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Heartworm Treatment and Home Remedies for Pets

Last Modified on Nov 16, 2015

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Posted by Josie (San Antonio, Tx) on 05/25/2015

[YEA]  The best way to treat heartworms on a dog is Sardines in the can. The one that has oil in it. In the past few years, I had 3 dogs with heartworms and this lady told me about the sardines in oil and I tried it and it works. When a dog starts to cough it means it has heartworms. I have to say when a dog gets heartworms, it does damage the heart, but with the sardines in oil the dog will live for a long time. What you do is give your dog some sardines to eat, if the dog don't like it, force it in mouth and make the dog eat it. Then get a syringe and get some of the oil and put it in mouth. This is if the dog don't like it. I had to do this to one of my dog and after a while she would eat it on her own. My other 2 dogs loved it. Do this once a week for 1 month. If the dog is still coughing then do it longer. If the dog is big then give it all, but if it is small then half of the can. It will kill the worms in the heart.

Replied by Jaquie
[NAY]   The fact that you have had THREE dogs with Heartworms is alarming. The fact that you shove sardines down the throat of your sick dog makes me cringe. Sorry, but that may just be one of the worst posts ever.
Replied by Joyce
There are the larvae and then the worms in the heart....are you saying that sardines kills the worms...I am trying woodworm and black walnut with quassia and cloves...she is also taking the monthly medication along with amoxicillin....will the sardines really work?
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
[WARNING!]   This advice is concerning for a few reasons. First, the heartworm infection does not appear to have been confirmed by a vet; while a severe heartworm infection will cause a dog to cough, there are many other illnesses that will also cause a dog to cough so diagnosing a hearworm infection based on a cough IMHO is hit or miss.

Sardines are a superfood; they have incredible nutritional properties, and I do not doubt that feeding a dog with kennel cough sardines would boost the immune response and help effect healing. Based on the research I have done on sardines in trying to see if this home remedy is effective, I am tempted to feed my own dogs sardines on a daily basis as well as downing a few myself; sardines are just plain good for you.

Sardines contain a significant amount of purine, which apparently plays a role in facilitating the movement of intracellular parasites in the blood.

Sardines also have a significant amount of Iodine; Iodine IS an antiparasitic and is often used by humans during parasite cleanses. A 5 oz serving of sardines has 35 micrograms of Iodine; a human should have 150 micrograms of Iodine to stay healthy - not sure what the dose is for dogs. If sardines are used to eliminate heartworms in a dog, it would take much more than 1 sardine with each meal to do it.

If anyone has experience using sardines to cure a **confirmed heartworm postive dog** please contribute to this thread.


Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Joyce!

The sardines are a healthy supplement for your dog but they will NOT cure her heartworm infection.

Replied by Kristyne
Did your three dogs all have a heartworm positive test? How long were they positive( yrs)? I have one that I've treated with remedies for heartworms but last yr still still positive. I rescued her and she has been positive 5 yrs. no coughing. Sometimes when collar is pulled she coughs a bit. Rarely. Weight is above normal. She weighs around100-105 last weight was 98. Thank u k
Replied by Cathy Edwards
Lake City Fl.
I need to know how certain this is for an home remedy cure for a dog (14-15lbs) with heartworms.
Replied by Gerald
Detroit, Mi
Thanks & GOD Bless you!
Replied by Jaime
Hi, I dont know very much about this stuff because I am very young and I was just wondering if the heart worms were bad in any of your dogs then you fed them the sardines and it worked..? I'm very worried about my big dog, because he is coughing a lot and is starting to lose some fur and I am wondering if it is too late for me to do what you did or to hurry him to the vet? I'm very worried I may be too late....
Replied by Jessica
Eunice, La
Have you gotten them tested for heartworm again?

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Posted by Faye (Tennessee) on 09/06/2015

[YEA]  I have used the VRM2 for my small dog and it has worked to get rid of the heart worms.

Has anyone had any success with eliminating the fluid buildup around the tummy area? I have used Lasix without success. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

Replied by Shannon
Honey can u plz tell me what vrm2 is and where I can get it? I have a senior dog I rescued and he has the heart worms he started the coughing so I took him into the vet they want alot of money to pretty much almost kill the old man and I know he has several years left he is such a good boy and I would hate to loose him so early and have his life cut short if there is something I can do to help him
Replied by Lorie
I just purchased the vrm2 to rid my dog of heartworm. She weighs about 15 lbs. How much should I give her?

Posted by Ginny (Memphis, Tn) on 07/02/2015

[YEA]  Hello,

I've been giving my dog HeartGuard as heartworm prevention ever since she was a pup. Her last vet visit indicated a heartworm positive test. She isn't in the advanced stages, but I already knew giving her the "traditional" treatment was not going to be an option for me. She's on a predominantly raw food diet and is eating fine. She's almost 10 years old too.

After reading this website, I felt intuitively I should start with the VRM2 that so many talked about here. So I ordered 2 bottles from the chiropractor and started her 3 days ago. I'm also giving her a clove of garlic in her food every day.

This morning I took her out and noticed she was acting a little strange - sitting in the middle of the yard, not running around as usual. When I looked closer, I noticed she had what I thought was just some leftover grass/poop hanging on her butt (sorry - I know kind of gross! ), and she totally freaks out when something is hanging there so I grabbed a leaf to take care of it. What I noticed were these long strings hanging there. At first I thought it was just long pieces of grass but after researching a bit further I now realize these are heartworms coming out of her. After only 3 days on the VRM2!!! I was amazed. Now she's not completely comfortable so I think more are going to be coming out, but I honestly believe giving her that VRM2 is working. When this happens again I'm going to put it in a baggie to show my vet just to be sure. I'm convinced that what's happening though so I wanted to share here.

I'm going to make a spray of tea tree or melaleuca oil and water to use on her anus area for relief too. I'll continue the VRM2 treatment for 11 more days as suggested here and I'll have her tested again after.

Dosage I'm giving her is 1 capsule in food (taking contents out of capsule and putting directly in food). She's 65 lbs.

Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Ginny!

I am so happy that you are getting results with the VRM2!

I do have to respectfully clarify the results you are seeing; heartworms do NOT come out of the GI tract - you are likely looking at another type of worm that has infested your dog's intestines. Hearworms when killed off stay in the bloodstream and slowly break up and are filtered out by the lungs and other organs. For this reason it is helpful to provide liver and kidney support and to keep your dog on very limited exercise/stay on crate rest as the heartworms dissolve and are filtered out by the lungs.

Replied by Ginny
Memphis, Tn
Oh my goodness - thank you for clarifying that for me. This is my first experience with heart worms so I just assumed that's what they were.
Replied by Julie
New Orleans, La
This sounds like a promising solution! Did you ever follow up with the vet?
Replied by Jill
Hixson, Tn
I have 2 pugs that just tested positive for heartworm. One is 19lbs and the other is 24lbs. Can you please tell me the dosage of VRM2 that I need to give them and for how long? Thank You! Jill Johnson
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Jill!

I strongly encourage you to speak directly with the company that sells this product for product dosing information, and to report back to the forum and let us know what dose worked for you.

That said, from the various posts on the topic for dosing:

There is only one brand of VRM2 - its made by Systemic Formulas and is part of their 'Bio-Challenge' line.

Their website and many others stress to NOT start using this product unless you can see it through to the full course of treatment which is 4 - 6 cycles of dosing VRM2 of 10 days on, 5 days off. A bottle holds 30 capsules - and the bottle also says to adjust for weight, so *maybe* 1 capsule to 1-1/2 capsule for the 14 pound dog and 1-1/2 to 2 capsules for the 24 pound dog [again, please check with the company that sells you this product as they do provide customer service]. Dose half the total dose for each dog am and pm - on an empty stomach is ideal. So you are looking at a treatment regime of pills for 10 days, then off for 5 - and 6 cycles is recommended schedule; be sure you order enough to accommodate this schedule for both dogs. Also recommended while on the VRM2 treatment from the same company is their heart supplement [Biofunction H] and their kidney support [Biofunction K].

Please read up on heart worm and supportive care if you wish to treat your dog for heart worm:


Replied by Ginny
Southaven, Ms
All, I used 2 rounds of the VRM2 with my dog. How long do I wait before giving her another test and if it still shows positive, do I do another round? Is there anyone on here who has had recent success with the VRM2?

I'm considering the method of giving her the antibiotic for 30 days, then 2 Heartguard pills a month for 6 months, with one more 30 day round of the antibiotic the 3rd month.

She has a slight cough but no other symptoms and she's been on Heart worm preventative her whole life. They offered to pay for the treatment but of course that's the arsenic and I don't want to do that. So my questions are:

1) Anyone used the VRM2 but had to do more than one treatment?

2) Opinion of the other above method?

3) When to test again?

Thank you!

Posted by June (Pa.) on 03/20/2014

[SIDE EFFECTS]  I gave my cocker spaniel her first dose of vrm2-sm, 1/2 capsule, in less then half an hour she started coughing and panting worse then ever, is this a normal reaction maybe that it`s working? Thank you for any feed back.

Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey June!

Sorry to hear about your dog's heartworm infection :-(

Please read up on heartworm as you continue treating your dog:

When you treat for heartworm, what you are actually doing is killing the worms in the heart and the microfilaria in the bloodstream. When the adult worms in the heart die, they break into pieces and they only place they can go is downstream, into the lungs where they eventually get absorbed. The coughing and panting is the result of the worms dying and getting 'filtered out' of the bloodstream by the lungs. The coughing [most likely] is from the build up of the dead worms in the lung tissue that have yet to be absorbed, and the panting [most likely] is from the pain or discomfort from this process.

Dogs undergoing heartworm treatment should be kept as calm as possible and strict crate rest is generally prescribed. This treatment is long term - you will NOT see immediate improvement as it takes time for the worms to die off. Again, please read up on how to best support your dog during the treatment phase.

Please let us know how it goes!

Replied by June
Thank you Theresa from pls, so much for the feed back on the vrm. I had no idea what to expect after treatment. I just lost my buddy Lady (cocker Spaniel) of 16 years a month ago, still recovering from her loss, so when Lacey came up sick, it worries me to death, I surely don`t want to loose her to.We just got her card today reminding me she is due for her check up.The vet. is aware of her cough, I gave her a tsp. of honey and she finally stopped coughing and is resting very well.i will continue with the vrm2-sm as it seems to be a miracle treatment, i`m sooo glad I found this site. Thank you again for caring.
Replied by Deb
Greensboro, Nc
Hi, I can't get my dog to eat food with VRM2 on it. Any suggestions?
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Deb!

If you are using the capsules and need to split a capsule, you can buy empty gel caps at the drugstore; pour the powder into a gel cap and then wrap in cheese or some other soft tasty food - see if that will work. If you are using the liquid you can put the liquid in a gel cap as well and dose hidden in cheese or other soft food.

Replied by Courtney
Dyersburg, Tn
Hi everyone,

So I started the VRM2 on my beloved 6 year old Dobie last night. I am giving this a try. I was told she has heartworms and has a cough when she moves about a lot. How long should it take for the cough to start improving? She is 55 lbs so how what mg and dose of garlic should I be giving her. Also I got the CoQ10 as recommended and how much of that should I give her. It is 100 mg. I will keep everyone updated on how well it works for my friend. Also the the vet told me that she had done the snap test and that it indicated a hot case of them and recommended we would have to do the slow kill, 3 dose treatment on her. So that is what we are dealing with.

Thanks and everyone please pray that this works for my Dobie. I want her to feel better and get back to normal.

Replied by Bonnie
Bandera , Texas
Can someone please tell me how long it takes black walnut wormwood complex to work? I gave it to him about 30 minutes ago and haven't seen anything. Thank You
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Bonnie!

I have no direct experience with this remedy so can only speak from the experiences I have read about on EC or researched.

The black walnut begins to work immediately, albeit it may be slowly. This is a good thing, as a rapid die off of heartworms can be deadly. Your dog should be on strict crate rest with minimal exercise. The wormwood causes the heartworms to die, and they in turn must be filtered from the blood; the lungs end up serving as part of this filtering system which can lead to difficulty breathing - so again no exercise. Recovery time depends on the severity of the infection, and your dog's ability to process the worms out of his blood.

Please google 'heartworm treatment aftercare' to study up on the road ahead of you.

Good luck!

Replied by Gbear
Martinez, Ca
Check "wolfcreekranch1.tripod(dot)com" for great natural remedies. Dose with daily diatomaceous earth for maintenance. Good for humans also.
Replied by Bonnie
Bamdera, Tx
Thank you, Theresa... I don't know if I'm giving him enough, I'm a bit nervous.... I have just about everything y'all mentioned here...

Saying prayers.

Replied by Kelley Hudson
I've been doing garlic, black walnut hull, and wormwood. The coughing stopped but my dog won't eat and is extremly thin. What should I do?He is still breathing heavy.
Replied by Blake
I am about to start my lab mix on VRM2 and I really need to know what would be the dosage (he is 53 lbs ) and how much excercise can he have while on this medicine?
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Blake!

Please consult your vendor for VRM2 for dosage - and please report back as to what the maker of this product advises.

Typically dogs undergoing heartworm treatment are advised to take NO exercise and instead to observe strict crate rest, going outside to potty - and then right back to the crate.

Replied by Jaquie
Houton, Tx
Long Post

My 8 year old Pitt was diagnosed with Heartworms close to 9 months back. The doctor found nothing else 'wrong' with her despite the reason for the visit being persistent/constant coughing and vomiting, ergo a pretty definite diagnosis of "Heartworms".He placed her on Heartguard and not only explained the procedure of, but quoted the price for, the 'normal' treatment plan for Heartworms, which was the same as seen on thousands of internet articles, Invermectin shots in two intervals.My dog steadily worsened and we took her back to the same vet 7 times. Each time he charged us for the visit and prescribed steroids, worm medicine, more Heartguard, etc and said we needed to run more (expensive) tests. We explained we did not have the money for the tests he wanted us to pay for and asked that he please just treat her for what we KNOW she has: Heartworms. (In retrospect, had we originally done the tests it would have turned out to be less expensive than all these visits). For the last few visits he has just sent her home as if nothing is wrong. Despite her actually being progressively worse (heavier coughing, panting and continued vomiting).Today she was 'leaking' from her vulva which I believe to be a uterine infection, and panting like mad. We took her to the same vet (I am disabled and have mobility problems) and got the SAME answer. He wants to run tests and more tests. He REFUSES to treat her for what we know she has: Heartworms and my dog has spent months being clearly, utterly distressed and in my opinion will die soon because of the negligence of this veterinarian.Upon getting home I looked everywhere for a bottle of Black Walnut and Wormwood complex I knew I had somewhere and gave her something like a dropper-full with hamburger meat. She is 50 lbs though and I really do not know the dosage, so if anyone can help, I'd be grateful. Also, it has been asked before here but no one seems to reply ... which makes me feel a little sick. What is the success rate of this treatment please?

Thank you.

Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Jaquie!

There are many who report success in treating HW+ dogs at home. Some success stories are posted on EC, some can be found with a google search. The key is time and patience, to provide internal cleansing and organ support and to drastically limit exercise. It took many months for your dog to get sick and it will take months for a slow recovery; no quick fixes with HW.

I have to wonder if you cannot locate another vet if you do not agree with this first vet. I do agree with your vet that tests really *are* needed for a correct diagnosis; did you do a snap test to confirm the heartworm, or was it diagnosed based on physical symptoms because you could not afford the $50.00 HW test? The discharge from the vulva is a great concern and could be an open pyometra which is a veterinary emergency. Have you tried to take your dog's temperature to see if she is running a fever? I agree your dog will die soon without the much needed veterinary care, but I debate that the vet has been negligent: your vet is running a business with over head and not a charity -that is fact for any vet, and diagnostic tests are the first line of defense to provide accurate treatment and to avoid a medical malpractice lawsuit. YOU are her owner - if you cannot afford proper medical care please work with rescue groups or obtain a pet medical credit account or see if your vet will work with you to help you afford the care your dog so desperately needs.

Replied by Mars
Hello Jackie I am very concerned with the symptoms of your pup. Discharge from the vulva is symptomatic of pyometra and is indeed a veterenary emergency. Is she spayed? She may pass away of septic shock if not treated immediately. Pyometra required immediate care. Please update.