Heartworm Treatment in Dogs
Complicated by Tick Borne Illness Co Infections

This page is dedicated to rescue Pointer, Loren and rescue Setter, Wally-- may you both be resting in peace.

Heartworm GOFUNDME

With the high incidence of tick borne disease in our heartworm positive rescue birddog population- Illinois Birddog Rescue had to come up with a better, safer treatment option that didn't include cyanide poison being injected into these animals already suffering from liver and kidney trauma. The Heartworm SLOW KILL Method was the answer- used by many vets across the country and many of our attending vets have been pleasantly surprised at the results!

STEP ONE: BLOODWORK; Complete Blood Count & Chemistry, IDEXX 371 IFA Serology to look for Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Heartworm Antigen to confirm Heartworm antibodies. Fecal and deworm. Start weight appropriate Heartguard or Iverheart to start killing microfilaria (repeat every 2 weeks) and treat with weight appropriate doxycycline for suspected tick borne disease and to weaken the adult worms. No exercise restriction. No long term cage confinement. NO STEROIDS!!!!

STEP TWO: Depending on what antibodies for tick borne disease show up, consider adding additional antibiotics- amoxicillin for Lyme disease, baytril or cipro for Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever infections along with the doxycycline. If first 371 tick panel is negative continue with twice a month heartguard and doxy and REPEAT the 371 at the 2 month mark. Usually 2 months of antibiotics is enough to boost the dog's immune system and follow up 371 may reveal low troubling titers for co infections but may not reveal all. Best to wait until the dog is on antibiotics for at least 2 months before considering spay or neuter. A follow up CBC/Chem would be recommended before any surgery and compared with the first set of blood work.

STEP THREE: Continue with the twice a month Heartguard/Iverheart and antibiotics for the next 8-22 months or however long it takes to get a negative heartworm result. We like to repeat the Heartworm antigen every 6 months and many dogs are negative under a year most under 18 months. However- the tick borne diseases may not be curable so follow up 371 screening along with annual CBC/Chems are highly recommended for the long term health of the pet. Some follow up 371's may also reveal hiding diseases so best to swtich up antibiotics to be more affective. We have placed many dogs into foster to adopt with this method.

Lisa's Disclaimer- I am not a DVM, but in 18 years of dog rescue, I have seen the best the veterinary community has to offer and the worst. The last 15 years in pet rescue has been quite the education and I publish pages like this one to offer a better alternative to the horrible Immiticide/cyanide based treatment protocol many vets promote. Most vets are not aware that the IDEXX 4DX or Antech Accuplex snap test misses most tick borne infections. The thoughtful care in treating these dogs with hearts full of worms besides several tick borne diseases that are attacking their internal organs besides- has to be taken into consideration. Once the adult worms are dead and gone-- the tick borne disease issue persists. Since we started slow kill-- we don't have to rush dogs to the ER post injections and we are not dealing with some of the psychotic behavior episodes many of these dogs go through post Immitide treatment. The steroid injection used in combination with the Immiticide treatment lowers the dog's immune system and that is part of the problem. The best thing about slow kill is we can move these dogs into foster to adopt where we can monitor their care while they are in the loving arms of their new families.

We are very grateful for the support of our attending vets to help us get the good lab work and antibiotics to help these dogs in our program. We are also grateful to our foster homes and foster to adopt homes that help these dogs recover.

IBR's Slow Kill Method Flyer


In early February, 2018, I heard about Olivia's need for rescue from an over crowded shelter in North Carolina. She was extremely underweight (28lbs), and was dealing with some terrible skin infection complicated by mange. I was told she was heartworm positive and I knew she was going to have tick borne disease besides. I worked so hard to get her out of the shelter in time- working with volunteer pilots to fly her west with a pit stop with a friend and adopter in Pittsburgh, PA. There is a terrible smell that accompanies a dog with this much going on and Olivia really was in rough shape. She did see a vet in North Carolina that did a 3DX snap test that did show Ehrlichia, but she wasn't willing to get her started on doxycycline or any heartguard to start killing the heartworm larvae. I was shocked and disappointed but knew once she came to town I would get the full support of our vet. Olivia was such a trouper about the weekly medicated Ketohex shampoos and I worked hard to make sure she ate to get her medications. Her treatment plan included the following procedures starting February 19th, 2018: STEP 1: Twice a month heartguard.
STEP 2: 200mg doxy and 150mg clindamycin am with food and 200mg doxy and 250mg Cipro pm with food.
STEP 3: Mitaban collar for the Demodectic mange. This is not easy to find anymore- but it does work!
STEP 4: 3/3-2018 CBC/Chem and IDEXX 371 Tick Panel, T4 and Heartworm Antigen (Positive)-- revealed Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever with Dr. John Rimkunas.

Dr. John suggested switching her to Cephalexin for the skin infections- but Olivia stopped eating. After 2 months on the doxy/clindamycin, doxy/cipro medications, Olivia became a little incontinent. We have seen that as a side affect of cipro so she was switched to 250mg amoxicillin. After 4 month when her skin was clear and most of her hair was growing back- she moved to a maintenence dose of 200mg doxycycline/ 500mg amoxicillin once a day continuing the twice a month heartguard. As the Mitaban collar was done being useful, she was switched to a scalibor collar for fleas and ticks.

STEP 5: 2/15/2019 repeat CBC/Chem and IDEXX Tick Panel, T4 and Heartworm Antigen (Negative)--still positive for Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. 100% hair growth- 40lbs. She also has feathers on all her feet much like a Clydesdale! I never had a doubt that when I saw her first photos that I could help her recover because of IBR's Heartworm Slow Kill program and also because of our education into long term tick borne disease treatment. She is a special girl and will be doing adoption events and she is so very sweet with everyone she meets.


Heartworm GOFUNDME



In early June I was contacted about taking in 7 English Setters from living a life of misery in southern Illinois. Their owner was very ill and they needed help. As the pictures started coming in, I knew I had to line up foster homes fast. Many were tied up with chains and a few others were confined to cages above ground where they had to pee and defecate over the bars. On June 11th, the first 3 girls came on transport, and they were all in rough shape-- very thin, dirty; and one Mamasita had a terrible wound on her front left leg and 2 huge mammary masses besides an eye infection. All of the dogs were a bit reactive and stressed. I immediately took them to my vet and we did bloodwork which included a Complete Blood Count and Chemistry, tick serology and 4DX snap test. They were all updated on their vaccinations too. Sadly all three girls-- Mamsita, Gracie and Liz Beth were heartworm positive. Unfortunately, all 3 also tested positive for Lyme disease. So we started them in our heartworm slow kill treatment plan, which also includes antibiotics to help with the Lyme disease. On June 18th, Grimm and Dorothea came up on transport and also got their vetting updated. Both are also infected with heartworms and Lyme diseases. Both also started in our heartworm slow kill program. These dogs lived secluded lives, and everything was new to them. Mamasita-- especially was very irritable, was very reactive to any dogs coming near her and some of the other dogs were a little snarky. Our foster homes hung in there, and after several weeks of antibiotics, most of the aggression is gone, and their true sweet personalities are coming through. ALL of Mamasita's crabbiness is gone-- she is feeling so much better. It's gratifying to see them all starting to feel better. Her natural instincts are also beginning to kick in as she started pointing.

Sadly, Mamasita's recovery is going to be complicated. First, she needs to be strong enough for surgery, especially with the heartworm and Lyme diagnosis. We will be doing chest x-rays hoping that the cancer has not metastasized anywhere else in her body. Second, it will take months or even more than a year for her to test negative for heartworms. Third, Lyme disease is not curable but manageable, and once she gets through the significant parts of her treatment plan, I will need to find a thoughtful adopter that will give her the best care for the rest of her life. The vetting expenses to help 1 of these special dogs will be over $1,000 each. Mamasita's expenses will be much more with the mammary surgery and x-rays. We need a lot of help with fundraising to help these dogs recover so we can continue to help so many more in need. Thanks, Lisa

Mamasita's Recovery Page
Gracie's Recovery Page
Liz Beth's Recovery Page
Grimm's Recovery Page
Dorothea's Recovery Page

UPDATE/ September: We were able to bring in 6 out of the 7 Setters by August. All are now receiving care in our heartworm slow kill program. The last is being cared for by their former owner's son. Going into treatment month #3, the original 6 are doing well. Mamasita is a month post her mammary surgery and what a relief that is over. Only 1 of the 6- Gracie is in Foster to Adopt. I am hopeful we can find new homes for the other 5 in the next few weeks. They are ALL grateful to be living indoors and have adjusted so well-- especially with house training and enjoying being loved on and cuddles. We still need a lot of support via donations for their care.

Momma Allyson- Special Mississippi Super Mutt

9-18-2021: New beautiful photos of our sweet Momma Allyson. We had her bloodwork done and she was really fighting an infection. We knew she was sickly upon arrival as she was panting and pacing. We always start our new dogs on antibiotics and thank goodness as she is fighting at least Rocky Mountain spotted fever. You can see in the new photos how much better she must be feeling.

9-05-2021: FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY Momma Allyson is here from central Mississippi. Pilot Nanji did his first ever Pilots n Paws mission in the family Suburban twin engine plane. Kimi Fuller helped find volunteers to move her north this am and Janet Cordell Skillern drove 5+ hours into Illinois from northern Mississippi. I'll post more pictures soon, but what a special dog. She is the momma of the A-Team litter and the little black puppy that needs open heart surgery. Allyson also has heartworms. She's so sweet and playful, so glad she is here for her bloodwork and extra TLC.

Heartworm GOFUNDME

Clemmie- A Mississippi Stray Lucky To Be Alive

Clemmie's GOFUNDME

Clemmie is a little Mississippi Super Mutt that wandered onto the property of foster family Janet and Sam's farm on August 28th. He had a gaping wound on his back end and was in obvious pain and was very thin and hungry. X-rays at his vet appointment on the 30th showed he had a bullet shattered near the wound and he was also full of buckshot. Someone was trying to kill him. Bloodwork also revealed he was infected with heart-worms. With some good antibiotics and pain meds, Clemmie is feeling a lot better and his wound is also healing nicely. He'll always have a patch of skin without hair on his lower back and he'll always set off metal detectors. He could have possible hip dysplasia so we will be consulting with an orthopedic surgeon after we get him settled in the Chicago area.

Clemmie's Recovery Page


Sally Sweetie Pie- Tri Color and White Beagle

06-2022: Sally is heartworm free!

Sally is a sweet sweet sweet 4-6 year old Beagle that has suffered some neglect. She was found as a stray in Southern Illinois and we are so happy to have her in our program. Besides the heartworms she is also fighting 2 tick borne diseases- Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever but doing well in our Heartworm Slow Kill program. We hope to find her a wonderful Foster to Adopt home.

Sally's Recovery Page

Heartworm GOFUNDME

Allyson's Recovery Page

Churchill- Senior Coonhound

06-22-2022: Churchill is heartworm free!!

9-20-2021: Churchill has been getting lots of TLC in foster care the last 3 months and he is having his neuter, dental, mast cell tumor removal and x-rays this coming Friday. Heartworm slow kill has been going well and we wanted to take our time and build him up especially with his 3 tick borne diseases that would benefit from longer term treatment. He sure looks comfy on his dog bed. He is also house trained now.

6-15-2021: WELCOME CHURCHILL to IBR's program. I have been pulling dogs and puppies and a few kitties from the Lawrenceville shelter for over 10 years. Emails come over every week of animals in need of rescue. No one was coming to Scooby's rescue and no one was coming to help Churchill. I tried for weeks to find a foster home and finally we were able to bring him in. Churchill is the SWEETEST dog. He is even more handsome since he got a much needed shampoo. He's 87's of Houndie squishiness- maybe 6-8 years old. Sadly and not a surprise, he has heartworms and Lyme disease. He also has swollen testicles, a double ear infection, double eye infection and a patch if skin under his belly that could just be a callous from laying on concrete. He has a little arthritis but he loves his daily walks. Churchill is GREAT with other dogs and even wants to play with the foster mom's cat. He has already started heartworm slow kill and we hope to find him a wonderful home that will love him the rest of his life.

Churchill's Recovery Page

Charlie- Senior Yellow Labrador

11-07-2021: Best news ever!! After 7 months in our new heart worm slow kill program, Charlie tested negative. He was treated the 1st of the month with heartguard and the 15th of the month with Advangtage Multi/Advocate. He was also treated with doxycycline and amoxicillin the first 3 months into slow kill and doxycycline all throughout his care plus immune system boosters and supplements. We did find Rocky Mountain spotted fever after his 3rd IDEXX 371 IFA serology.

4-29-2021: I've been updating Charlie's progress at his Facebook Recovery Page. He is doing so well in such a short time. We would love some support for this very special dog.

4-4-2021: Charlie is a 12- 14 year old senior Yellow Labrador that was found as a stray south of Springfield, IL. He has suffered some neglect and besides being very underweight, he is also infected with heartworms. He also has a few rough patches of infected skin and 2 infected ears. Blood work revealed he was anemic and we suspect he has Lyme disease and he does have a mid grade heart murmur. X-rays showed a little arthritis.

Charlie's Recovery Page

Madison- Lemon & White Pointer

Madison tested negative for heartworms at about 20 months with the Moxi/Doxy slow-kill program. Madison is a senior Pointer found as a stray near Madisonville, KY. We aren't sure of his actual age- but my best guess is 10 or older. He is a very sweet boy considering his neglect which includes terrible dental disease and he also has heartworms. Blood work will look for the condition of his immune system and we'll also see how his overall health is including how his liver and kidneys are functioning. We will also be looking for any immune compromising tick borne disease which is common in the birddogs we bring into the program.

With a senior dog and heartworms, we will be taking our time with his care by doing IBR's Heartworm Slow Kill Program. This treatment plan is much easier on the dogs- especially senior dogs that have additional health complications. We anticipate the following expenses: Bloodwork- $230
Dental with extractions and x-rays- $500
Heartworm slow kill supplies- $300 (for 6 months)

Anytime we accept a senior dog into our program, we know it is going to be a huge expense and we hope some of our friends can pitch in for his care. I promised Madison when I put him in my car after his transport that his life was going to get better. We appreciate any help to get Madi better. Thanks so much!!

Here is his Facebook Album that we will update while he is in foster care. We hope we can raise some much needed $$ for his care.

Little Mixed Breed Puppy Cosette- She's got a Long Way to Go

Cosette tested negative for heartworms at about 18 months with the Moxi/Doxy slow-kill program. Cosette is a little 20lbs mixed breed puppy that was in danger of being put to sleep in an over-crowded Southern Illinois shelter. I was told her family abandoned her and left her tied out at her old home- so sad. There was also just something endearing about her and I thought she would be a pretty easy pup to find a new home for. Thanks to Pilot Steve, she was flown north on Saturday May 18th. Upon arrival to the rescue we were shocked with how many ticks she had around her face and on her ears. Cosette also had a strange bunny hop when she ran. Before we could do x-rays we were also saddened to learn she had heartworms and 2 tick borne diseases- Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If that wasn't bad enough x-rays revealed that little Cosette had a broken leg that had started to heal on its own and surgery is not an option to make it right. She may always have a limp and some arthritis when she is older- but she is just a super happy little dog and we are happy to help her get better with all her issues. Thankfully we found a great foster to adopt home for her and they are doing their best to have her rest while that leg heals. She is a puppy and has a lot of energy now that the tick borne diseases and heartworms are being treated in our Slow Kill program- so it will be a challenge. We hope that you can help this special little girl get better. Here is her Facebook Album that we will update while she is in foster care.

Isn't he so handsome? Kyle formerly Apolo (Anton Ohno) was found running at large in southern Illinois with a 20' telephone cable wrapped around his neck. He was lucky he didn't strangle. He was brought to an animal control on 12-22-2017. Sadly he has heartworms and we are sure he also has at least Lyme disease. He has started the IBR Heartworm Slow Kill program and is doing well in foster care. He has a little bit of a cough running outside and as you can see from his photos, he is a bit thin and has a sway back. With a lot of TLC, he is going to recover and make the best companion. We are looking for a Foster to Adopt home to help him recover but in the mean time, we would appreciate any donations for his care.

Please follow Apolo's progress here.

Three Special Lemon Pointers From Kentucky

I got word of these 3 Lemon Field Bred Pointers in September of 2017 and I tried so hard to line up foster homes but it took me a few months. All 3 were dumped near a river in Kentucky 2 months before in July and the shelter had no luck finding them homes when they contacted me. Finally, in December I was able to bring up Holly and sadly she was positive for Heartworms, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Next I brought in Eddie the Eagle in early January, 2018 and again he was positive for Heartworms, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Due to some weather issues, it took me a couple more weeks to bring up Queen Victoria and I broke into tears when I saw the condition she was in. We knew she had heartworms, but her teeth were in the worst condition, inflamed and she was in obvious pain. She also had yeasty wax filled ears and it looks like she is losing her eye sight. The oldest of the 3, she really needed to come in so much sooner.

We guess that Eddie is the youngest at maybe 2-4 years old. Holly is maybe 5-7 years old but Queen Victoria is more than likely 10-12 or older. Check out a recent video of this special lady. All of them are so sweet but to take in 3 heartworm positive dogs with tick borne complications will be a huge expense to our rescue at easily $1200 a piece during the course of treatment and Victoria's dental will be another $400 besides. We really need a lot of support and any donation - no matter what size would be appreciated.

UPDATE: We sadly lost Queen Victoria to cancer complications in December of 2018. She knew about unconditional love for 11 short months and we miss her very much.

Victoria's Recovery Album.

Holly's first tick panel in December of 2018 showed Rocky Mountain spotted fever. She moved to foster care and her foster family fell in love and she found her forever home where they continued her care. In January of 2019, Holly was still HW+ but her new tick panel revealed Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and RMSF. We often see diseases that were hiding first testing show up when the dogs are stronger and feeling better. We started Holly on the new Advantage Multi program and in August of 2019, Holly was heartworm negative.

Holly's Recovery Album.

Please follow Eddie's progress here.

Here are their original shelter photos from 2017.


Sonya came into our program the summer of 2017 from a shelter in southern Illinois. She moved to foster care and her family decided to give her a forever home and continue her care. We did find that she was also infected with Lyme disease and while she was heartworm free in 2019, the Lyme disease will need to be treated the rest of her life.

Dewberry came into our program in the Spring of 2018 from nearly being killed in an over-crowded shelter in southern Illinois. He was emaciated and had bite wounds all over his body. It took 2 tick panels to find his tick borne diseases. His foster family soon made him a part of their family and continued his care. Dewie was heartworm negative in July to 2019.

Darby came into IBR's program in March of 2017 and quickly moved to foster to adopt with a wonderful family in the Chicago suburbs that helped with her heartworm slow kill treatment. Her first tick panel showed Lyme disease, the following year Rocky Mountain spotted fever showed up. At the 2 year mark she was heartworm negative. She could have been sooner- but we usually test annually. YAY.

We heard about Colter needing a rescue in the Spring of 2016. This handsome boy's life was in danger in an over crowded shelter in Southern, Illinois. Colter's first tick panel via Texas A & M was negative but 6 months later and after months of proactive antibiotics shows via the IDEXX 371 showed Ehrlichia and Lyme disease. This is why we test, treat and retest all through Slow Kill.
"From Jill Hack Brodkey- Colter's adoptive momma: Our experience with slow kill was that it was so easy. Knox was negative in 11 months, maybe sooner if I had him tested earlier. The best part was that he could just be a dog & didn't have to be restricted in any way. We're having the same experience with our new pup Colter. If we didn't tell anyone that he was hw+, no one would suspect it! Our vet was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was on our first hw+ dog. Luckily she is very open to new ideas in treatment especially considering the Lyme disease and coinfections."

Petunia is a cute little beagle we pulled from a Tennessee shelter. She was a very sick camper when she came into the program fighting at least Lyme disease. She started to feel so much better in foster to adopt and was heartworm negative at about the 2 year mark.

Addie came to us in December of 2015. She was in a high kill shelter in Southern Illinois. Upon arrival to foster care-- she was a very frightened sickly dog. The longer and more aggressive we treated for her Lyme disease. the more confident she got and she is BRILLIANT at the dog park. She comes when called and is smart in her hunting abilities. Addie became heartworm negative in March of 2018

Wilbur is a Treeing Walker Coonhound and he came into the IBR program in early July 2016 after being saved the same day he was going to be killed in an over crowded shelter in Arkansas. Upon arrival to foster care, Wilbur still had engorged ticks on him. He was started on antibiotics right away and a 4DX snap test came across negative for heartworm, anaplasma, ehrlichia and Lyme disease. As we know the 4DX is not reliable for the proper diagnosis of tick borne disease, after a few weeks on antibiotics and at the time of his neuter after he gained a few pounds, the IDEXX 371 revealed Ehrlichia @1:100, Lyme @1:100 and RMSF @1:800. We also did a CBC/Chem that revealed a few red flags in his blood work-- but under the circumstances, not surprising. Wilbur was doing well in foster care although still a bit frightened of the men in the home-- but he learned to socialize and found a good playmate in another adopted Beagle in the home.

In 8 weeks of foster care, he gained weight and also got some confidence. A couple put a deposit on him about 2 weeks after I posted his new photos on the adoption pages. They were moving from TN to IL and asked his foster mom to hold onto him for them- which she did, but the longer she held onto him the more she got attached. She cried for days and days after she finalized his adoption and a little over a week after they took him, she got a text from the adopter stating Wilbur was tested for heartworm via the same 4DX and was positive for that and Ehrlichia. Now in pre-adoption phone calls I always talk about tick borne disease and we went over the labs with the wife and explained the 3 diseases that we were treating for. I know that the 4DX has issues being accurate with tick borne disease-- and I have heard from other folks in 15 years of dog rescue that the heartworm portion is not always accurate either.

When the foster mom got the text-- She immediately contacted me and called them back. Sadly, they didn't return her call-- just a text that followed that he was having x-rays the next day. Of course we were very concerned and my greatest fear was that the vet was going to start him on prednisone/steriods and when we got Wilbur back a few days later-- there was the bottle of pred. In the 3 days Wilbur was on the pred, the new owner complained that Wilbur didn't sleep and he was peeing all over. It says clearly on the bottle that pred will cause increased thirst and urination. Wilbur was not the same dog we handed over and it took him several days for him to come out of his steroid haze. We were lucky to get him back and as we are going to repeat the heartworm antigen test again, he's technically been on slow kill the last 2 months anyways although the steroids have set him back.

I am ANGRY that the foster mom who has decided to adopt Wilbur had to go through this and also incredibly ANGRY that Wilbur suffered from veterinary ignorance. I called the attending vet after Wilbur's return and it was just a shocking, disappointing chat and his complete ignorance about tick borne disease makes me so sad for all the infected dogs he is not going to treat properly. I have the estimates of the Fast Kill treatment plan from Banfield where the attending vet works and I will post that soon. Wilbur's recovery will be a great story to share. I was told by the vet that Wilbur needed to be kept on leash because of his health- seriously...

3-2018: Wilbur testing negative to Heartworms. He is still positive for Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever but his blood work looks so much better.

Lady Monica now Lucy is a very cute Field bred English Pointer that was found abandoned in a hotel room in a Chicago suburb with 3 other dogs in July 2016. She is just such a nice dog and doing well with the slow kill program.

UPDATE 4-2017, after we got a false negative antigen test, we continued treatment and she is still Lyme and heartworm positive.

Good news-- Lucy was heartworm negative in January 2018 at about the 17 month mark of heartworm slow kill.

Star Lord came into our program mid summer of 2015. We were lucky to find a foster to adopt home with the Stockman's a few weeks after he was listed for help. They have been doing the slow kill treatment-- twice a month heartguard/doxy/amoxi up until his second set of lab work where Dr. John switched him to doxy/cipro. While Rocky had some rage aggression in the first few weeks during treatment, his family hung in there and his behavior got better. He has since graduated his first obedience class and scent pointed birds beautiful last November. We will continue to monitor is progress.

Star Lord/ Rocky's Lab Work

Clancy- My Red Warrior -- How I Miss You.

We heard about a starving Pointer in Southern Illinois in August of 2014. Clancy was found as a stray and her incoming photos were heart breaking. A snap test revealed she was also heartworm positive and I imagine she had quite a load. I was also sure she was also fighting several tick borne disease as is the case with all our heartworm positive dogs. Sadly a short stint at the local shelter that contacted me and poor immuno compromised Clancy caught Kennel Cough. That developed into full blown pneumonia and nearly killed her. The virus she contracted at the shelter also spread through the foster's home causing many dogs to also become very ill. The following weeks-- Clancy struggled and then started to have nasal discharge that included blood. In December of 2014, Clancy spent 3 weeks at my local vet where they tried to diagnose the cause of the sinus infection-- but after chatting with an infection disease specialist-- it was determined that due to Clancy being so immuno compromised from her heartworm infestation and tick borne diseases-- there wasn't much they could do. So after spending nearly $1800 there-- I had the decision to euthanize or bring her home in hopes of giving her some quality of life. It hasn't been an easy job-- for months Clancy didn't eat well and the sinus issue persisted accompanied by daily chest congestion that still plagues her today. She seems happy otherwise and will gallop in my yard and thankfully is eating better again. At 17 months she is still heartworm positive and her latest tick panel shows at least Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. My vets agree that the immiticide would have killed her early on in her treatment and she is still not well enough for her spay. Clancy rests under my computer everyday and I can only hope when the last worm dies, that her body can still fight the tick borne diseases and we can make some progress with her sinus and chest issues.

To date her medical bills are at $3200. Her food and antibiotics, twice a month heartworm meds, saline sinus wash, kleenex, expectorant cough syrup, anti yeast and immune system boosters is nearly $2000 more. Should I have let her go over a year ago as one vet suggested when they gave up-- I don't think I could have lived with myself if I did. She has lived longer than some of the boys that had the immiticide treatment-- Wally (6 months), Lauren (8 months) Ollie (13 months) and Maks (8 months) so I know the slow kill was the only option for her. Her rage aggression she had when she first came in is gone and I do find her snuggling with some of my other dogs on the dog bed under my computer. She loves my home made pumpkin pie and she loves a McDonald's burger on occasion too. We could sure use some donations for her monthly expenses. I have created a $25 PayPal link dedicated to Clancy below. Please say a prayer for her and me. Lisa

UPDATE 8/2016: Clancy's oral surgery went as well as could be expected. Two very infected teeth were pulled and the drainage from the right sinus from the hole left behind went on for days and days. There still seems to be some major inflammation in that sinus, but the right sinus is much improved. Also some very good news, Clancy's latest heartworm test shows she is negative! YAY!

Clancy had to be let go due to her sinus cancer in February of 2017. I gave her the best 2 years I could and she was so strong until the end. I LOVE YOU CLANCY!!

Clancy's Lab Work

Clancy's Medical Bills

Harrison is a perfect example of why the Heartworm Slow kill treatment program is the way to go. He came to us from a high kill shelter in southern Illinois in late summer 2015. From his first foster momma Kathy: Harrison was skin and bones, couldn't even climb the 2 steps to get up my porch, and was having seizures. We would never subject a dog like this to cyanide poison. As we knew he was at risk for tick borne disease-- we treated him with antibiotics as well as the twice a month heartguard. Slowly he got stronger and stronger and started to gain weight. A 371 tick panel did confirm that he has at least Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and while he still has seizures occasionally, his new adoptive family is continuing with the slow kill program and Harrison is doing well almost a year later.

UPDATE 8/2016: Harrison still shows heartworm positive. Slow kill continues.

UPDATE 11/26: Harrison's health declined due to an enlarged heart and had to be let go. He had a good year plus of unconditional love.

Matilda and her 7 puppies were rescued from a high kill shelter in southern Alabama in August of 2015. She is one of the mommas for the 11 Boys and 2 Girls of Summer Litters. She is the momma of Tommy who died on December 31st, 2015 and she is also the momma of Harley, Mikey and Puppy Kris who all needed FHO hip surgery. It's a miracle we didn't lose her and the puppies as sickly as she was and she had a major set back and needed to be hospitalized in February due to some pneumonia issues. Since then she is doing amazingly well and we are hopeful for a negative heartworm test in the fall.

UPDATE 9/2016: While we got the bad news that Matilda is going to need the same hip surgery as her 3 puppies, she is now heartworm negative!

Adele is our world record holder for the Slow Kill treatment program. She was saved from a high kill shelter in Southen Illinois and was quickly moved to foster to adopt, where her new family continued the IBR protocols. Her first 371 tick panel revealed Lyme disease and RMSF and the follow up showed Ehrlichia, Lyme and RMSF. At about the 6 month mark Adele was heartworm negative but her new family and vet will have to follow her health closely with the tick borne disease complications.

Lilac was heartworm negative at about the year mark with slow kill.

Nellie came into IBR's program from an over- crowded shelter in Shelbyville, IL in the Spring of 2015. We started her in our slow kill program in 2 foster homes and then she moved to Foster to Adopt in the Summer. We are happy to report she was heartworm negative when tested at the year mark. YAY!!

Peyton is one of our very special Slow Kill Heartworm treatment success stories. Peyton was pulled from an over crowded shelter in Kentucky and during his neuter it was discovered he was heartworm postiive. Subsequent testing showed he was also infected with at least 3 tick borne diseases-- Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. As we started the heartguard and his antibiotics, he moved to foster to adopt with a wonderful family in Indianapolis and in just under a year his heartworm antigen test showed he was negative. He still shows antibodies for the 3 tick borne diseases-- but his adopter and their vet can follow him closely for the rest of his life and medicate if he has a relapse. PLEASE NOTE-- Peyton's IDEXX 4DX Snap test was negative. We find this test consistently unreliable in the tick borne screening of our dogs, especially since it does not test for the serious co infection Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Peyton's Lab Work

Ursi came in from a high kill over crowded shelter in Centralia, Illinois. Her first 371 tick panel was negative and a follow up 2 months later revealed antibodies for Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It took about 16 month for her to have a negative heartworm antigen test. She was adopted by her foster mommy who also adopted Dashy in the other section below.

Ursula's Lab Work

Ursula's IDEXX 371 tick panel results from 8-4-2014 through 5-6-2015 are very interesting. We are sure none of the diseases would have shown up on a 4DX snap test-- and I know enough about Lyme disease that an older dog suffering from a heart full of worms is already immuno compromised that until we started her on antibiotics-- she would not show antibodies for disease. A rise in titer is also considered evidence of an active infection and in my experience the lower the titer-- the more compromised the immune system. There is no such thing as "exposure titer" any titer is active infection. Here's the evidence.

Heartworm Antigen- Positive and duplicated.
IDEXX 371- Ehrlichia NEG, Lyme disease NEG, Rocky Mountain spotted fever NEG. Started doxycycline.
IDEXX 371- Ehrlichia NEG, Lyme disease POS @1:100, RMSF POS @1:400.
IDEXX 371- Ehrlichia NEG, Lyme disease NEG, RMSF @1:50.
IDEXX 4DX Snap Test NEG.
IDEXX 371- Ehrlcihia NEG, Lyme disease POS @1:100, RMSF POS @1:400.

Sheldon came in from a a high kill over crowded shelter in Southern Illinois and his first 371 tick panel revealed a low titer for Lyme disease. During the slow kill treatment, Shellie's natural hunting instincts started to return. He was adopted by a wonderful man that continued the slow kill treatment with the support of his vet. Shellie was Heartworm negative at about the 16 month mark but a follow up 371 revealed Ehrlichia- which he was more than likely infected with the whole time. Sheldon hunted 9 months into the slow kill treatment to the delight of his new daddy.

You can read more about Snow White and her Tragic Puppy rescue HERE. We didn't get any support from the southern vets to get Snow White and all her puppies on preventative tick borne disease treatment and she only started to thrive once she got to an Illinois foster home. We were shocked that we found 4 tick borne diseases in her and saddened when one by one her puppies started to die- and no wonder- they were all infected from their infected mother and the vets refused to treat in time. I can only hope that the 3 surviving puppies are still OK as both adopters have refused to do any follow up testing. Slow kill was the only option for Snow White due to all her tick borne disease complications.

Regal is one of my most favorite rescue stories. He was in danger of being put to sleep in an over crowded shelter in Northern, Indiana. No one wanted to help him due to his heartworm status and we had him in boarding for over 3 weeks until a friend in St. Louis took him in. Regal was over weight, had a thyroid condition and a low titer for Lyme disease revealed with the 371. After a year of slow kill in foster care, we found a new foster to adopt mommy who continued his treatment. A follow up 371 showed Regal had Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever infecions, but his thyroid was now in the normal range and he was thin and gorgeous. At about the 16 month mark Regal's adopter reported he was heartworm negative.

From Monica Regal's mommy: "Slow kill is awesome! I knew nothing about HW before I adopted my guy Regal but once I saw him I fell in love and knew I needed to know more. My experience is a little different as Regal had been in foster for 12 months before I got him and had been on the slow kill treatment during that time. For me, the key is Regal was able to act like a normal dog. Run, jump, play, whatever he felt like. There are no restrictions. IBR does their slow kill method of HW meds at regular does twice a month WITH doxycycline antibiotic treatment at the same time. There are proven studies that show how doxycycline will kill a symbiotic 'bacteria' on the heartworms which both weakens then as well as sterilizes the females. In the end this equates to the existing heartworms slowly dying and no new heartworms being formed. So, at 18 months after testing positive, my Regal tested negative for heartworm. It was an exciting day. I would do this again if needed for a dog. Everyone is much happier all around."

Clyde can into the program from a high kill shelter near Hazard, Kentucky. He was in terrible shape, his coat was thin and he had eye and ear infections. His first tick panel revealed Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Several weeks in boarding doing the slow kill treatment, we found a wonderful foster to adopt family in Indiana. Follow up 371 showed Lyme disease besides the RMSF, but Clyde did very well with slow kill, and like Sheldon, started pointing a few weeks into treatment. His adoptive mommy reported he was heartworm negative at about the 14 month mark.

Peaches is a very special Pointer rescue that was saved from the worst neglect at a plantation in Georgia. I have included her success story with before and after photos. Her foster to adopt dad did a great job with the slow kill treatment and she was heartworm negative at about the 15 month mark.

Dozer came into the IBR program in July 2013 from an over crowded shelter in Lawrenceville, IL. We were lucky to find a wonderful foster home for him that is going to adopt! His first 371 tick panel revealed Rocky Mountain spotted fever and a follow up at the 6 month mark also revealed Ehrlichia. Dozer needed Baytril support with his doxycycline due to some health set backs but he is doing better and better everyday. We are certain he had a massive case of worms but at his last vetting appointment, our vet stated his heart was strong and perhaps there were only a few more left. He will have a follow up heartworm antigen test this coming July.

Old Heartworm Stories

Most of these dogs had tick borne disease complications and many actually struggled with the Immiticide Injection treatment. Many have passed -- some under a year after they came into the program. Some were seniors and I wish our attending vets had suggested slow kill.

Meringue- Lyme Disease & RMSF

Treated on 1-22-11/had some terrible psychotic behavior post Immiticide treatment. After doing well in her foster to adopt home prior to her Immiticide injections, she started to show aggression towards the man in the home and wound up in foster care with me to help her recover. NOT GOOD!!

Maks-A-Moose- RMSF

Poor Maks had a hiding Spleen Hematoma that ruptured about 7 months into foster care and post Immiticide treatment. We should have done an abdominal X-ray upon arrival but back then we hadn't linked these types of hematomas with Lyme and RMSF as we do now. Mak's didn't make it. ADOPTED posthumously.

Rosalie- RMSF

Rosie was a snarky little Pointer. Heartworm Immiticide treatment made her snarkier and she wound up in foster care with me. She did get better over time but until we put her on Rifampin-- she didn't have any birding instincts.

Ollie- Lyme disease & RMSF

Ollie is one of the reasons I will never do Immiticide treatment ever again. It was too hard on him and he nearly died TWICE. Slow kill would have been so much easier on him. Ollie died about a year after he was treated from complications of his tick borne disease.

Duckie- Ehrlichia, Lyme Disease & RMSF

Duckie helped us learn about spleen hematomas and also how continued treatment for tick borne disease even after a dog is heartworm negative, helps prolong their lives. Duckie outlived the vet's 8 month death prognosis by 5 years.

Myrna- Lyme Disease

Slow kill treatment in foster care and Heartworm negative at the 9 month mark. LIGHTBULB!!!! ADOPTED!

Ladybird- Ehrlichia, Lyme Disease & RMSF

Lady also suffered some aggression issues post Immiticide treatment. She did go on to be wonderful in the field.

Sassy- Lyme Disease & RMSF

One of the hardest longest heartworm complicated by tick borne disease fosters I have ever had.

Kenny- RMSF

Kenny had a lot of aggression with other dogs during his immiticide treatments. I had to deal with some very scary rage behavior.

Mandilyn- Lyme Disease & RMSF

Poor Mandy-- we got some terrible terrible advise about her care and that affected her puppies. If she had started slow kill upon arrival and while she was nursing, she and her puppies would have done so much better. ADOPTED posthumously.

Brandon/Freckles- Lyme Disease & RMSF

Brandon's family could not handle him post Immiticide treatment and he had some aggression issues. Thankfully we kept up with his tick borne disease treatments and that helped overall.