I've been given permission from Marina Zacharias to post the following  information which appeared in a couple of her newsletters a few years ago.  It can be cross-posted but she has stipulated that we acknowledge her as  the author.


 Heartworm - Medication Warning


 You should be concerned with the ever increasing evidence that Ivermectin  (the ingredient used in Heartguard) is causing several very drastic changes  in dogs.  Dr Jean Dodds, reported at the conference, that it has been  linked to fertility problems, thyroid problems and auto-immune disorders.  She urged us all to get off any form of medication containing this stuff.  For heartworm she recommends using only the 'daily' form of medication as  it is a totally different compound.


 In the 'dirty tricks' department, I received a fascinating insight into  just how insidious the big drug companies can be.  On February 12, 1995, I  was a guest speaker at an "Educational Symposium for Alternative Veterinary  Methods" held in Sacramento California.  I had the opportunity to meet with

 Dr Walter A McCall, also participating in the symposium.  The subject of  Heartguard did come up and he related his personal experience regarding how  Merck Pharmaceutical (the manufacturer of  Heart-guard) introduced this  product to the veterinarian community.


 During Dr McCall's vet. training, the incidence of heartworm was so little  known, that the school did not have any "live" examples to use and had to  rely on slide presentations.  Consequently, when he went into practice, he  had never actually seen a heartworm.  He knew what they should look like,  but prior to Merck's marketing efforts, he had simply no occasion in his  practice to examine a live specimen.


 When Heartguard was announced with a heavy advertising campaign, Merck sent  a "test" kit for the detection of heartworm to every licensed veterinarian  in the United States.  Suddenly, heartworm was being "discovered" left,  right and center.


 Efficient "test kit" you say?  Not really.  Turns out that sticking to the  blank slides provided by Merck, there were tiny pieces of plastic that  under normal microscope magnifications, looked identical to --- you guessed  it ? HEARTWORM!!  Only when the magnification was jacked way up could the

 differences be seen.


 As far as Dr McCall is concerned, he still questions the "high risk" area  reports.  He is aware of what seems to be a "pocket" located in the  Sierra's, but so far has seen only one actual case in his practice, with a  dog that had been brought in from the East coast of Florida.


 I know in our own area (Pacific Northwest) we had no reports of heartworm  for years.  About two years ago, one case was confirmed and a major  publicity campaign was mounted (newspaper, TV guide, radio, etc). suddenly  most local vets were jumping on the "cash machine" with Heartguard as the

 latest "must have" vaccine pumped into countless animals as a "precaution".


 I've received many reports of low sperm count in males and fertility  problems in females that magically disappeared within a few months after  taking them off Heartguard.


 The October 1994 issue of the Mastiff Reporter carried an interesting  article on the subject by Carol S Bardwick (President of Canine Cryobank  Inc).  From 12 years of working/owning a reproductive specialty practice,  she relates a variety of cases involving the deleterious effects of  Heartguard and the return to normal within 60 days of stopping.

 To quote her "I could go on and on.  Scientists and Merck Pharmaceutical  would say these incidents are only "anecdotal".  So be it.  However, I am  still waiting for Merck to send me any long term repro-ductive studies on  canines on Heartguard.  Then I could share those studies with my clients. Unfortun-ately, Merck has only sent data on rats and mice.  I asked if they  had ever done any studies at all on Ivermectin and reproduction in the  canine.  "I'll get back to you" said the Merck veterinarian.  That was in  1992, and I'm still waiting.


 There is a homeopathic form of heartworm prevention that is safe and  effective.  More on this later.

 (end of article)


 Heartworm - Alternative Treatment


 The standard treatment for heartworm (intravenous arsenic) hasn't changed  much in the last half of this century.


 Before I get into a recent development that shows great promise, I should  mention that back in March 1993 an article in "Veterinary Forum" pointed  out that studies from Cornell University and the Uni-versity of Pennsylvania  indicated that when Ivermectir or Milbemycin were given to heartworm  Posi- tive dogs at the regular preventive dose, progressive microfilaria  suppression was demonstrated.  After approximately seven to eight months,  most dogs were free of circulating microfilaria.


 Milbemycin appears to interfere with heartworm embryogeneses, and  Ivermectin also has a suppressive effect on nematode reproduction.  Thus  the use of these drugs can be considered as an alternative modality for  treatment.


 Evidently this form of treatment is an "extra-label use" and an informed  consent should be signed by an owner before embarking upon this course.


 How many vets have ever mentioned this alternative?


 Now for the exciting news!


 An all-breed rescue club in Florida has been getting astounding results in treating heartworm cases with      a homeopathic detoxsode for parasites called  "Paratox".  Please understand that these are "rescue" dogs that were in  pretty sad condition when brought to them.


 For example, there was a German Shepherd that was so infested with  heartworm that the attending vet commented that it was the worst case he  had ever seen without the dog being dead!  In this particular case, they  did a 5 day course of "Clearing" (another homeopathic remedy made by the  same company) prior to the Paratox treatment.  When the dog was rechecked  in 6 weeks, the infestation was deemed to be "very light".  They repeated  the Paratox treatment and subsequent testing showed the dog to be "clear"!


 So far, they have treated about 20 cases with 100% success!  Evidently they  can see a physical change in 2 weeks ? better color, more vitality, etc.   Another nice thing about this method is that they don't have to restrict  the animals during treatment.


 The treatment is both gentle and simple, easy to administer and no side  effects!  In general, for dogs over 25 lbs, 5cc of Paratox is given orally,  once a day for 24 days.  One 40 oz bottle supplies a complete treatment.  For smaller dogs, they have been using 2cc per day for 24 days.  For giant  breeds and severely compromised dogs they have been using double the usual  daily dose(ie  10cc for 24 days).


 What about cost?  I'm not sure if you are aware that the standard "arsenic"  treatment can run well over $1,000.00.  The alternative of using Ivermectin  or Milbemycin is suggested to be for people that suffer from a "thin  wallet".  I'm sure you all know the cost of these drugs.


 Cost of one bottle of Paratox?  Are you ready for this :  $18.00!!