Are Herbal Cures for Heartworms Effective?


Herbs are plants that contain active therapeutic properties for particular illnesses. For centuries, they have been used to prevent and treat some human diseases but later on they have also been used to cure animal diseases such as skin disorders and parasitic infections including the potentially fatal heartworm disease. Picture this situation: your pet gets sick with heartworm disease, what will you do? Will you give medications right away or will you rely on herbal cures first? In treating heartworm disease, the conventional way is to consult a veterinarian, who will determine the most appropriate treatment for your pet. Depending on the clinical signs and the severity of the infection shown by the dog, the veterinarian can administer injections of melarsomine, which will kill the worms. But prior to injecting melarsomine, the American Heartworm Society (AHS) recommends to start the dog on a heartworm preventive at the time of diagnosis. According to the AHS, a heartworm preventive (e.g. tablet or spot-on) should be given for one to three months before the first melarsomine injection. The reason behind this is that melarsomine has not been shown to kill heartworms that are less than 4 months old. A heartworm preventive, on the other hand, can initially kill the one and two-month-old worms and stop any new worms from infecting the dog. The AHS also recommends that during the entire treatment process, the preventive should be given continuously. However, some people are wary of traditional heartworm preventive and treatment medications because they believe that they contain potentially harmful substances that can cause side effects. As a result, they become fearful of advancements in veterinary medicine and would rather stick to natural methods. They use herbal remedies with the belief that these are better alternatives to conventional medications. Some examples of these herbs are black walnut, pumpkin seed, wormwood, rosemary, cranberry fruit, and the like. These are very affordable, which adds to their appeal. But still, the question is on whether or not these herbal cures are effective. Unfortunately, there is not enough information to answer this question. This is because there is currently no scientifically proven herbal remedy for heartworms. Herbal cures are, more often than not, borne out of mistaken notions on heartworm disease rather than on facts. Pumpkin seeds, for instance, are thought to get rid of canine heartworms in the digestive tract; this is not true, though, as heartworms do not enter this part of the body. Most veterinarians will also agree that using heartworm preventives and treatment medications is still the way to go instead of using herbal remedies. As to the side effects, pet owners should know that all heartworm medications, like medicines for people, have side effects, but they are very effective in helping treat the disease nonetheless. This is in contrast to herbal cures that do not ensure successful treatment for heartworm disease and may sometimes put the animals' health at greater risk. Perhaps, they may work better only as support to using traditional treatment, which requires proper diagnosis and support from a vet with sufficient training on herbal medicines. When your dog or cat contracts heartworm disease, you should think twice about giving them herbal cures. You may want to take a trip to your vet and ask for efficient and safe medication, after all, you don't want to endanger your pet's health, do you?