Friday, March 30, 2012

Drumroll please...a positive negative update!

Mila's adopters took her to the vet today for her follow up heartworm test. Mila is now officially Heartworm Negative! That's right, HW-. No more worms in her heart or lungs!

Everyone is so incredibly pleased. Rescue, vets, adopters and of course, Mila. She continues to get her monthly heartworm meds so that this never happens again.

And speaking of adopters, Mila is fully embracing the second chance she's gotten. Her new life, in her forever home, is one of walks on the beach, a whole family that loves her, and a sweet senior (both dogs say, who you callin' seniors!) companion named Steel. As one does with celebrity couples, we call them Stila.

Mila is truly blessed in her new life. Please consider adopting a senior. We are grateful to her family for doing so, and she pays them back every day with laughs and love.
Time for the beach!
Why yes, I will drive myself to the eye doctor.
Dr. Mila taking care of Steel during a bad belly episode.
We think Mila's first mom would be be pleased by the life Mila has now. We certainly are.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Novartis Suspends Production of Interceptor and Sentinel

More...and please remember to keep your dogs on heartworm meds...

Le sigh.

Posted by Mary Straus at 12:06PM - Comments: (9)
January 9, 2012
If you use these products, you may need to find alternatives.
It seems like every time I turn around these days, I hear about another drug shortage (more on that topic in an upcoming WDJ article). This time, it’s Novartis Animal Health announcing in late December that it has suspended production of Interceptor, Sentinel, and other drugs while its manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Nebraska, undergoes “voluntary” improvements. Numerous human and animal over-the-counter drugs are manufactured at this plant. According to reports, the company hopes to know in January when production will be resumed.
If you currently use either of these products, you may need to find a substitute, at least temporarily. Interceptor is a monthly heartworm preventive medication; it should be easy to switch to Heartgard (or generic equivalent), Revolution, or the newer Advantage Multi. Be sure to purchase these from a reliable source to avoid potentially ineffective counterfeit products. See “When Buying Veterinary Drugs Online, Look for Accredited Sites,” (WDJ June 2011)
Sentinel is a combination of Interceptor (milbemycin oxime) and Program (lufenuron), an insect growth regulator that prevents fleas that bite your dog from producing viable offspring, and therefore can be useful in combating a flea infestation. Program is manufactured by Novartis and is therefore almost certainly one of the other products whose production has been suspended. If you don’t have fleas, you don’t need to use lufenuron.
If you do have a flea problem, you can switch to flea and tick products that contain their own insect growth regulators. Advantage II and Advantix II use pyriproxyfen (Nylar), while Frontline Plus and Certifect use S-methoprene (Precor). For more information on these products, see "New Flea and Tick Products Hit the Market" (WDJ December 2011).
More information:
Novartis temporarily suspends production of Interceptor, Sentinel
Letter: Novartis under temporary shutdown
What Novartis Did Wrong At Its Consumer Plant
 Remember while Immiticide is unavailable (ish) it is really important to keep your pets on HW meds!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Immiticide Shortage: Vet Cautions Pet Owners to Keep Up with Monthly Meds

Related links:
This Just In: Immiticide Sort of Availability

Urgent Post - Immiticide Unavailability - AHS Reco...
The manufacturer of Immiticide has halted all U.S. production of the medication, blaming "technical reasons" for the hold up.
Immiticide is the only drug approved by the FDA for treating heart worm in dogs.  Another drug called Ivermactin will kill adult heart worms over time, but is not appropriate for all dogs.
Dr. Mark Finkler with Roanoke Animal Hospital says he and other local vets typically see just 50 cases of heart worm each year, but given the drug shortage, it's that much more important to give your pets their regular heart worm prevention meds.
"Every dog in this area should be on heart worm medicine once a month," said Finkler.  "As long as they take the medication, it's highly unlikely they will ever get heart worms."
Limited supplies of Immiticide are being shipped to the U.S. from Europe.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Mila would like to share her thanks with all who have followed her journey to better health, with her veterinarians and everyone who works in that office, her rescue, Dr. Bruno, and all her friends near and far.

Last year at this time, Mila was staying at the vet office, waiting to join her foster home while one of the resident dogs was recovering from HGE.

This year, she will be in her foster home, but on Friday will be meeting what we all hope will be her forever family.

We hope you will keep your fingers and paws crossed for a love connection between Mila and their current dog.

We also hope that other dogs will not have to go through heartworm treatment because someone read this blog and got their dog tested and on monthly meds.

We are thankful for the opportunity to share this information with you and thank you for reading about Mila.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


By Diane Morgan 

I am the bridge,
Between what was and what can be.
I am the pathway to a new life.

I am made of mush,
Because my heart melted when I saw you,
Matted and sore, limping, depressed
Lonely, unwanted, afraid to love.

For one little time you are mine.
I will feed you with my own hand.
I will love you with my whole heart.
I will make you whole.

I am made of steel.
Because when the time comes,
When you are well, and sleek,
when your eyes shine,
And your tail wags with joy
Then comes the hard part.

I will let you go-not without a tear,
But without a regret.
For you are safe forever--
A new dog needs me now.

More details to come.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Life After Heartworm Treatment

It has been a while since we posted, wanting to see how Mila was doing before making any statements as to her health and wellness!

When Mila first came here, she did not have a lot of muscle tone, having been in a kennel for 7 months. In the time that she was kenneled, waiting to see if her human was going to be able to go home again, Mila lost a considerable amount of weight, which was great. But she didn't have any strength. So we slowly did yard walks, working up to a few loops and by that time, Mila was into it and was soon running around, happy with the activity she was able to do.

The almost 4 months of crate rest did a good job of reversing that progress! However, heartworm free is the way to be (Mila wants buttons made up with that on them, stat). So while we are now back to yard walks, she will be able to build her strength and endurance without giant worms living in her heart and lungs. We're no scientists, but we feel like that gives her a leg up, so to speak.

If you've ever had to have bed rest for any length of time, or known anyone who has, you know how tiring it is to resume normal activities, more so for a senior, even one with lots of moxie! So we've been working on that too.

Add all of this together, crate rest, "isolation" (no outings), and lack of physical activity and think about what you would be like with all of this...that's where Mila is at right now. For some dogs there is a bit of an adjustment back to normal life. Some hop right back in, and others (we like to think it's due to Mila's intelligence and sensitivity) do have a little period where they need to get the kinks out. They've been through difficult, painful treatment that often makes them feel quite ill, and it is not surprising it can take a little bit to get back to their normal.

Again, the treatment, while hard, is much better than dying from heartworm disease, which is a very difficult ending for pets. So no matter how you treat, please do treat (and when Immiticide comes back, we know that is the best way to treat for most cases, talk to your vet).

But Mila remains happy and upbeat and amazes those who meet her because she is a very spirited senior!

She got to go to the groomer, and despite having been groomed 3 other times and enjoying it immensely, Mila did get a little attitude. We couldn't get her to hold still for her nail trim so she got to wear a muzzle and that calmed her right down so she got to keep it on for the whole bath. 
I'm wearing a party hat!
I exploded!

As soon as I got my way, I was happy.
And pretty, and shiny!

Does anyone have any questions? Please let us know!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Treatment Ends! And Mila's List of Maybe Haves

Mila's treatment has officially ended! Mila is slowly increasing her activity and hilariously, is only going potty in the spot she's used since June when she tested heartworm positive and began leash restrictions.

Today she ventured a few feet away for a good roll, but then right back in as if she was still attached to a long line. It's good to take it slow, as the heartworms do not have calendars so some may still be clogging up her business in there. It was also good she wanted to take it slow this week because we were so busy.

Next week she goes for a grooming and then will have her re-debut at the rescue meet and greet. Mila is very social and nosy so these events are great for her.

She would never presume to tell you what you MUST have so these are some of the maybe haves that might help you should you need to take a dog through heartworm treatment.

1a. Mila took a lot of medicines during this whole process. From the doxycycline, to things used to keep her quiet, to prednisilone, and more antibiotics, Mila needed to take her pills well and she did. Your dog probably has things that they like to get pills in, but Mila really enjoyed:
Sometimes low-fat, sometimes regular, Cream Cheese
1b. We found this canned food when she was sick, in a local grocery store (the food was in the store, not Mila, because she is also not allowed to drive). The reason we like it so much is that it is VERY soft and makes a great pill meatball (not cooked of course). Even better, you can put it in the frig and it STILL stays soft. It was great for the larger pills. It was also something she would eat when not feeling well, so it got a Gold Star here!
Harmony Farms Canned

2. Mila enjoyed lots of water. We probably don't need a picture of that.

3. And with all that water, especially on the prednisilone, she needed to potty. We tried a shorter leash at first but that was too close for comfort for her. Who can blame her; it's like having to use the bathroom at work. 

So we used an 18 foot biothane lead. What's really nice about that material is that it can be wiped clean when wet, doesn't crack, feels good on your hands (no nylon burns if a dog pulls) and it moves well with the dog. That length worked really well for us because if it was raining, which it did a ton, I could be on the deck under an umbrella and she could be in the yard. We would not recommend a longer line if a dog would run while on it. Use what works best and is safest for your dog.
4. Mila ate a little more than normal during her treatment and many dogs enjoy chew treats. Mila does not. So she has no recommendations for these types of treats, "mind game" toys, or other things that keep dogs occupied in crates. Whatever you choose, make sure you supervise because anything rubber, fabric, plastic, etc., can do a real number on the GI system if ingested, and not even in big amounts.

5. Cool air. Air conditioning works great and should be used in the summer if it all possible. Mila had a small window AC unit in a bedroom. On really hot days a fan was used as well, blowing directly on her to keep her cool.

6. Calming things. Whatever that may be for your dog, if there is something that seems to make them serene, definitely give it a try. If it something that they ingest however, check with your vet to see if it interacts with anything. Music, TTouch, acupuncture, things that do not get a dog excited or moving are very helpful.

7. A big crate. If your dog will do laps in a big crate, maybe the next size down. If your dog is not able to be leashed to you and kept quiet outside of a crate, then a crate is a must. Are there dogs that will just lay at your feet without jumping up and running before you can grab them? (SQUIRREL!) If there are, well, maybe they don't need crate rest. But if there are dogs like that, we haven't met them. And why risk it? (and why don't we risk it - that's riiiiiight, clots!)

BDBH's Rosa stops in to visit her "step-brother" Niko in his giant crate. As you can see this is a crate a dog can get comfy in! While neither of them are undergoing HW tx, it does look like a nice place for a nap.
We'd like a treat now, please.
Mila ended up in an extra large airline type crate that helped to keep her quiet. Well, Mila quiet.

Those are the things that were most helpful to Mila during her treatment. That and a lot of help from her rescue and a great vet office, plus support from her Internet friends. Thank you for that!

Next - what's next after heartworm treatment and the re-debut. Then, what do we do with this blog?