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Can Heartworm Shots Be Harmful to Dogs?


I was surfing around dog sites and found a number of references and letters about a 6-month heartworm shot for dogs and reports it had actually caused a number of dog deaths due to severe onset anemia.

Has anyone else heard anything about this?

Vicka from Salt Lake City, Utah



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By Catherine 4 02/13/2006

Any vaccine can be harmful to a dog. It all depends on the dog. I think I would go with a more traditional heartworm prevention course, like the tablets you give them once a month.

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By Vic (Guest Post) 02/13/2006

I've also read bad things about the shot. I give mine heartgard & have for a long time with no adverse affects. I tend to go for the tried & true. Not only for my furkids, but for me too.

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By Judi 24 02/13/2006

Yes I have. My neighbor's vet does not use the shots anymore because they have caused deaths in dogs.
I have two dogs and I have always given them Heartguard. They have never had a problem and I trust it. I would not give them the shot!!!

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By Bev Fodor 2 02/14/2006

I have a 7 year old mixed breed beagle and she was using the six month heartworm shots, until they were taken off the market because of some dog fatalities. I read online about the vaccine and most of the dogs who died were aged or not in good health so they are not sure if the vaccine is related to their deaths or not. So until further testing, your vet should not be using, the vacine. Sandy did all right and it made sure I did not forget her meds, but I won't use the vaccine again until they can prove that it will not harm my girl.

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By Jim 1 56 02/26/2006

I used to give my dogs HeartGuard for heartworm prevention. It is quite expensive and their is a much cheaper alternative. The main ingredient Ivermectin kills heartworms. You can purchase Ivermectin or Ivomec injection(but you don't inject it) 1% solution for cattle and swine and use it in dogs!! I was told this by the Doberman rescue group I adopted my Roxi from. They have been using it for years and I for one year now. It works great!

Here is the link for directions on how to use this:

Here is one of the many websites where you can buy it:
Search for Ivermectin

Here is the website to buy the syringe (you only need to buy one as you keep using it over and over-(YOU DO NOT INJECT THE IVERMECTIN INTO YOUR DOG, only use the syringe to get the Ivermectin out of the injectable bottle): ... 08ea6ec0a80aa506a9/Product/View/SYR3

Jim in Jax

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By Robert Parks (Guest Post) 03/14/2006

We were told this past weekend that our dog has. We were told that the treatment could harm him including death. But without treatment he would also die. We started the treatment that Saturday. Scoby is doing just fine. The hard part is if you have a active pet, you have to keep it as calm as you can.

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By Ruth Counter 2 72 03/15/2006

I am so sorry about your dog! I hope everything goes well for him. I do not remember what the site was, but some dog-owners were receiving compensation for their vet bills from the mfg. of the injectible. I think the parent company was Wyeth.

Help with vet bills does not even begin to help with the heartbreak of your dog being so sick. But, you know, it might be worth looking into because according to what I read, they didn't do the testing they should have, but marketed anyway. Having to pay pet owners might make a difference in future corporate decisions and save other pets' health.

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By Sophie (Guest Post) 06/18/2006

I have had a dog that was a rescue and I had a private vet for her so the shots costed $600, but it was worth it. I wanted the dog. The shots almost killed my dog the the vet had to come at my house at 10:00 at night one night to pump fluid into her shoulders. If he had not come till the morning then the dog would be dead.

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By Teresa 1 05/04/2009

Jim In Jax, Hey, Thanks for the info about Ivermectin. I use that stuff on my goats. I was truly wondering if it would be cool to use on my pet French Bulldog and 2 English Bulldogs. I can also use it on my Great Pyrenesse and Rottwieler. Thanks, Teresa

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By Sally 16 226 06/03/2013

Submitted via email:

My 4 year old lab was in great health. Almost 3 weeks ago he died I know from that heartworm shot. If I would have ever known about this I would never have given it to them shame on me for not doing my homework. It coated my very best friend in the world. They are doing tissue samples, and I hope I get the truth, but doubt it.

So please if you love your dog it is not worth it. I miss my baby. If they are to blame I will try to shut it down from making that poison they call it medicine but it is poison. They need to stop making it even it is one out of 500,000 if it is your dog the price is to hi.

Susan C.

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By chastityn 2 08/13/2013

Please don't use this shot our dog died this morning from it and if I had known I wouldn't have ever done this. I would do anything to have him back.

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By chastityn 2 08/13/2013

Our baby was only 9 months old and very healthy.

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By PatAnn 1 02/08/2015

We lost our 2 three year old Pekinese dogs from this shot. They were litter mates. We lost the boy one month after the shot, and his sister 3 months later. Their symptoms played out the exact same way. Once the symptoms showed, they were gone within 4 days.

They had always had a hard time holding down the heartworm pills. So the doctor suggested the shot. We are so heart broken. The emergency vet and our regular vet claimed they hadn't heard anything about the shot being harmful. I just know that can't be true now that I read these posts.

We spent about $7,000 at the emergency vet. They could not figure out what exactly happened to them. They stopped making platelets, and their little bodies' just shut down. Oh, how I wish I could turn back the clock.

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