Heartworm disease is best prevented than treated. It is much easier to use a heartworm preventative, such as low dose Ivermectin that has been used extremely safely for decades (even in the “Ivermectin sensitive” breeds).
Heartworm disease can be deadly at worst and cause long-term damage to the heart and pulmonary vasculature even when treated. Consult whenever possible the AHS (American Heartworm Society) guideline and review their protocol on including Adulticide (Melarsomine). If it is not possible to follow that protocol, the slow kill is better than doing nothing, but this is not recommended as the first line of therapy. The slow kill method will cause a lot of further and continued damage to the dog’s heart and vessels.
According to the American Heartworm Society:
- The slow kill treatment is less effective than the adulticide treatment recommended by the AHS and may not eliminate all the worms—even after 18 months or more of treatment.
- During the lengthy waiting period, the worms in the dog’s body will continue to damage the heart, lungs, and pulmonary vasculature.
- Strict exercise restriction is needed for the entire time that the animal harbors worms.
- Risk for selection of resistant heartworm populations is increased.