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The Face of Advanced Heartworms

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Meet Livy, she's only about 7 years old. A Border Collie this age should be in their prime, full of energy and full of life. It's not unusual for them to either be working as a herding dog or actively competing in dog sports way into their teens.

Instead, this girl was found panting and disoriented on Thanksgiving day and she could barely stand. The good Samaritan that found her took her to an emergency clinic. Her breathing was labored, she had a fever, and she could barely stand up. Radiographs were done that showed that her lungs were full of fluid, and her heart was enlarged. She was taken to the local shelter and when her stray time was up, Border Collie Rescue, Tx took her in. She was overweight, partly from retaining so much fluid and she was covered in mats. It was obvious that she had been an outside dog, but her foster found that she was crate trained and housebroken.

Initial blood tests were done immediately and showed some irregular readings in her liver values. But worse than that, the heartworm test showed a very high heartworm count and the damage to her lungs and heart indicated that she has been heartworm positive for a long time. Border Collie Rescue spared no expense and began treating her aggressively, hoping to get her well enough for heartworm treatment. Every day, she was getting weaker and the violent coughing was racking her body, she had a fever and her tongue was turning blue from lack of oxygen. This was all despite proactive daily vet visits and medications. She was on steroids, antibiotics, codeine cough meds and Lasix for her heart. After a weeks time and this treatment, she could hardly lift her head or walk 3 feet. She was admitted to the hospital and was put on IV fluids and meds. After a couple of days, Livy was dying from the heartworms, she wasn't going to get well enough for treatment, so as a last resort to save her, the vet gave her a heartworm treatment. It's no doubt that her spirit and will to live got her through her treatment which took months.

The saddest, most ironic part is that heartworm prevention costs only about $7-10 a month. Instead, Livy was suffering constantly and her treatment costs were into the thousands of dollars. She also suffered permanent damage to her heart. Waiting to see if a dog gets heartworms to take action is not only expensive but very dangerous for the dog. Death from heartworms is not quick, a dog suffers immensely, they go into congestive heart failure and slowly deteriorate until they go into cardiac arrest.

Livy recovered from her treatment and was adopted into a wonderful home. She has since passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. She was very loved in her last few years. Livy's story remains on this site in hopes that everyone will test their dogs yearly for heartworms and keep them on preventative.

Please read the updates that were kept during her treatment.

Border Collie Rescue Texas, Inc. - P. O. Box 1338 - La Porte, Tx 77572