I have a 5 y/o 8lb dog that was diagnosed with heart worms last week. She says that she can pretty much guarantee he had them already when I adopted him. His case isn't advanced but isn't mild either. The medication to treat is not available and date of availability is completely unknown. So...I've been researching alternative treatments but there are 2 problems:
1. They are way too expensive
2. They have the exact same problem that the conventional treatment does: The dog is at risk of dying from the treatment as the adult heart worms die.
The treatments I have found are herbal and most contain black walnut and artemesia which are very toxic. I asked the vet and she said she's known people who have tried these and she's never seen it work. She's also seen 2 dogs die from the herbs...of course, dogs die from the arsenic in conventional treatment too.
A friend told me about a treatment using Guinness Black Label beer...saying it must be the one in glass bottles imported from Ireland. You use one ounce per 25lbs; so one six pack would last a very very long time. At first I laughed at this...but started researching. Everything on the web about this goes back to ONE post. I cannot find studies or anything else about it. The agent that kills (or prevents) the heartworms is the hops. So, I started researching hops. I know hops is supposed to be toxic to dogs, however that is the actual spent grain left over after brewing. The tiny amount of alcohol involved would not hurt the dog either. What I found was very interesting. There is actually a compound in hops that has anti-cancer and anti-parasitic activity. Apparently hops has been used in Europe and Asia for centuries for many medicinal purposes and is also used by Native Americans. Has anybody ever heard of treating heartworms with Guinness? Any input on this? Does anyone know of any other treatments out there?
The vet has him on what is called a slow-kill program where he gets ivermectin monthly, doxycycline every 3 months and steroids every 3 months. They have found a bacteria called Wolbachia that lives symbiotically in heart worms and this is what causes a lot of the inflammation and illness with heart worms...hence the doxycycline. Right now, this is the program I am probably going to continue due to pocket book restraints....unless someone can convince me the beer might work! I don't like going conventional; however, he's got the heart worms. The risk to the dog is death as the adults die...this risk is the same regardless of the agent used to kill the worms. I'm not willing to sit back and not treat him at all. Anyway, thanks for any input