Are Heartworms and Big Pharma Squeezing the Life Out of Your Wallet?

By Dr. John L. Reizer

Editor at

If you’re like most canine owners, you probably love your dogs very much and want these family members to be as healthy as possible. Pet adoption is a serious responsibility and quite often the bond between an animal and human can last for a very long time.

Being a dog owner, I can certainly identify with the many responsibilities associated with caring for pets. And over the years, I’ve had to bring my dogs to the vet for a number of reasons. In an emergency situation, a good veterinarian can mean the difference between an animal surviving and dying. But the same animal, health care specialists that can save your pet’s life, in an emergency scenario, can potentially decrease their overall level of health while trying to prevent them from acquiring diseases and parasitic infections.

I believe that many people fail to realize dogs, and other animals, have natural defenses against diseases, parasites, and a whole host of other biological opportunists they regularly come into contact with. If you listen to the marketing strategies of Big Pharma, and the companies that peddle their related products/services, you might think your beloved canine would instantly drop dead without being regularly immunized and safeguarded with monthly heartworm medicines.

The truth be told, all animals, including your pet, have naturally functioning immune systems that protect them against diseases and parasites. In spite of what you might have heard, read or viewed, through the mediums of radio, television, and print media, many commonly accepted animal health practices, that attempt to prevent diseases, could be weakening your pet’s natural immune system.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Levy, a veterinarian out of Williamsburg, Massachusetts, a lot of unnecessary fear and anxiety have been placed into the psyche of dog caretakers. Dr. Levy writes, “…allopathic attitudes have instilled in many of us a fear of disease, fear of pathogens and parasites, fear of rabies, as if these are evil and malicious entities just waiting to lay waste to a naive and unprotected public…” While Dr. Levy believes that in certain situations drugs might be justifiable concerning heartworms, he personally embraces a more holistic strategy when caring for his own pet. On his website he writes, “For what it’s worth, I never gave my dog any type of heartworm preventive, even when we lived in the Santa Cruz area where heartworms were very prevalent. I tested him yearly, and he never had a problem.”

Just as they do with human beings, pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars manufacturing and distributing extremely toxic poisons for domesticated animals. The toxic vaccines and monthly heartworm preventive products actually weaken your pet’s immune system over time and make them more susceptible to diseases and parasites that exist within their natural environment.

While Big Pharma would like you to believe that heartworms are waiting around every corner to squeeze the life out of your dog’s heart, the reality of the situation is that this is not true. What’s actually being squeezed is the pet owner’s wallet. And it’s absolutely unnecessary. Some very knowledgeable people  have gone on record, over the years, stating that the heartworm scam is a billion dollar industry.

As always, when Big Pharma has its “paws” in the game, the health and best interests of patients are not a top priority. This applies to human beings as well as man’s best friend.

One has to seriously wonder how animals that live in the wild can continue to survive so well despite being constantly exposed to natural parasites and opportunistic pathogens. And remember, they don’t have access to vaccines and monthly preventive pharmaceutical products.

What do you think about this subject?



The health information that has been written on this website is not intended to replace a professional relationship between a patient and a health care specialist nor is it intended as medical advice. Readers are encouraged to make health care decisions based upon their own independent research!

9 thoughts on “Are Heartworms and Big Pharma Squeezing the Life Out of Your Wallet?

  1. Patty Guthrie April 23, 2012 / 1:16 am

    I have to wonder about all the hype, too, John. When we got our beagle, Sugar, from the animal shelter five years ago, she tested negative for heartworms. Two years later, she tested positive. We did not do any of the expensive treatments to get rid of the heartworms, as “hers weren’t that bad,” per our vet. At his suggestion,we have continued to give her the heartworm preventive but have not had her tested again. Other than being overweight, she seems to be fine. I really don’t know what to think about all that, but, yes, I would do almost anything to make sure that she is safe and healthy.

    • Dr. John Reizer April 23, 2012 / 11:11 am

      Hi Patty,

      Thank you so much for your comments. About seven years ago, my dog was diagnosed with a bad case of heartworms. I took the dog to the vet for another reason and they convinced me to have her tested. The results came back positive and I was told that without treatment (about a thousand dollars or more) the animal would probably not live for very long. Being the stubborn individual that I am, I resisted the sales pitch and stood my ground. Keep in mind, Patty, I’ve had my share of courses in the biological sciences. I was very confident that my pet’s immune system would be able to handle a parasitic infection. And I am happy to report that my Roxy is still alive and well (12 years old) and very active.

      I have never given my dogs heartworm preventive medications, nor have they been exposed to other toxic drugs because I refuse to destroy the animals’ immune systems. I do believe heartworms can affect dogs, but not to the extent that the drug companies are hyping the campaign. I also believe that the only animals susceptible to this and similar problems are the ones being exposed to the toxic drugs being regularly administered for supposed preventive measures.

      I’ve done extensive research on this subject and feel confident with my decisions. My advice to others is to do your own research and make a choice based on the answers you uncover. If a person regularly gives their pets these drugs, the animals might be susceptible to parasites and other diseases.

      John Reizer

  2. Raley August 29, 2013 / 10:45 pm

    It all makes sense now. Our pet’s immune systems are designed to protect them from “natural environmental pathogens”. Much like our immune systems are inherently designed to protect us from diseases like AIDS, polio, rabies, and Ebola. Yep. Your argument that “one has to seriously wonder how animals that live in the wild can continue to survive so well despite being constantly exposed to natural parasites and opportunistic pathogens” is questionable at best. It’s survival of the fittest. Many of those animals die. You’re just not aware of it because, surprise, they’re dead. You’re right in that some individuals have stronger immune systems and can better fend off infection, but if we played those odds with people’s pets we’d have a lot of unhappy (former) pet owners. It’s mindsets like yours that get children killed from something entirely preventable like pertussis because people “don’t believe in vaccines”. You might also consider that your pet can “handle” parasitic infections to a certain extent. It’s called a sub-clinical infection. But that doesn’t mean they can’t pass on zoonotic parasites to those around you with weakened immune systems (oh, say like the elderly or children). Roundworms and Hookworms, for instance, can infect humans. And about the dogs surviving with heartworms. I’ve known people to survive horrific car accidents and lightening strikes too. There’s always going to be that one exception. But there will be far more who follow the rule. Veterinary medicine is about much more than keeping fleas off your pet (by the way, those spread plague and tapeworms). It’s about one health, practicing medicine that encompasses both human and pet well-being. And while people should seek to be informed and make their own decisions, I’d argue that yours is not an unbiased, factual source they should use.

    • Dr. John Reizer September 2, 2013 / 11:36 am

      Thanks for your comment! This obviously touched a nerve.

      I am not stating that there is not a need for veterinarian services. I believe vets, just like medical doctors serve a worthy purpose in emergency situations. Surgical procedures are sometimes needed when animals become compromised.

      Having stated that, I seriously disagree with your commentary. By the way, the source I used in my article was a veterinarian. There are vets out there that agree with the premise of my article, so do not come across like I have ventured into territory that has never been explored.

      Much of the misinformation you are spouting off about is regurgitated text that comes from pharmaceutical companies.

      Your opinions are not unbiased either! Your opinions are very biased, they just happen to represent the pharmaceutical industry’s paradigm. Because your opinion is backed by a popular paradigm does not mean it is correct!

      In addition, you are obviously a pro vaccine supporter. That tells me right off the bat, you have a very biased opinion. We both do! Now people have to do their own research and see which biased opinion makes the most sense to them.

  3. Anonymous August 30, 2013 / 12:18 pm

    I’m sorry what kind of doctor are you again? I didn’t catch the DVM after your name. Because if you aren’t a DVM I would suggest not giving out medical advice about a field you know nothing about. You say veterinarians are influencing the public to do things that are unnecessary, but what makes you an expert? Did you study for four or more years about heartworms, radiology, surgery, internal medicine, and anatomy of all species of animals? If not, don’t bring other people down with your ignorance and perpetuate unhealthy animals. Bring your so called healthy dog in for a necropsy (the veterinary term for autopsy just FYI) after it dies and let’s see how good its heart looks. I guarantee you it won’t be pretty.

    • Dr. John Reizer September 2, 2013 / 12:03 pm

      Thanks for participating and not having the guts to share your name!

      No, I am not a veterinarian and I have not gone to school to study veterinarian sciences. But I did go to to school and I have studied a lot of science courses and I have a lot of experience in human biology and physiology. Having clarified my expertise or lack thereof in the veterinarian sciences, let me reiterate that I was not writing the article as a vet. I never claimed in the article that I was a vet and I used the expertise of a veterinarian in the article that shares my belief about this subject matter.

      By the way, I can have an opinion about this subject and share it with readers without being a veterinarian. I am not practicing veterinarian medicine by sharing my opinion about heart-worms and heart-worm preventatives.

      In addition, you should take the time to read the disclaimer in the website that is located in the “About NoFakeNews” section. It clearly states the following: The health information that has been written on this website is not intended to replace a professional relationship between a patient and a health care specialist nor is it intended as medical advice. Readers are encouraged to make health care decisions based upon their own independent research!

      This disclaimer also applies to articles that deal with animals and includes the branch of medicine known as Veterinary medicine!

    • Regina September 2, 2013 / 6:22 pm


      Very interesting debate going on here. I have to say that I really think the heartworm and vaccination campaigns are all about making money for the drug companies. I think the chiropractor has it right. Just my opinion…I am not a vet either, but I am an animal lover and mine are not receiving protection on a monthly basis because I am damn scared of the poisons in the preventatives. If you do some reading about these heartworm meds, it’s like really scary. You might be helping the poor dog get Cancer or some other chronic disease down the road?

      And there is nothing wrong with questioning these medical practices that are being forced down are throats. You don’t have to be a doctor to read research that is out there. I found an article written by a vet that says heartworm prevention is not always necessary. He states that the drugs are dangerous to the animals? Check out the article:

      • Dr. John Reizer September 2, 2013 / 6:41 pm

        Hi Regina,

        Thanks for participating in the conversation! Great article that you added in your commentary. I really appreciate the contribution because it is important to get the truth out there. The truth is, there are plenty of veterinarians that will tell you that preventive allopathic medicines are very dangerous and not always a beneficial treatment for your animals. The same thing can be said about medicines and human beings. We have to be very careful before we make a decision to consume poisons. I love this quote from the vet in the article you supplied in your reply:

        “My dog Skai and I travel to Hawaii approximately twice a year for 2 months and I had to face the dilemma what to do about heartworm. I never felt totally comfortable about giving him any drugs because in my mind, there is no such thing as a little bit of poison.”

        Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

        And yes, Regina, this man has the initials, DVM, after his name!

        Thanks again!

        Dr. John Reizer

  4. Dr. John Reizer March 26, 2015 / 10:11 am

    Reblogged this on

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