My mother has a (I am going to say 7 year old) large male dog that last year was unable to naturally control flea infestations. This leads me to believe that it very probably was unable to control internal parasites as well; so I have been suggesting that a heartworm test might be a good idea.

But I understand that they highly recommend 30 days crate rest if they have adult heartworms and they take the medicine to kill them.

Which leads me to my question. If the dog is not going to be locked or tied up for any notable time, would it be safer to just not worry about the heartworms? Is it advisable to administer adult heartworm medication when the crate rest is impossible? And if it is not, is there any reason to even test for the presence of them?

Some additional information: I see no problem with keeping his average exercise to practically nothing. He is big and old enough that he does not run around for fun. But in a months time their will certainly be some wild animal he will decide to kill, some cattle who escape, or just someone visit or drive by with dogs barking in the back. Their will be some 2 minute time interval where he goes full out.

  • Why would that be "certain" if you are actually limiting his activity as you should be doing? "Crate rest" means "resting in a crate or enclosed area," not "loose and able to chase things."
    – Allison C
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 15:52
  • It is certain that he will be "loose and able to chase things". That is the thing that is certain. Everything else is guesses at plausible scenarios.
    – Jonathon
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 16:27
  • 2
    I don't understand what you mean with "was unable to naturally control flea infestations". What exactly was he supposed to do naturally? What did you do? Give him some kind of natural remedy or just wait until the fleas magically dissappear? How long did the infestation last? Since this is the foundation for your assumption of heart worms, you should give as much information as you can.
    – Elmy
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 17:48
  • Not that much to say. He got fleas. His immune system must of been compromised, or he would not of had any problems with them.
    – Jonathon
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 18:21
  • If he will be "loose and able to chase things," then that is on you/your mother as the responsible human. You should take responsibility for your pet, which includes treating for fleas (they don't just "naturally" go away), and enforcing crate rest during necessary treatments.
    – Allison C
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


According to an article on WebMD, failure to treat heartworms with medicine will cause "permanent damage to the heart and blood vessels". And the same article states that exercise with heartworms is a cause of death.

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