Isn’t arsenic a poison?
Good morning, this is Dr. Garner here to answer another question about heartworms. Becky, from Atlanta, has asked, “I hear that the heartworm treatment is arsenic. Isn’t arsenic a poison?”
Becky, yes, the answer is that arsenic is a poison. Arsenic has been used for many years by many wives to try to kill their husbands or by the French resistance to try to kill Germans.The value of arsenic is that it’s a slow death-medication. Just because it’s a poison doesn’t mean you should fear it. Many of our more powerful products have poison: Digitalis was foxglove, belladonna, which is a serious poison is atropine, which is now a treatment for nerve gas. Warfarin, the rat poison, is what they use for people trying to avoid a stroke.
By the way, this is Zippy sitting here on my shoulder. Zippy is our resident ring-tailed lemur that we have, and she’s a little baby, and she’s grooming my ear right now.
Arsenic kills heartworms gradually and safely
So, we shouldn’t worry about the fact that a medication is a toxin. What we should know is that it’s the only heartworm medication among all the heartworm medications that kills the heartworms slowly. One by one they starve to death. And as they starve to death, these heartworms will then flow downstream and the body can digest them. If all the heartworms were killed at the same time, then we would have a serious problem. Then we would have blood clots and big blood flow disturbances in the lungs, and that’s not what we want. We’ve never found another medication that will kill heartworms they same way they kill Germans. So, arsenic is the heartworm drug.