Black Walnut and Other Safe Herbal Heartworm Treatments for My Dog
Among the alternatives for safe heartworm treatment, herbal therapy is available.
When the test results come out positive, and your dog does not yet have any sypmtoms of heartworm disease, herbal treatment is an option you might consider. It may not be as good as slow kill treatment but it is a lot safer and less painful than the Immiticide injections. The potential benefit of this treatment, as with the slow kill ivermectin therapy, is that the heartworms do not die all at once. They will never create a potentially fatal blockage in your dog´s vascular system.
This therapy appears to be quicker than the ivermectin method but has only anecdotal evidence to support its use. All of the comments on other websites give glowing reviews of this therapy, but when reading those sites that are selling the therapy it is impossible to find out if negative comments have been deleted. The main component of the treatment is black walnut. Black walnut hulls have been used for many years to treat intestinal worms. Juglone, the chemical component of black walnuts that prevents other plants from invading its territory, is probably responsible for its effect against worms.
What is involved in herbal therapy?
1. Black walnut
4. Mugwort (Artemesia)
6. Coenzyme Q10
How do I use herbal therapy?
Doses vary considerably but I will try to give the safest levels from the various sources that I have read.
1. Black walnut hull: One drop on the food once daily, for each ten pounds of body weight. One source suggested giving only one drop the first week, another drop the next week, etc. I read of one dose considerably higher (a full dropper full for an 85 pound dog) and the owner did not report side effects.
2. Wormwood: Most of the brands on sale are between 300-500mg. The number of drops or the number of capsules is imprecise; one capsule twice daily seems to be a common suggestion.
3. Cloves: One capsule once daily. The strength varies considerably, depending on the brand.
4. Mugwort: Two to three artemesia capsules twice daily. (Some capsules are sold with a 500mg label, some do not list the amount of herb contained within.)
5. Garlic: One clove per ten pounds once daily. If the active component of garlic is to be given the herb should be fresh, not encapsulated.
6. Coenzyme Q10: This enzyme is present in the body at all times and is sold so that it can improve the function of the heart. It is dosed around 100mg per day but the capsules can be opened and divided for smaller dogs. (Some holistic vets recommend this for heartworm prevention. There is no proof of its efficacy.)
Are there side effects?
Coughing: The coughing may be due to the fluid in the lungs, a direct result of the heartworm infestation, or it might be a side effect of one of the herbal therapies. If you want to try an herbal therapy, yucca may be helpful.
You should find a veterinarian that works with holistic medicine for consultation if you decide to try this therapy. This therapy is controversial and I cannot guarantee you will find a veterinarian to support you.
The saddest part about reading all of these stories on the internet is knowing how easy it would have been to prevent this disease. Many of the visitors who post at the herbal sites complain about the costs and their dogs suffer when they could have been protected for only a few dollars per year. Treatment of any sort is an expensive process, but much worse is the pain the dogs go through for an easily preventable illness.
One of the products sold over several of the sites warns that their product should be used as a preventative and ivermectin should not be given at the same time. This is an irresponsible statement. If someone wants to try the herbal therapy that is fine but to tell the client to stop using the ivermectin is wrong.
Is this effective? Many vets have tried it and the results that have been reported are good. No scientific studies of its effectiveness are available, however.
I do not want to be too negative but can tell you for sure that some other methods, like slow kill, definitely work. I am sure that there are plenty of “steroid” vets who think alternative therapies for allergies are incorrect, so at this point I am keeping an open mind and hope that others will tell us about their successes and failures.
Using the herbal heartworm therapy instead of the slow-kill method (ivermectin) may not be wrong. If you do not have a problem with giving your dog a small amount of an anti-parasite drug each month, the ivermectin will definitely work and your dog can eventually be free of this parasite. It is definitely less painful and does not cause as much stress as the Immiticide injections.
If there is any research published in this area that might help your dogs, I will add it to this article.
This video discusses juglone, the chemical produced by the black walhut tree.