Story of a Dog with Heartworm

Suzie was six weeks old when we brought her home from the Humane Society. Right away, I made an appointment with our vet to get her checked over and get her on a schedule for her vaccinations and heartworm preventive medication.

Every March, she went for the annual heartworm blood test to make sure no heartworms were present and then she would get started on the monthly preventive tablet to keep her safe from these parasites. Last spring I got the shock of my life when our vet called to say that Suzie tested positive for heartworm. I said, how can this be, she has been on the heartworm preventive every year. Our vet agreed, it was highly unlikely and asked me to bring her back for a second blood test. This I did the very next day. Once again the test was positive.

Suzie was 12 years old at the time of diagnosis and had arthritis so our vet left the decision up to us but informed us that the treatment for heartworm is very hard in older dogs and the treatment could kill her. Our vet thought that because we caught the infection in a very early stage that Suzee could live out her life and would die of something else before the heartworm caused many problems for her. So we decided not to put Suzie through the painful treatment and let her live out her years, however, many that may be. I kept Suzee in a crate that she cannot escape from which has ensured she is safe.


Suzie began to show signs of the heartworm infestation within months. She lost weight and had a cough and was becoming weak. How could this be happening so soon? Back to the vet, we went with our Suzee. The vet confirmed that the disease was progressing very fast. She was starting to have heart failure, so she was prescribed a heart medication, diuretic and a steroid to help her combat the symptoms. Suzie rallied a few times, but the disease finally took over our Suzee.

We lost our beloved, Suzie, to heartworm disease just a few months ago, only ten months from her blood test that tested positive for these evil parasites.

I decided to write about this topic in Suzie’s memory. I do not want anyone else to go through what our Suzie did. We still do not know why she was not protected by taking the heartworm preventive we gave her but we have some idea.

1. Possibly when I gave her the tablet, she may have gone outside and vomited it up.

2. Like any medication, Nothing is 100 percent.

3. We have multiple dogs and maybe she spit it out for a moment and one of the other dogs scarfed it up.

We have decided to keep our other pets on the heartworm preventive tablet year round now and watch them carefully after they take it to make sure they get it down.