Well, it wasn't a false positive, but it is a Stage 1 infestation, so that's better than -- I dunno, better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick? Alex tested negative; Dee and Beau test today. Rowley starts doxycycline (holy crap, $145 for a month's worth) today, with probiotics. I understand his treatment plan and it's not quite so terrifying now. The fact that it's not a heavy infestation (he had no microfilarae on the test, indicating immature adult worms and not a thriving community of the little fuckers) means that the die-off shouldn't be life-threatening for him, and leash walks and non-strenuous activities will be okay.
It does suck, and I almost lost it with one FB poster who chose to talk about how she hates to give her dogs chemicals BUT SHE DOES TO AVOID THIS, blah blah blah. My feeling now is: when you take in NINE senior dogs and give them time of great quality to the end of their lives, when you help a dog with cancer live for seven years with that cancer, when you help a dog with ehrlichiosis live four years with that infection -- THEN you can tell me what's wrong with my protocol and how your smug mug is so superior. And that, folks, is why FB is not a nice place: too much passive-aggressive shite.
On Sunday night I went online and applied for Care Credit, and got approved in about ten seconds, with a $4000 limit. Care Credit seems like a good thing, so long as you pay it all off in the 12-month promotional period; no interest is charged if you do that, but if you have a balance at the end of that time, they charge interest from day one. It, like most credit cards, traps people who don't pay off balances. I'll pay off the balance, I just don't want to do it the same month my taxes are due. The total cost of Rowley's vet visits and heartworm treatment will be around $1500. The shots are $773. The rest is labs, x-rays, drugs, etc. I figured it would be about that, so I'm okay there.
I have a question about HW preventive dosing, will make another thread.
BIG thanks to all ODO peeps and family for the support; it really means a lot.