What is immiticide treatment for heartworm?

If your dog has been diagnosed with heartworm, your veterinarian may recommend immiticide treatment. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what exactly immiticide is and how it works to help rid your furry friend of these pesky parasites.

What are Heartworms?

Before we dive into the specifics of immiticide treatment, let’s first understand what heartworms actually are.

Heartworms are parasitic worms that live in a dog’s heart and lungs. They are spread through mosquito bites and can grow up to 12 inches long inside the body of an infected animal. Left untreated, they can cause serious health issues such as coughing, fatigue, organ damage, and even death.

So if you suspect that your pup may have heartworms (especially if they’re showing some of these symptoms), it’s important to get them checked out by a veterinarian ASAP.

What is Immiticide?

Immiticide is the brand name for melarsomine dihydrochloride – a medication used specifically to treat adult stage heartworm infections in dogs. It works by killing off the adult worms found in the pulmonary arteries and right side of the heart.

The drug comes in injectable form and generally requires two or three treatments spaced about one month apart depending on the severity of infection (which frankly seems like both amazing news and awful news all rolled into one).

Since it targets only mature worms rather than their offspring (microfilariae), additional treatment may be required down-the-line—but more on that later!

How does Immiticide Work?

When injected into a muscle layer located around where your pet’s shoulder blades meet along its spine—known as intramuscular injection (bet you didn’t know there was so much science stuffed in just giving needles eh?)—hardening or scarring happens, trapping the injected area and reducing the medication spreading too far throughout your dog’s body.

This is important because immiticide is poisonous when not used correctly: it’s toxicity risks following improper treatment fell somewhere under kissing a rattlesnake or diving headfirst into an empty pool (okay that might be slightly exaggerated but you get my point)!

Once introduced into your pup’s bloodstream, immiticide seeks out those pesky heartworms where they hide – mainly the pulmonary arteries leading to their lungs.

What Happens After Treatment?

After each injection of immiticide, there may be some tenderness at the site of injection so keep an eye on it (I’m sure you’ll give them all kinds of extra love anyway).

One day following treatment (very specific eh?)—when given steroids as per your vet’s instructions—letting little Fido rest isn’t just preferable…it’s essential! Dogs will need plenty of quiet leash walks (AND NO RUNNING!) over roughly 30 days in order to help prevent clots dislodging from “dead” worms blocking blood vessels.

During this time, monthly doses of preventative medicine should continue while taking measures—as prescribed by- to reduce strenuous activity around household pet pals playing canine-catch together (I know what you’re thinking… “No playing plus pills? Sounds worse than being grounded”)

Also known as “staged confinement”, crating helps minimize dogs’ movements during recovery period. Honestly peaceful bed-rest could possibly be improved upon with hemp-milk milkshakes—it couldn’t really hurt things for either pet or owner right?!

Is Immiticide Right for Your Dog?

Now that you know how immiticide works and what its potential benefits are (aside from reduced chewing tendencies), let’s talk about whether it’s actually a good fit for your furry friend.

In most cases, vets typically recommend heartworm treatment with immiticide if:

  • the animal has tested positive for adult-stage heartworms
  • there’s evidence of lung or right-sided cardiac damage,
  • and it hasn’t responded well to other forms of therapy (such as monthly preventatives).

That being said, each case is different so make sure you talk to your veterinarian about what form of treatment makes sense. Plus who wouldn’t want an excuse to chat with their favorite vet!


Heartworm can be a scary thing for pet owners to deal with, but thankfully there are effective treatments available – like immiticide – that can help rid dogs’ bodies of these pesky parasites.

True, there’s no magic bullet, but it beat previous methods (never-ending daily or weekly pill regimens during doggo imprisonment) by leaps and bounds—improving quality-of-life probs long-term

So don’t hesitate! Call up your local veterinarian today and start discussing whether immiticide may be the right option for your four-legged friend.

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