Jilly Bean has been taking an antibiotic called minocycline for a month. This antibiotic is helpful in killing the bacteria around the heart, and in turn, weakening the heartworms. On May 14, Jilly received her first injection to kill the adult worms, called immiticide, deep in her muscle. You can see the area on her back where they shaved the hair to prepare for the injection in the photo above. Because the injection is deep, it is also painful and Jilly has been taking pain meds to make her more comfortable and reduce the swelling.
Jill will need to be on restricted activity for 30 days, to help prevent the dead worms from blocking her lungs. She will receive two more immiticide injections in June and be on restricted activity again.
As we care for Jill, we are learning more about heartworms. Here are some facts from the America Heartworm Society …
1. Nearly 100% of dogs bitten by infected mosquitoes become infective.
2. Heartworms can live 5-7 years in a dog.
3. It’s not uncommon to find more than 30 worms in an infected dog and the worms can grow to be 12 inches.