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Which Heartworm Treatment Protocol is Best for My Dog?

Hi – I would like to know which treatment Dr. Debra suggests for stage 2 heartworms in a dog. One vet has recommended starting with Doxycycline for 30 days, then 3 shots, each a month apart of Immiticide . Another vet I use suggested Doxycycline for 6 to 12 months as it is less harmful to the dog.

Michelle P.

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for your question on treatment protocols for heartworm disease in dogs using Doxycycline

I’ve talked to a few cardiologists about the best protocol for treating heartworm disease in dogs and based on those conversations, I generally do the following:

Doxycycline for a month then a split protocol of injectable Immiditicide®. This includes one injection, followed one month later by two consecutive injections one day apart, for a total of three injections.

So the protocol works out to be:

Day 1 – 30 – Doxycycline daily
Day 31 – first injection of Immiditicide®Day 60 – second injection of Immiditicide®Day 61 – third injection of Immiditicide®

This split protocol allows for slower death of the heartworms, which may cause fewer complications in dogs with more severe infections.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of heartworm disease in dogs – go to Heartworm Disease in Dogs.

This has worked really well for us.

Best of luck.

Dr. Debra

P.S. The cost and availability of Doxycycline has been an issue therefore many veterinarians are using Minocycline as a substitute for Doxycycline. Very similar drug but lower cost and better availability.