Meet Leonardo (Leo), a young French Bulldog who visited the clinic for a routine nose to tail physical exam with Dr. Klemawesch. During the exam Mom mentioned that for as long as she could remember Leo would vomit after drinking water. Upon hearing this Dr. K ordered a series of blood tests and radiographs which uncovered the cause of Leo’s problem. Unfortunately, Dr. Klemawesch confirmed that he had tested positive for heartworm disease and needed to begin treatment as soon as possible.
Heartworm disease can be deadly, and the treatment is a lengthy one where close monitoring is important. To completely remove the adult and young heartworms already present in the safest manner possible, Pinellas Animal Hospital follows the treatment plan laid out by the American Heartworm Society.
Leo’s mom consented to the treatment plan and was given strict instructions to keep him quiet and restrict him to a small area, preferably crated, at all times. Leo must also be kept on a leash when going outside to avoid any exertion, as this could result in severe complications and prove deadly. These restrictions need to continue throughout the entire treatment period which covers a span of 270 days from the start of treatment to the final checkup.
During the first appointment, Leo was given a preventative to help kill the immature heartworms and prevent new infections from developing along with an antibiotic for 30 days to kill the bacteria that live in the heartworms.
Two months after starting heartworm prevention, Leo received his first injection of immiticide, the drug that kills adult heartworms and stayed in the clinic overnight for observation. The following day he was prescribed anti-inflammatory medication to help with side effects and reduce the swelling at the injection site and sent home to rest.
One month later, after that first injection, Leo returned to stay for two more nights where he received two additional injections of immiticide, which were given 24 hours apart. This completed the medical treatment side of Leo’s cure. Over the next few months, he would return for 3 more medical progress exams, with a heartworm test being performed on the final visit. Once this test shows negative, it will conclude the full treatment process and Leo will be confirmed free of heartworm disease.
Leo ‘s family is so happy that he is able to resume his regular lifestyle and get back to his normal playful self. They have also vowed to give him his heartworm prevention every month to prevent this from ever happening again.
Remember, all it takes is one mosquito bite for your pet to contract heartworm disease. Giving a once monthly heartworm pill will keep your pet safe and give you peace of mind that your pet is protected from this deadly disease! If your pet is not taking heartworm prevention call us on 727-546-0005 to schedule an appointment today to get your pet tested and started on one of our doctor recommended preventions.
If you would like to learn more about how heartworm disease is contracted, treated and prevented, follow this link to the American Heartworm Society webpage : https://www.heartwormsociety.org/