Don’t Forget to Heart Worm Your German Shepherd

Don’t Forget to Heart Worm Your German Shepherd

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge


Hi Everyone,

Last Fall we rescued to beautiful Heidelberg German Shepherds, They were brother and sister, littermates that we hold sold less than four years ago to a married couple in their late 40’s.  Unfortunately, the wife became ill and the husband subsequently died of a heart attack.  The wife was placed in nursing care and the father of the deceased man who was afraid of dogs was basically throwing food over the fence to feed these two beautiful shepherds who were out of Champion Heidelberg’s Dargo and Champion Heidelberg’s Stefanie.

Ch. Heidelberg's Dargo v Angelique

Ch. Heidelberg’s Dargo v Angelique

Ch. Heidelberg's Stefani Missyw

Ch. Heidelberg’s Stefani Missyw

We were contacted about the situation and made the long drive to bring these two back to our kennel and try to re-home them.  It took several months to find adoptive families.  In the meantime, we administered care including stomach wormings, needed annual shots, and monthly heart worm treatment.

Well yesterday, I was contacted by the new owner of the male and he was found to have stage II heart worm disease.  Given the time-frame and the stage of infection it was clear that he had contracted heart worms after the previous owner had died and before we rescued them.  It only took three months for the male to become infected, and now requiring an expensive and risky treatment.

We have been using ivermection, the active ingredient in Heart Guard, manufactured by Merck for twenty years and have never had a heart worm.  In addition, we tell all our customers the necessity of monthly treatment for heart worms and we offer to sell them a two year supply of heart worm medicine for one dog at a cost of only $21.50.  Therefore, in twenty years, we have never had any problems with heart worms and it never occurred to us to check these two rescues for heart worms.

No matter what treatment type you use for heart worm treatment, please make sure you treat your German shepherd dog or puppy.  If you do not treat them and live in most of the continental United States, your dog will eventually get heart worms even if they are primarily and inside dog.

Now there is some misinformation out there concerning heart worm treatment.  One is that if your dog currently has heart worms and you treat the dog with a monthly heart worm treatment that you are placing them at great risk.  Wrong, the reason your vet does not want you treat the dog that may have heart worms is because you will kill off the microfilaria in the blood stream and therefore they would test negative for heart worms.  Another misconception is that you have to go through the very risky and expensive treatment offered by your vet to rid your dog of a heart worm infection.  You can treat your infected dog with monthly doses of ivermection and within two-years all heart worms will be removed from your dog’s body.  However, this is only effective for lower stages of infection.  From what I understand if your Dog is Stage IV, there is no treatment or recovery.

Another concern voiced by some for this slower and cheaper treatment of heart worms by the use of ivermection is that it may result in producing ivermectin tolerant heart worms.  However, since the ivermection treatment makes the female heart worm infertile, the scenario of producing ivermection tolerant heart worms is a mute point.

In addition, to using ivermection it also recommended that monthly treatments of doxycycline for five days will help reduce the chances of secondary infection from the absorption of dead heart worms in your dog’s body and will cause the remaining heart worms to starve or become weakened because the doxycycline kills Wolbachia.  “Wolbachia is a genus of rickettsial organisms, sort of like bacteria but not exactly. They live inside the adult heart worm. These organisms seem to be protective or beneficial to the heart worms; treating the dog with the antibiotic doxycycline, which kills Wolbachia, seems to sterilize female heart worms, meaning they cannot reproduce. Wolbachia is also thought to be involved in the embolism and shock that result when heart worms die. The role of this organism is still being investigated.”*

Ivermection and Doxycycline for animal use can be purchased online without a prescription or at most feed stores.  As always, we at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels, do not suggest or recommend that you ever treat your German Shepherd dog or any animal without first consulting your veterinarian.

Please continue to check out our web page as we post updates on available litters:   We have several wonderful German shepherd puppies for sale that that are ready to go home.

June 3, 2015 and it's starting to get warm after a very cool Spring

June 3, 2015 and it’s starting to get warm after a very cool Spring

When can we go to our new homes?

When can we go to our new homes?

Please call me at (918) 261-4729 if you would like to take one of puppies home with you.  Please visit our web page to learn more about these wonderful Heidelberg German Shepherds that we raise at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels.


Dean Heckathorn

* From  the Veterinary Information Network, Inc. All rights reserved, Copyright 2014 – 2015.

Don’t Forget to Heart Worm Your German Shepherd

Fecal Exam for Your German Shepherd Dog

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge




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Hi Everyone,

Today, I am posting a interesting article written by Christine Wilford who received her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Texas A&M University, Texas.  The point of the article is that doing fecal exam on your German Shepherd Dog is likely a waste of time and money.  Like all animals, your dog will get stomach worms, such as round, hook, tape, and whip worms are the most common.  We at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennel do not do fecal exams rather like livestock ranchers, we assume that our dogs will get worms; therefore we place them on a worming program.  Thus, worming our dogs twice a year for less than the cost of a fecal exam, which as you will read is not a reliable method to determine whether your German shepherd has or does not have worms.  You too can learn how to worm your German Shepherd Dog for less than the cost of a fecal exam.

I'm Worm Free Because Dad Worms Me Twice a Year

I’m Worm Free Because Dad Worms Me Twice a Year


Veterinary News




A common test for worms may not always give you the right results


A majority of owners may be surprised to learn how inaccurate the common fecal examination really is.  Many owners are familiar with the annual regimen of bringing fresh fecal samples to their dogs’ annual physical examinations.  Likewise, most owners take heart in hearing their dogs’ test are normal or, alternatively, owners are glad to receive medications for treating the worms lurking within the bowels of their companions.  But what do these results really tell us?  Understanding how the test is run and knowing a few facts about intestinal worms can help you understand the test’s relative inaccuracies.


In general, the fresher the sample, the more accurate the test results.  As a sample ages, the contents of the eggs may hatch, may dry out and burst, or may mix well enough with the solution to be separated and float.  How fresh is fresh?  The preservation of worm eggs in a stool sample varies tremendously depending on temperature, humidity, and the consistency of the sample.  AS time elapses, eggs will degrade and thus will go unrecognized when the slide is examined.  During busy times of the day, other priorities may cause fecal samples to be left unexamined far beyond the optimal reading time.  Even when a sample is fresh and handled appropriately, results may still be unreliable.


The chances of finding a worm egg depend on how many worms there are in the intestine, how many of the worms are female, the maturity of the worms and whether the females were laying eggs during the time that the feces was formed.  If there are only a few worms in the intestines, the relative number of eggs laid in a fecal sample is usually much lower than if there is a heavy worm concentration in the dog.  It is also possible to have a significant worm burden with relatively few female worms present; thus, a dog could have clinical signs of intestinal worms without showing evidence of that in a fecal examination.  Similarly, if many of the worms are too immature to lay eggs, there will be no way to identify their presence through a simple fecal exam.


Additionally, because worms do not lay eggs at a constant rate, there may be no eggs in a fecal sample simply because the feces were formed and collected during a period when the adult female worms were not shedding eggs.


Based on this information, one could argue that an annual screening of an otherwise healthy dog is an unnecessary, and possibly inaccurate, test.  So why bother checking a fecal sample if the results could be misleading?  If no eggs are found, then there may be no worms present or there may be worms and they’ve gone undiagnosed.  Owners cannot depend on a single negative result.  Veterinarians who specialize in the gastrointestinal diseases recommend examining three separate fecal samples before concluding that a negative result is reliable.


When your dog’s stool is abnormal, that is, if you see blood, mucus, or a change of color or consistency, or your dog has loose stools, a fecal examination is advisable.  Depending on the types of worms present, clinical signs may not occur or may be subtle.  Worms do not necessarily cause weight loss or decreased activity.


In many cases, veterinarians use deworming medication as a diagnostic tool when fecal exams do not reveal worm eggs.  In fact, it may be easier, cheaper, and faster to administer a deworming medication that eliminates the common types of intestinal worms.  If the stools return to normal, it is concluded that the clinical signs were caused by intestinal worms.  Sometimes, common sense and practicality should prevail over complicated and expensive diagnostic tests.


Don't Forget to Worm Your German Shepherd Puppies

Don’t Forget to Worm Your German Shepherd Puppies


Please continue to check out our web page as we post updates on available litters:   We have several wonderful puppies that that are ready to go home.

Ask me a Question and I will provide my opinion.   Also, please see our web page: KeystoneGermanShepherds