further tests should be run. The first retest was inconclusive, 2nd was negative. so one more test was run where they heat the sample. It then came back negative. the vets comment was he must of had a sick heartworm. my comment was his own great immune system took care of it.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 4, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Your response wins! And Dr. WhiteCoat is dumbfounded, bc he isn’t responsible! You are!
      Nice work, Deborah!

  13. Anonymous on April 3, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Dr Falconer,
    Thank you so much for putting this article up. I have been talking to lots of people about this topic and trying to decide what I’m going to do. So far, I have not given HeartGard since last October. I stopped for winter. I just got a HW Antigen test done. Negative. I give ground raw organic pumpkin seeds with my dog’s raw diet, I feed garlic, I use essential oil spray.. Trying to really build my dog up, and so far, she is looking great. Really really turned her health around in the last year. For some reason… I have a bit of fear not using HartGuard. I had no problem throwing out the kibble, no issue stopping FrontLine, but I am anxious about this HW stuff because people warn me if your dog gets it, it is very, very bad.. I enjoy being in the woods with my dog and I plan on hiking a part of the Appalachian Trail in a few weeks, one overnight. A certain vet immunologist who I respect the hell out of (and who has really helped me a lot with my dog’s health) advised me to do Interceptor, and said that the Trifexis thing was unfairly reported. I just dont know who to believe! I think I’m going to elect not to give anything for it, but I worry about it a lot. I did get your book and read it a few times. I also researched stuff online, talked to people who havnt given any meds in years.. I am still worried though. If I am this worried, can I get my dog tested more frequently, instead of yearly?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 4, 2016 at 4:23 am

      Hey Peter,
      Fear subsides with first hand experience of how resilient and resistant your Vital Animal is becoming. And if the wolves and coyotes, exposed to far more mosquitoes and heartworm than your amazingly healthy dog aren’t dying of heartworm, well… (and, last I checked, no one was dropping them Heartgard…)
      As this parasite, like all, are slow movers, there’s no benefit to test more than once yearly. Review that section in the book on the life cycle and how time is on your side.
      And consider the worst case: your dog gets heartworm. So? That just means you’ve got a bit of work to do to help her fight. I think I made it pretty clear in the book that’s neither a death sentence nor a need to give toxic chemicals, right? I cure these dogs pretty easily with homeopathy, as I’m sure do my homeopathic colleagues.
      All the best. You’re doing great work!

  14. Anonymous on March 27, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Hi Dr Falconer, Can you tell me about the heartworm nosode? What is it exactly? I have decided not to go back to HeartGard or do any HW poison. I feed ReelRaw, stopped vaccinations, use essential oil spray mix for bugs, and give supplements like ground raw organic pumpkin seeds, apple cider vinegar, garlic, bone broth… Really trying to boost her immune system. So far doing awesome. HW Antigen test came back negative after my last HeartGard dose in October. I did buy your eBook and read it a couple times. I am interested in the Nosode. Thanks!!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 6, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      Hi Peter,
      A nosode is a homeopathically prepared substance made from a disease discharge or agent. It’s thought to act as an “energetic barrier to entry” for the disease in healthy animals. Common ones in vet medicine include parvo, distemper, feline panleukopenia, kennel cough and heartworm.
      As I mention in my ebook, I’m not entirely confident a nosode is either efficacious or necessary to resist heartworms. Plenty of my patients come up negative year after year by following my protocol in Vital Animals Don’t Get Heartworms! and have never had the hw nosode. For those who opt for it, and have read the book, I send it. Perhaps it gives those animals a bit more of an “edge” in resisting the parasite. Just hard to measure that.

  15. Irene Fisher on November 4, 2015 at 7:39 am

    My little 8 lb seven year old mix yorkie seems healthy.but I’m reluctant to give her heart worm medicine and afraid not to. With the food even for humans I can’t seem to go raw. I don’t know what to do? Help!

  16. L on September 25, 2015 at 7:26 am

    I also wanted to update a previous post where I mentioned giving my dogs raw meaty bones. After a trip to the emergency vet due to blockage caused by ground up bone material, I no longer give my dogs bones of any type.

    • Dede on April 7, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      Our dogs eat raw meat with bones and have for over 15 yrs. Our pack is 5-10 lbs and we’ve never had any issue. The same is true for our family and all the other raw feeders we know. In fact, I’ve never personally heard of a raw fed dog or cat having a problem with the raw diet. We started our last 2 pups on minced raw with ground bones and raw goat milk at 5 weeks of age when they weighed under 2 lbs each – no problems of any kind. Dogs are carnivores – tiny examples of wolves who eat only a raw diet. I encourage everyone to educate yourself about this correct diet. It gives amazing health (along with no more shots, drugs, toxins of any type) and makes for very happy as well as healthy canines.
      Another awesome article, Dr. Will.

      • Dede on April 7, 2016 at 7:43 pm

        Forgot to include that we’ve never had a dog with heart worm and we use only natural peppermint or lavender castile shampoo on our dogs. Two years ago, we took them to a dog play event with some friends and their dogs so we brushed some essential oils into their coats just in case. No fleas, ticks or pests of any kind on all 6 of our fuzzies when we came home and checked each one.

  17. L on September 25, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Heartworms are serious, please call your vet and talk to him (leave a message for him to call you back) before changing any treatment protocol you have set in motion. Just my opinion as a pet owner for many years.

  18. Margie on September 25, 2015 at 2:12 am

    I’m bringing our Beagle/hound to the vet this morning for treatment for Heartworm and I’m really dreading it, in fact I cannot sleep thinking about it. What should I do?? They say he tested positive for the adults but not the babies in his bloodstream.
    First they had him on antibiotics for 2 weeks, plus prednisone. Now they’re gonna start the slow kill method plus more prednisone, then back for a shot which I fear will kill him.
    His symptoms were panting very easily, and that’s why they did the test. From reading here, would it be better to allow the worms to just die off, while making him healthier? Should I get the x-Ray done? They’re not doing an ultrasound. He’s only around 4 years old or so, he was a stray and prolly about a year old when we brought him inside.
    I have a horrible feeling about bringing him to the vet, like he might die from this treatment. I’m going to cancel the appointment till I hear from you and I pray you read this!
    Thanks in advance.. I should have looked this up sooner!!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 26, 2015 at 10:19 am

      We’ve spoken over email, and you’ll know now that you have time on your side. A positive test does not disease make.
      Carry on, Margie. You don’t need poisons to get this dog well.

  19. L on May 7, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I can’t quite yet do a raw diet, but, I have gotten away from kibble…turns out there are storage dust mites in the dry and canned food that my dog with allergies reacts to. She is doing well with the desensitization shots, but will probably continue to need them.
    I did buy a meat grinder Tasin-108 and have been grinding up chicken wings, gizzards, and just lightly cooking them to add to a homemade diet or quality canned food with good results. I also add a squirt of salmon oil once a day along with other supplements.
    A clove of garlic once a week? I know in large amounts it can be toxic…
    My dogs love an occasional raw frozen beef marrow bone, but be careful they will bite you if you try to take it from them before they are through!
    The ticks are out, so we practically bathe in Wondercide! My allergy girl’s dermatologist is skeptical that it is anything more than a deterrent, but I think it helps. I am trying to keep the poisons to a minimum.

  20. Barbara on May 6, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Dr. Falconer,
    My husband is going along pretty good with no vaccinations, no pesticides and expensive bought food, but he won’t even talk about RAW food !!!. That’s too wild for him. (Old Chicago Italian guy). Would your HW prevention work on my poor store fed dog? Thank you so much for your many words of wisdom.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 7, 2014 at 8:44 am

      I don’t know, Barbara, but I can tell you it has worked in many who haven’t made the leap to all raw.
      Hey, my dad was an old school Italian, and he made nice little increments of forward thinking as I kept after him with little things I felt were important. The compost pile behind his garage, the recycling (that sometimes got dumped in the trash, ahem), and my vegetarian diet and meditation practice. So, don’t give up on him. Start cracking a raw egg over that kibble. Then a bit of chopped raw liver.
      Just quietly remind him that’s a wolf in cute doggie clothing that he’s feeding there. 😉

  21. Marti Miller on May 6, 2014 at 8:02 am

    It has been probably 15 years since I used any of the poisons that are sold to prevent heartworms. My dogs are raw fed, and get a heartworm nosode and herbal remedy. This has been been very effective for my crew!

  22. L on May 5, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Thanks, again. I will do what is best for my dog 😉
    Btw: I have been letting others know about your website.

  23. L on May 4, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Well, for one thing, I have never had a bat fly into my house in the over 30 years that I have owned dogs. I really don’t want to think about that, on the rare occasion that I go up and check my attic.
    They said the rabies shot (offered at a site mentioned in the article) was only valid for 1 year. In their defense they did say it shouldn’t be given to a sick dog.
    I worry because I have a dog that was sickly and is now doing well because a lot of the things I have learned here, and I don’t want to jeopardize that by giving any unnecessary vaccines.
    I will most likely consult a homeopathic vet regarding the rabies vaccine sometime in the near future. Is it true there is a thermasol free version for dogs? Is that safer?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 5, 2014 at 4:47 am

      Yeah, the bat part is pretty far fetched. Possible, but the odds of the bat getting into the house, having rabies, and exposing a pet just don’t add up, certainly NOT to yearly vaccinations!
      The largest understanding I’ve come to is “once and done.” Immunity is set in for life after a viral vaccination,if given after 4 mo of age. What you do from there, whether you buy into laws that have anything but sense or your animal’s health behind them, is ultimately your choice.
      Avoiding thimerosol may help, but it wouldn’t have stopped Lily from getting vaccinosis from her sole rabies vaccine.
      Not easy, but a treacherous path that needs to be walked very carefully.
      Best of luck traversing it, L.

  24. L on May 4, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I was wondering what your opinion was on articles like these?
    I find them anxiety provoking. Sorry, a little off topic. Thanks

  25. Laura on April 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I’m 62 and about fed up with our whole system, from healthcare to government. We’re expected to believe what the “experts” say and do what we’re told, then we’re spied on to make sure we do.
    What Dr. Falconer says makes a lot of sense to me. I obediently gave my dog Rimadyl…she died of liver failure (after I spent $7000 attempting to save her). The vets didn’t know what caused it. I have obediently given my dogs the recommended vaccinations.
    One year (2008), my dog Slick got a sudden reaction. His immune system went crazy, attacking his own cells. He almost died…again I spent an inordinate amount of money ($5000). He now gets no vaccinations. Vaccines are definitely not benign.
    I do live in Austin. I think I would like to come see Dr. Falconer. I hate the idea of putting pesticides in my dogs and cats.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 30, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      Argghh, Laura, such hard learned lessons. The good from it is that your mind has been deeply impressed with what the potential for harm is in following the common “prevention” promulgated by conventional medicine.
      More on pesticide alternatives on my Non-Toxic Flea Control page, and info on how I work on the Contact page.
      Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  26. Elle on April 30, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Have followed Dr. Falconer’s heartworm protocol for over 10 years and have never had an incident of the worm in my two dogs. It’s natural, it makes sense, it’s effective, and I’m ever so grateful for the advice.

  27. Deanna on April 29, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Hi Dr Falconer,
    I have had my dogs and cats on a raw diet with supplementation of coconut oil, colostrum or raw goat milk, probiotics, turmeric, ginger, garlic, diatomaceous earth (periodically) for years. The 4 dogs are 8 (2), 7, 6 and the cats are 14. All are in excellent health and test negative annually for HW – and they have not been on any HW meds. I just recently learned about your HW prevention protocol.
    You may remember Poppy – I brought her in to review her case upon Dr Richard Pitcairn’s recommendation several years ago – she was literally a bloody mess with lesions all over her body – she has since regained her full health even if not all her hair! Thank you for being an on-the-scene second pair of eyes for Dr Pitcairn.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 29, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      Sounds good, Deanna, glad you’ve got a healthy bunch there!

  28. Lee on April 29, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Dr. Falconer,
    I have enjoyed and learned a lot from reading your articles. I currently have an 8 yr old male GSD with Deg. Myelopathy, dx’d in September who is on Dr. Clemmon’s protocol (Univ. of Florida). My question is this: Since obviously his immune system is compromised how do I protect him from Heartworms because at this stage I’m sure he would not survive the treatment if he got them? His lab work last week was great with just a slight decrease in his WBC’s but he is currently experiencing horrible skin problems which I think were caused first by Cephalexin and then exaccerbated by Rimadyl. He has lost all the hair on his tummy and all 4 legs and is now losing hair on his face and neck. First they said last summer he had Malasezia and treated him with Ketoconazole and then in December they said he had staph and put him on Cephalexin. Oh, also his skin is turning black everywhere. It’s been black on his tummy for 2 years now. I love Dax more than life itself and would do anything for my boy. With the DM he has little use of his Rt. hind leg and the left is going quickly. Most of the time he just drags himself from place to place. PLEASE if you can offer any advice I would be forever indebted and it would be a blessing I would be forever grateful for. I just lost my 13 1/2 yr old female GSD on Oct. 25, 2013. Neither of my dogs have ever had rabies vacs since the first one at 6 months and have never been on heartworm prevention. For years I have just given Black Walnut as was suggested by an animal herbalist when I lived in Taos, NM in 2002. It scared me so much when I read your post that Black Walnut could be toxic.
    Lee&Dax (my GSD)

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 29, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Lee,
      These guys with DM are nothing if not sad cases. The few I’ve had have just continued to slip slowly but surely into paralysis.
      But I can tell you that heartworm prevention is the very last thing I’d worry about! If you’ve never used it to date, I’d sure not start now, in the face of deteriorating chronic disease.
      There are no short answers or advice to give for chronic disease like DM. Dr. Clemmon’s protocol is the best I know, and I’d couple that with seeking out a veterinary homeopath who’d be willing to prescribe for Dax. Please look for the AVH list on my Resources page and see if someone there would be willing to help you.
      All the best

      • Lee on April 29, 2014 at 7:34 pm

        we only have 2 vets here who call themselves “holistic vets” and they both wanted to give yearly vaccinations to both my dogs. I think that says it all. I would give anything if we had a vet like you here….maybe I’ll move to Austin 🙂
        thanks for taking the time to reply.
        Lee & Dax

  29. Joyce on April 29, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Of all your blog posts to date, this one, is simply beyond stellar.
    It shines like a bright star, on a perfectly dark night. Brilliant!
    Its contents, contain all the necessary ingredients for how to achieve the vital animals we all want to have.
    I strongly encourage everyone to try Dr. Falconer’s drug free heartworm protocol, it works beautifully. Three years now, both of my dogs have tested negative, and I live in what is called an endemic area of North Texas.
    Including my work colleagues, there are 15 dogs altogether, all of us are following this excellent protocol, all testing negative here.
    It is one of the very best decisions I have ever made for my dogs.
    My immense gratitude and heartfelt thanks to you, Dr. Falconer!
    ” We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ” Thornton Wilder
    You Dr. Falconer, are a treasure!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      Why, how sweet of you, Joyce! Thanks for the feedback and unsolicited testimonial as well. I suspect these are some seriously Vital Dogs you’re telling us about. They’ll do much more than resist heartworm, and I suspect you already see that on a regular basis!
      That’s my goal with the protocol, in fact: super health as a “side effect!”

    • Riane on July 15, 2018 at 11:05 pm


      Do you use the heartworm nosodes along with everything else?

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