Each dog that walks through our doors will undergo a “check-in” process, which includes but is not limited to: vaccinations, microchipping, spay/neuter, general de-wormer for intestinal parasites, and of course, heartworm testing.

Once a dog has tested positive for heartworms, preliminary labwork will be run and reviewed by a veterinarian to ensure that your dog is as healthy as possible before proceeding with the heartworm treatment. In some cases, additional labwork may be needed and will be completed at Operation Kindness by the medical staff.

Additionally, an antibiotic called doxycycline will be prescribed for a duration of 30 days. This medication kills bacteria which live on the heartworms. These bacteria help the worms survive and reproduce. They also may cause worsening inflammation when adult heartworms die. By giving this antibiotic prior to the medication that will kill your dog’s heartworms, we decrease the likelihood of complications from the treatment and optimize the chance for complete elimination of the infection.

Along with pre-heartworm treatment labwork and antibiotics, your dog will also be kept on a monthly heartworm preventative called Tri-Heart. Even though your dog is already heartworm positive, a monthly preventative will aid in killing immature heartworms and preventing new infections from developing. You should continue to give it to your pet throughout treatment as well as for the rest of his/her life.

Upon adoption, you will be in contact with the Operation Kindness medical team regarding your dog’s heartworm treatment process. Further questions can be addressed by calling the medical department at 972-428-3802.

Once your dog’s labwork has been approved and heartworm treatment has been scheduled, it will be completed at Operation Kindness in two stages with a series of injections. The first heartworm treatment is typically scheduled on Mondays, with drop off times between 7am-9am. Your dog will undergo treatment in the morning and then be monitored for several hours post-treatment to observe for any possible reaction to the injection. The second heartworm treatment will be scheduled approximately one month following the first treatment. This treatment consists of two injections, and for the safety of your dog, it will be split into a two-day treatment, usually occurring Monday-Tuesday.

(We understand that work and family obligations can make these appointment times difficult to meet. If you are unable to make your appointments, please call the Operation Kindness medical staff to inquire if other accommodations are available. We will do our best to ensure that the heartworm treatment will go smoothly for both you and your dog.)

Post heartworm treatment medications for your dog including a pain medication called tramadol and an anti-inflammatory medication called prednisone will be prescribed and sent home after both the first and second heartworm treatment. These medications will assist with pain or discomfort that your dog may experience, as well as reduce side-effects from the treatment.