Luna Belle ~ Adopted!


Shelter Photo


Luna Belle is about 6 years old and is an Aussie mix out of Alabama. She joined TDL in April but has been recovering with TDL Volunteer Rachel until she was ready for adoption.

Luna comes to us from a hoarding situation. She lived with many other animals, was underweight, and had lost fur due to a flea allergy. Luckily with a little TLC her fur is back and she has put on a few pounds. She was also heartworm positive but has already undergone treatment and from here she has a few antibiotics and her regular preventatives (no other special measures). She will continue to test light positive for heartworm for a while longer, but that should fade soon.


Luna practicing her “sit!” at her Petco classes


Luna is an awesome girl. She is house broken, crate trained, good on a leash, very polite (no jumping up from this girl) and is not an “over-barker”. She may give a woof if she sees something very strange but the average things of life (cars, mailman etc) don’t really phase her. She has 2 more classes at Petco and then she will get her first obedience certificate (Yey Luna!!!).



Luna when she first arrived at TDL (she looks so much better now)

Luna would do best as an only dog, not because she has any issue with other dogs, but because she came from a home where she had to share her life with lots of other dogs and she would really like to retire and be someone’s best girl. She would be a great first-dog for someone new to dog ownership or maybe an older family because she is generally calm, quiet and easy (just add water and stir) but really she could be great in any home.  She is not really the kind of dog who wants to go to the dog park but would love to be someone’s walking buddy (again, good on a leash!).

Luna isn’t clingy. She is happy to be with you, but if you need to run some errands she isn’t one to freak out about it. This sweet girl seems to understand that you’ll be back and is content to wait until you come back for her. She just seems to understand, and waits for you to come home and pat her on the head.

 5/17/15 Update: We are so proud of Luna! Yesterday she graduated from her obedience classes! Here she is in her mortarboard, standing proud. We couldn’t be more pleased!

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 5/30/15 Update! Luna was adopted by Zach and Julie of Orlando today! They already seem to have hit it off and we are so happy for them. Congratulations to all!




More updates to come! In the meantime check out her photos on Facebook.







Natural Heartworm Preventatives

BoBo, rescued heartworm positive, was heartworm negative in 8 months with monthly heartgard!

BoBo, rescued heartworm positive, was heartworm negative in 8 months with monthly heartgard!

I can’t recommend any alternative products to prevent heartworm disease in your dog, because I haven’t tried any!  You should, however, know the risks with any medication.  Bart’s Mom wrote today that he sometimes vomits when she gives him his heartworm preventative.  My China did too.  We have only had two dogs experience seizures after taking their heartgard.  Both dogs were male Border Collies, both dogs were exactly 51 pounds, and both dogs were given 50-100 pound heartgard.  Please be careful.

I can tell you that in trying to help Claire Bear, I ordered a kit of things, thinking it would help her.  The kit included treats, liquids, and powers.  The caveat to the “kit” was that it would not work if you didn’t alter the dog’s diet.  This begs the question, would Claire get better because of the mysterious potion I was making her, or because I changed her diet?  I am returning the product… it was useless.

If you have any articles you’d like to share, or can recommend any alternatives, please leave a comment on this page for us to share!

I also must warn you that there are a lot of scams out there.  Be careful where you place your credit card information!

One writer feeds raw, garlic, diatomaceous earth, and Heartworm Free product.

Product called Heartworm Free.

Heartworm preventative starts with diet.

SkeptVet says there’s no such thing!

and don’t forget, we can get interceptor!


Need Interceptor?


Herding Dogs Need to Use Interceptor

Shep’s Mom (now Alfie) Johanna found it and purchased it here!  Same great stuff for the herding breed dogs that can’t take Heartgard.



You know the expression, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you?” It’s not true! Every day I post dog food recalls so that you can be aware of the dangerous lurking in your dog’s food bowl!

Soon, I’m also going to tell you where the money goes. Here is a video about Shenandoah, a little border collie we rescued in 2011. She was heartworm positive, adopted, used the alternative method of treatment, and is negative today.

Ever wondered why I take the heartworm positive dogs? It’s not like I seek them out! I know that many shelters have a standard rule; do not adopt out heartworm positive dogs. They must go to a rescue, or they are put down. Even if the shelter has dozens of empty crates available, even if the dog is young, even if the dog is a purebred, even if the dog has an awesome temperament, heartworm positive dogs are doomed.

If you research all of my heartworm positive dogs, you’ll see that many of them were rescued by me because I knew they had no way out. There was no chance in hell they would be allowed to live because of a simple and easy-to-cure heartworm.

Shenandoah is one of those dogs.

Click here to see Shenandoah’s Original Post

Treating Your Heartworm Positive Dog

Over the past three years, we have documented all of our heartworm positive dogs, 35 total:

  • 23 of these dogs were treated using an Alternative Method which consists of Heartgard, Doxycyline and Prednisone.
  • 10 of these dogs were treated using Immiticide (arsenic based).
  • 2 of these cases have not yet been updated.








Of the 10 dogs treated with Immiticide,  one died from complications.  All 9 of the other dogs are heartworm negative today, and are not experiencing any complications.





Here are the results of the 23 dogs that used the Alternative Method:

  • 2 are unconfirmed
  • 5 are still being treated.  Some of these dogs are new to our rescue, and have just recently started their treatment, for example, Little Grace.
  • 16 have been re-tested and are confirmed heartworm negative.  Most received negative results within 8-12 months.



While we can not advice which treatment method to use.  We do however, provide you with all of the options available to you, and it is up to your Veterinarian to make the ultimate decision.  This decision is primarily based on the age of your dog, its saturation level and overall health.

Some collie breeds do have allergic reactions to ivermectin, the main ingredient in heartgard.  It is recommended that collies use an alternative form of heartworm prevention that does not contain ivermectin.  Three of our dogs had an allergic reaction to heargard:

Note:  What we have learned is dogs that are just at the 50 pound weight limit, and were given a 50-100 pound heartgard suffered a reaction.

All of our Heartworm Positive Dogs

Heartworm Treatment Options Artciles

Immiticide Shortage Poses a Huge Problem Nationwide

Very interesting posts made regarding the nationwide shortage of immiticide.

“I work at a military installation small animal clinc in Georgia. We have heartworm positive test quite often. I have seen at least 8-12 in the past 6 months. It is really unfortunate. At any rate we too have ZERO Immiticide but we have been starting dogs on the “slow method” as well. We are giving them a combo of Doxy and Heartgard. The amount of Heartgard is increased to 1 chewable every 2 weeks (or twice a month) and the amount of doxy varies on the animal.

BoBo, shown right, heartworm negative after 8 months of slow kill treatment (heartgard and doxy). 

We give the 2 together for several months. With dogs that have been on ZERO Heartgard we start them off with a (free trial) puppy size 1 time, then move them up slowly to the appropriate size one step at a time. So the first time is a puppy size, then 2 weeks later the 26-50 and so on.. if needed to reach the appropriate size for their weight. (I call it a puppy size since it is a free puppy kit we get from the company).

As far as results we have been testing animals 4+ months later and we have seen some that have come back negative after the treatment. As far as cost goes it is fairly cheap because we only serve military and our prices for products are typically cheaper particularly for these products.On a last note, I have also heard that they are administering Immiticide for those “critical” cases that are in need. There is a form of sorts to fill out from the vet who sends it in and can apparently obtain the Immiticide. I haven’t seen any come through our doors that are showing any signs of an immediate need for the Immiticide and we haven’t orderd any that I am aware of. We will have to weather the storm with everyone else I guessOh I forgot! I have heard that the combonation of the 2 meds does something to the digestive tract of the heartworm therefore not allowing it eat or digest properly which then leads it to slowly die… again this is only what I have heard in conversations with other vets. “

Chas loves his Jeep!

But wait, there’s more!  Marjie Wolfe has been working feverishly to get the latest updates!

And most important, published Alternative Therapies by the Heartworm Society.
In cases where arsenicals are contraindicated and the animal’s overall condition makes standard adulticidal therapy impractical, the use of a monthly ivermectin-based heartworm preventive along with doxycycline could be considered. It has been reported that ivermectin and doxycycline administered periodically over 36 weeks resulted in a 78% reduction in adult worm numbers. Moreover, microfilariae from dogs treated with doxycycline that were ingested by mosquitoes developed into third-stage larvae that appeared to be normal in appearance and motility, but these larvae were not able to develop into adult worms, thus negating the risk of selecting for resistant strains. The administration of doxycycline at 10 mg/kg BID for a 4 week period every three to four months should eliminate most Wolbachia organisms and not allow them to repopulate.”
Here’s an article from  “Current recommendations by the American Heartworm Society are to treat heartwormpositive dogs with a slow-kill method. This method involves continued use of preventative, antibiotics and possibly steroids.”
Shelters and pounds will have no choice but to either change their protocol to adopting out HW+ dogs or they will be put down, with no chance of rescue.
This is unfortunate because the treatment is easily obtainable, affordable and successful.  Shelters and pounds might consider allowing adopters to foster HW+ dogs, while they undergo the slow kill treatment, and adopt once the test results are negative.

Good News: We’re Positive He’s Negative!

Adopter Update on Chas, my TDL dog by Amy Benz

Monday, June 20, 2011: Today was annual check-up day for my dogs, Chas and Shelby. As you may remember, Chas (formerly Billy Joel) is the border collie mix I adopted from TDL last summer. He’s the one that got me started working in rescue. When I adopted Chas he was heartworm positive; in fact, I related my experience and choice of treatment in an article Gisele wrote several months ago. I’ve republished an excerpt from that article at the bottom of this page.

Chas loves to go on road trips in the Jeep!

Anyway, back to annual check-up day, which included the usual litany of vaccinations as well as the dreaded fecal and heartworms tests. Cue the scary music. I knew my choice  to use the slow-kill method (an initial cycle of doxycycline/prednisone followed by monthly Heartgard heartworm preventative) could take 1-2 years to produce a negative test result. Therefore I fully expected to hear that Chas’s heartworm test was positive. After all, he’d only been on the slow-kill treatment since last summer, less than one full year.

I didn’t really think much about it during the examination and hadn’t mentioned it to the Dr. Bailey, but was certainly glad to hear her pronouncement that Chas’s heart and lungs sounded great as she performed her initial exam. We chatted about this and that while she finished up, then Dr. Bailey and her vet tech left the exam room to retrieve the results of the fecal and heartworm tests for both dogs.

A few minutes later Dr. Bailey returned.

“Good news,” she said. “Both tests came back negative. You’re all set to go.”

Both tests for both dogs came back negative?” I clarified. “Both fecal and heartworm tests for both? You’re certain?”

“Yep, see for yourself,” she answered.

I looked at the snap tests, one with Shelby’s name and the other with Chas’s name. Sure enough, they both showed negative! Unbelieveable! I was grinning from ear to ear as I reminded Dr. Bailey that Chas had been heartworm positive this time last year.

“Let’s do the test one more time, just to be sure,” she said. “I’m pretty skeptical about a negative result in such a short period of time.” However, 10 minutes later we got the same result — negative! — from a second test, leaving little room for doubt.

Now I’m not saying the slow-kill method is the right course of action for every dog in every situation, but I do think it’s a valid option, worthy of consideration. I chose the slow-kill method for Chas because: 1. He was asymptomatic (no coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, lethargy, etc.). 2. He was a young, otherwise healthy, and active dog that I knew would be difficult to keep contained and quiet for the amount of time required by the fast-kill or Immiticide treatment. I believe you should be able to discuss all the options with your veterinarian and agree upon a reasonable treatment plan that everyone — most especially your dog! — can live with.

~ Amy

In case you’re interested, here’s my original post about Chas and my experience as the owner of a heartworm positive dog:

“Before I adopted border-collie mix Chas (formerly Billy Joel), my only experience with heartworm positive dogs was secondhand. My brother and his wife had rescued an American Bulldog that was heartworm positive; their vet recommended the fast-kill treatment via Immiticide. My aunt rescued a heartworm-positive American Eskimo Dog; her vet also recommended the fast-kill method. Following treatment with Immiticide, both dogs nearly died and had to be rushed to the emergency veterinary clinics in their respective areas. Despite following all the necessary precautions/instructions, my brother and my aunt nearly lost their dogs because they had a difficult time keeping them completely and totally quiet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Both dogs were young and very active at the time of their Immiticide treatment.

This was my mindset going into adopting Chas, who at two years of age had been diagnosed as “light heartworm positive.” I had never heard of the slow-kill method, which employs a combination of treatment with doxycycline/prednisone and monthly dosages of Heartgard heartworm preventative over a long period of time. Gisele and Holly explained my options and recommended several sources of credible information so that I could educate myself. Because Chas was young, fit, active, and – most importantly – asymptomatic (no coughing, shortness of breath, or lethargy), I decided the slow-kill method would be the way to go. I simply couldn’t fathom keeping him confined and quiet for such a long period of time if another option was available.

Feeling I’d made an informed decision with Chas’s best interest in mind, I took him to my regular vet for a check-up as soon as I got him home. Imagine my surprise when my vet berated me for my thinking, implying that I was not only ignorant but irresponsible for even considering the slow-kill method. She went as far as telling me that I was putting my entire neighborhood’s dog population at risk by maintaining a heartworm positive dog. “What if your neighbor’s dog isn’t on preventative?” she asked. “You could be responsible for infecting that dog!” I left the office in tears and immediately called Holly, who informed me that unfortunately many vets feel this way about the slow-kill method. Her advice was to research as much as possible, read testimonials about dogs successfully treated with the method, and ultimately make my own decision. I chose to stick with the slow-kill method. So far, so good – my Chas is a healthy, happy, active dog and continues to remain asymptomatic. I’m hoping for good news this spring at his annual check-up.”

Promise to tell the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth

I joke all the time that I want to start my own reality show and here’s an example of why!

About two months ago, I was in the process of pulling two dogs from the panhandle. One was from Terry Watts (Gemini) and the other was from a woman will I call “Sally” in this post. Sally is not her real name, and I will not release her actual name, because she is an active cross-poster and saves many dogs. To hurt anyone’s reputation in the world of rescue jeopardizes a lot of lives.

Before finalizing the pull and transport of these two dogs, Gemini (shown left) being one of them, I clearly asked both Terry and Sally if the dogs were heartworm negative or positive. My email clearly stated, it matters not, either way, but I need to know. Both Terry and Sally immediately told me that they would have the dogs tested. A day later, they both replied in an email saying their dogs were negative.

At the time of their pull and transport, I was 2 months behind on my mortgage, and had $120.34 in the bank! Knowing that the dogs were both negative, I knew I had enough money to get Sally’s dog spayed and fully vetted.

I asked both Terry and Sally to provide paperwork that they were negative, so I would not have to pay for another heartworm test. Heartworm status is mandatory in my rescue before adoption. Terry said no problem, but Sally told me she didn’t have any paperwork. I questioned the lack of paperwork, the lack of proof that the test was done, and asked who performed the test, and did not get an answer.

Even though I failed to get a clear answer, the dogs were transported, and I trusted that once Sally’s dog was heartworm tested, the results would show a negative.

Once the dogs arrived, my vet called me to discuss the paperwork. Gemini had been fully vetted and spayed by Terry Watts. She was surprised that Sally’s dog came without any paperwork. She asked me if I wanted a heartworm test on Sally’s dog, and I said yes. The vet called me a few moments later informing me that Sally’s dog was heavy heartworm positive, but would still spay her. Confident that I would figure out a way to pay for the treatment, I gave my vet the green light to have Sally’s dog spayed and vetted.

I felt very deceived, but it wasn’t the first time I had been deceived. Heartworm positive doesn’t scare me, and I have accepted probably 50 HW+ dogs in my rescue since I started it a year ago, but I accept them when I have the funds to treat, and I make sure that my ratio of HW- and HW+ is balanced. Let’s face it, Heartworm positive dogs take longer to adopt. People are afraid of the status, and don’t understand how easy it is to treat.

I called Sally and asked for her help. I needed $125 to send the dog to Dr. Wayne for treatment. I even suggested that she could send the money directly to Dr. Wayne, instead of sending it to me. I asked her if she could raise the funds. She indicated that she had $50 she could use, and that she would get back with me. I was hoping for an explanation, maybe that someone had made a mistake, but no explanation was given.
Moments later, Sally called me and informed me that she wanted the dog back. I asked her why? Clearly, she could receive the treatment with me and I could find her a home quickly. Sally insisted that she was going to arrange transport, and wanted the dog back. But there was another problem. I had the dog vetted and spayed, along with the cost of boarding, we were looking at approximately $75.00 or more.

Again, I asked why won’t you just help me raise the money for the treatment and leave the dog with me? Sally informed me that she adopts out HW+ dogs all the time. If that was the case, why was the dog sent to me to begin with?

I contacted my vet and explained the situation. At this point, I didn’t know what was going to happen to the dog. I had never had anyone say they were taking a dog back.

What I didn’t know was that Sally had contacted another individual who works at my vet, and asked that they find a home for the dog.

That afternoon I was at the vet’s office, processing new dogs coming off a transport, (one of the dogs from that transport was Dudley) when a strange woman walked up to our group, and asked if anyone knew of a young female, spayed and vetted that had been abandoned by a rescue. Needless to say, my blood pressure hit the roof.

Later I spoke with the people at the vet’s office, and assured them that I was responsible for the dog, and the dog’s bills, including boarding fees, and that no one was taking the dog unless it was leaving with me, or going where Sally indicates. In other words, the dog is not going to be re-homed without going through the standard adoption process.

Before I left, I paid for the dog’s current boarding fees and heartworm test, and waited for further instructions.

I later received a call from the vet, that Sally had coordinated transport for another rescue group, and the bill for the balance, which included more boarding, vetting and spay was paid, it totaled $106. My vet and I wondered why that $106 was not used to help pay for the heartworm treatment, and why someone would choose to move a dog around when unnecessary.

The dog was adopted, to a wonderful home, and is getting the treatment she needs.

Dudley, however, stayed at the vet for quite some time. He was not heartworm tested at the pound, the service is not available there. We later found out that he too is heartworm positive, was emaciated, and x-rays showed a bullet in his chest.

Because I agreed to rescue Dudley (shown left) without any information, once his health issues were uncovered I solicited donations from my supporters. Because I was not told the truth about Sally’s dog, I asked Sally to raise the funds from her supporters. It’s all about accountability isn’t it? When I pull a dog without history, I am accountable.

Dudley is doing great, and was adopted from me by someone who works at the vet’s office.

I have always been very honest about all of my dogs. I publish where the dogs come from, I name the shelter, I name the person who pulls, fosters, and transports our dogs. I write as much as I can about my dogs health, age, temperament, etc. I expect the same honesty in return when someone asks me to take a dog into my rescue.

Being dishonest in rescue will only hurt the dogs in the long run. I ask for as much information as possible about each dog that I pull, and when that information is not available, I take my chances and hope for the best. I make sure I have the funds to cover expenses in advance. One month, I may accept 2 or 3 heartworm positive dogs, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be able to the following month.

If you don’t know a dog’s health, heartworm status, age, breed, temperament, just say you don’t know. To deceive a rescue into taking a dog is wrong. We can’t save them all.

To date, the dogs that are in my rescue, and are available for adoption that are heartworm positive are Jasper, Little Bear, Moonpie, Joey (LillyAnn shown left has not been heartworm tested yet, and was an owner-surrender).

She shelter that gave us Moonpie also told us she was heartworm negative. I didn’t know Joey was positive until after he was pulled and processed. Jasper and Little Bear were owner-surrendered, and we suspected that they would be positive.

In rescue, there is no right or wrong. You do the best you can, and take your lumps. You try to plan what can not be planned. You prepare for the worse and hope for the best, but one thing is for sure, you must surround yourself with people who care about your work, will protect your rescue to keep it alive and well, and expect that the people you work with have the same high standards as you do.

Note: If there was an error in administering the heartworm test, and this was not done on purpose, I apologize for this post. But if this heartworm test was done in error, and gave a false negative, I was not told.

Gisele Veilleux, Founder, The Dog Liberator

Everything You Wanted to Know about Heartworm Disease

Recognizing that their is no consensus in the medical community regarding heartworm treatment, we chose to treat our dogs under our care with slow-kill/ivermectin, however, after adoption, it is up to you to discuss the options with you vets, and choose the option that works for you.

Rolling up my sleeves and getting this over with. Nothing has confused me more than trying to explain the treatment of heartworm disease. It’s probably the most controversial topic I’ve come across. I’ve spent hours talking to vet techs, vets, homeopathic vets, other rescues, dog owners, and shelter directors. But, the vote is in, treating with Doxy, and ivermectin is the preferred method. What’s ironic, is it’s the only affordable method. Border Collie and Aussie owners beware, the dosage is different for certain breeds.

At this time, the vet of choice for treating heartworms is Dr. Susan Wayne, Murphy’s Vet. Clinic in Sanford, FL. However, if anyone has a vet that they would like to recommend, please email us and we will post it here, and on the blog.

Here’s the stuff I’ve heard:

– Someone’s dog died on immiticide because they didn’t keep it quiet. The immiticide treatment killed her.

– A friend of mine did the slow kill method, and the dog died.

– I used ivermectin, and my dog died.

Let’s get real here, it’s heartworms that kills dogs.

Let’s get real here, it’s heartworms that kill dogs. The overall health of your dog, your dog’s age, the load of heartworms, and breed are all taken into consideration. You have the right to review all methods of treatment, and choose the method you think is best for you, your dog, and your pocket book. In the case of Collie Girl, Gisele, there were no options. Her condition and load were both severe. She had to be nursed back to health, for two months before she could go through the fast-kill immiticide treatment. Her load was so heavy, that the slow kill method would not have been affective for her, for she was simply running out of time before the heatworms would kill her.

In the case of Jackson Browne, and many other dogs that I have rescued, they were young, healthy, had a light load, and were treated using the slow kill method, by monthly heartgard. Jackson Browne’s high energy level immediately disqualified him as a candidate for the fast kill method.

I strongly recommend you review this entire article by Dog Aware, which breaks down the disease itself, and stresses the use of Doxy.

In this article, focusing on the treatment of the disease, provided by Dog Aware, both the slow kill and the fast kill method are detailed. Also provided is information regarding different forms of monthly heartworm preventative, and which ones are affective at killing the heartworms.

Controversy: This article clearly states – “Whenever heartworm treatment is delayed, for whatever reason, it is usually a good idea to start the dog on monthly Heartgard in the meantime, which will help destroy the microfilariae and weaken the adult worms. Because there is a small chance of an adverse reaction to this treatment, it should only be done on a day when you are home to observe the dog and seek treatment if necessary. Do not use Interceptor (milbemycin oxime), which is much more dangerous to a dog with heartworms, due to its greater efficacy against microfilariae. “

Question: Then why is it some vets refuse to give me heartgard for a HW+ dog? What are they thinking?

The Author’s final recommendation: “Based on the research below, I recommend giving weekly ivermectin (Heartgard) along with doxycycline prior to treatment with Immiticide (unless your dog has the MDR1 gene mutation that causes sensitivity to ivermectin). If Immiticide is not used (slow-kill treatment method), then I recommend giving weekly ivermectin along with pulsed doxycycline (see the schedule below) for at least a year, or until the dog no longer tests positive for heartworms (note that a dog may test positive for up to six months after the worms are all gone).”

Here’s an overview about Ivermectin and Collies: “Approximately 35% of Collies have a genetic mutation creating a non-functional P-glycoprotein. This allows for ivermectin doses that would normally be blocked from the central nervous system to gain access to it. Other herding breeds as listed above also have a tendency to express this mutation. There is now a test for P-glycoprotein mutation so that ivermectin sensitive dogs can be identified. This is a DNA test using an oral swab. Test kits can be ordered directly from the Washington State University Veterinary School via

Here is a post we kept up with while Collie Girl, Gisele went through her heartworm treatment, and we also received updates from other adopters about their treatment plans as well. The Diary of Treatment Heartworm Disease.


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