Heartworm Disease

LUCY LOU - Education

Lucy~Lou was a neglect case that ended her up at Animal Control. Her first vet visit weighed her in at a measly 32 pounds; a female Boxer should be 50 pounds and up! She also tested positive for Heartworms (transmitted by mosquitos). This baby girl had a bacterial infection and several parasites that are comon for dogs out on the street. The gray patches on Lucy’s hindquarter are skin callouses from her emaciated body resting on the concrete or hard surface. The goal for Lucy~Lou’s foster parents was to get her up to strength and a healthy weight for the series of heartworm treatments.

After Lucy~Lou’s body was clear of the minor parasites and her weight was up to 41 pounds, she began her first heartworm treatment. This carries over for a course of three months. The heartworms live off of Lucy’s heart tissue shown in the picture below. This could have been prevented with proper heartworm preventative given by a responsible pet owner.

One month of vetting and a lot of TLC, and Lucy~Lou is enjoying toys and playing like a puppy! Her exercise still needs to be kept to a minimum even after her treatments are completed. Slowly she can start exercising the heart muscle and build up her agility. June will mark Lucu~Lou’s second heartworm treatment, and we will have more updates.

Four months of treatment and plenty of atention from her Mommy, Lucy Lou is mostly rehabilitated!


Most dogs infected with heartworm can be successfully treated. The goal of treatment is to kill all adult worms with an adulticide and all microfilariae with a microfilaricide. It is important to try to accomplish this goal with a minimum of harmful effects from drugs and a tolerable degree of complications created by the dying heartworms. Heartworm infected dogs showing no signs or mild signs have a high success rate with treatment. Patients with evidence of more severe heartworm disease can be successfully treated, but the possibility of complications and mortality is greater. The presence of severe heartworm disease within a patient in addition to the presence of other life-threatening diseases may prevent treatment for heartworm infection.

For more information on Canine Heartworm Disease see
The American Heartworm Society

HeartWorm Disease In Dogs




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