Heartworm Prevention

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Most veterinarians will recommend giving a daily or monthly pill to prevent heartworms, but in actuality you are administering a drug on a regular basis that is designed to stop the "baby heartworms" from becoming adults. This is not an accurate definition of prevention. These drugs contain chemical insecticides. Administered over a period of time, the toxic side-effects become a serious health risk.

Side effects listed for heartworm preventative drugs are: vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and weakness. These pills weaken your pet's immune system which recognizes the chemicals as poison. The body works hard to eliminate the toxins and major organs, like the liver and kidneys, are taxed. For this reason, the pet's body is not able to handle contact with the normal bacterial or viral substances in our world, so it gets sick more easily.

Part of the veterinary industry has acknowledged these dangers. These "alternative vets" are open to natural, safe and effective alternatives. Many of these vets believe that the long-term use of heartworm prevention drugs are a link in the chain of diseases such as arthritis, liver and kidney diseases, skin allergies, and many types of degenerative problems. Read an article by Dr. Jeffrey Levy, DVM, PCH.

The cause of heartworms is mosquitoes. For dogs, and sometimes cats, they can cause life-threatening problems because they transmit heartworms. These are parasites that enter the bloodstream as larvae and migrate to the heart. Six months after reaching the heart, the larvae turn into adults, and that's when problems begin. Full-grown heartworms eventually fill the heart, blocking flow of blood to the lungs and doing damage to the heart. By the time you see symptoms, they've already done damage to the heart.

Mosquitoes still bite animals on heartworm pills. The key is to get the blood of the pet in a healthy enough condition that the mosquitoes won't want it. Mosquitoes are a parasite. Herbs that have anti-parasitic properties will discourage not only mosquitoes, but fleas and ticks also. Geranium is an essential oil that repels mosquitos, ticks and fleas and can be used on dogs.

Directions for Geranium Use
Pure Geranium Essential Oil is very powerful and effective. If used alone for a flea spray, we suggest you put no more than 4 drops per half cup of water and keep it refrigerated. Shake before spraying a light spritz on the pets fur. No need to make the fur all wet, the bugs are repelled from the scent of it. Do not get in the eyes, nose or mouth. View more pet essential oil recipes.     
Herbs such as Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), Clove Flower Buds (Eugenia caryophyllata), Garlic (Allium sativum), Spearmint Herb (Mentha spicata), Turmeric Root (Curcuma longa), Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), and Wormwood (Artemisia annua) are examples of what can be used to formulate an effective preventative and as part of a treatment program.

Dogs and cats have their own way of protecting themselves from mosquitoes. They instinctively avoid the hot, muggy places where mosquitoes congregate and spend time in the cool, dry areas. They will also roll in the dust or even mud to remove moisture from the skin and change their scent, to be less attractive to mosquitoes.

Here are a few comments from veterinarians from the book: New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats: Over 1,000 at-Home Solutions for Your Pet's Problems

Dr. Michelle Tilghman, D.V.M. says, "Strengthen [your pet's] resistance with whole foods. Dogs and cats are more likely to resist heartworms when they are given all-natural foods, which help keep the immune system strong. If you don't want to make their foods at home, use a commercial food that is free of additives and preservatives." Read about
Flint River Natural Pet Foods.

Dr. Mona Boudreaux, D.V.M. says, "Give [your pet] garlic. This pungent herb repels mosquitoes, cleanses the blood, and strengthens the immune system. Dogs over 50 pounds can have as much as two teaspoons of garlic a day, and smaller dogs can have 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon a day. Garlic can be a problem for cats, so don't give them too much. A safe limit is 1/8 teaspoon or less a day for up to two weeks at a time."

Picture (Metafile)
Comments from Robin - Bandit's Mom:
Heartworm prevention requires a multi-faceted approach which includes not exposing your dog to mosquitos as much as possible. Bandit is an inside dog and I've been successful with a preventative program, but would not recommend this for dogs who are kept outside because they have increased exposure and are thus at higher risk.

To provide as much protection as possible from mosquitos, we use cedar mulch in the area where Bandit does his "business." We make sure there is no standing water for the mosquitoes to breed. Prior to leaving the house and again upon returning after play or "business," I spray Bandit with an essential oil spray which I make up and keep by the door. The mist is made of 1 cup of water with 4 drops of Tea Tree Oil and 4 drops of Lavender Oil. Shake before spraying. I use this on myself as a great bug repellant. Nice and safe with no worries of toxic chemicals on the skin. Garlic Barrier is a natural mosquito barrier for your yard and garden with added benefits.

Keeping your pet parasite free, whether it's heartworms or other parasites, requires a good quality pet food. I recommend Flint River Ranch because it's real food and it's guaranteed to please. You can't keep parasites away when you're feeding them "food" that's made from beaks, feet, blood and tumors. Please read what's in pet food. It will save a lot of vet visits.

We do not recommend people go off their heartworm medications unless they agree to do so with their vet.
Bandit is working on his third year of being clear of heartworms.
The Preventative Program that Bandit and others use consists of three products:
Artemisia Combination - This is used like a monthly de-wormer.

HSII - This is used to keep the heart strong. It can be given every few days or at least once a week.

Black Walnut - This is a great nutrition booster helping metabolism and keeping the animal less desireable by parasites [fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes].

We cannot prescribe for others.

What Bandit's mom recommends to other HEALTHY DOGS who use the same program is this:
Under 5 lbs - 1/4 capsule Artemisia and a sprinkle of Black Walnut capsule
[equivalent to an eighth of the capsule]
10-25 lbs - 2 capsules Artemisia and 1/4 capsule Black Walnut
25-50 lbs - 2-3 capsules Artemisia and 1/2 capsule Black Walnut
50 lbs and over - 3 capsules Artemisia and 1/2 capsule Black Walnut
If you have a dog that is not in good health, we advise that you check with your veterinarian before using the program. The amounts aren't as critical as when you are working with a dog that has heartworms.

Bandit's Prevention Program - How It Works for Him - Read carefully so you can understand how the program works.
During the first week of each month [for 7 days]:
He gets one (1)
Artemesia first thing in the morning and one (1) in the evening [as close to 12 hours apart as possible] on an empty stomach [as much as possible] so the properties have a chance to kill parasites without having to be blended with a full meal. Most dogs have no problems with this formula on an empty stomach. If your dog does, you can give as much food as necessary with it, but this is a rare necessity. This is like a monthly de-wormer.

He gets one (1) HSII every morning to strengthen the heart since heartworms do damage. If your dog hasn't had heartworms, this doesn't need to be added. [Additional note: For the first year after the herbal heartworm treatment, I used two (2) HSII a day and one CoQ10 to continue to build his heart for the damage that was done.

Given all month long:
Four to five (4-5) days each week [for me it's Monday-Friday], I put
Black Walnut in his water and all three of my pets drink from that, so I recommend capsules to others so the amount can be more controlled. If I were using capsules, I would give Bandit 1/4 of a capsule each day on his food.

I've found that most pets like Black Walnut. A little bit of Black Walnut goes a long way, so be sure to adjust this according to weight like the rest of the program.

Another thing to consider is if you are in a climate area that has a winter and a period of time where there are no mosquitos. Vets generally do not tell you to use heartworm medication at that time of the year. I don't bother to use the spritzer at that time of the year, but I still do the herbal program because Black Walnut is such a healthy supplement and the Artemisia keeps him parasite free.

This program has kept my dog worm free for three annual checkups after he had heartworms and I used the natural heartworm program rather than the chemical treatment. Please use wisdom and common sense in deciding whether the natural approach is for you and your pet family. Since the herbal way is less expensive than the drugs, please be sure you make the investment to have your dog tested annually.

WARNING: Do NOT multiply dosages according to weight of your dog. Please ask for assistance when determining your pet's program. We cannot prescribe but we have somebody on staff dedicated to helping you with this program. The success of what you do may depend on getting a few specific answers for your dog.