By now you should know that your dogs should be on heartworm prevention medication and that currently there is no effective cure for heartworm disease, as the arsenic-based medications historically used to kill the adult worms are no longer being manufactured. Heartworm preventive medications kill the heartworm larvae, thus preventing them from maturing into adult heartworms.
But what are the differences in the prevention medications available? What about cats? Should they be on prevention medication also? How about ferrets? Or rabbits? Or birds?
Heartworm Prevention Meds
How many of you remember Filarabits (Diethylcarbamazine)? Filaribits was the first drug created to prevent heartworm disease. It did a great job but it needed to be given every day, and no one had yet invented heartworm preventative “treats” so the pills had to be wrapped in cheese or something else the dog found tasty. It was an excellent preventative but not everyone could remember to give it every day; modern heartworm preventatives only need to be given once a month and need no tasty wrapping (dogs already think they are treats).
The best seller for both dogs and cats are the Heartgard brand chewables. No prescription is needed, the cost is not prohibitive, and at least the dogs think they are getting treats. Conveniently, these medications are available through The Petango Store online, with a percentage of your purchase price donated to the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.
These chewables eliminate the need to wrap the pill or try to shove it down the pet’s throat. You needn’t worry that the dog will spit it out.
Heartgard protects against heartworms, but Heartgard Plus adds protection against roundworms and hookworms as well, and is also a tasty monthly chewable.
Combination Heartworm/Flea Treatments
Both Revolution and Advantage Multi offer heartworm protection in combination with protection against fleas. These products are applied externally and provide a cost savings over purchasing separate products for heartworm and flea protection. During the winter months up north, when flea protection is not needed, one can then switch to a heartworm prevention-only medication.
Regardless of what medication you choose, remember to give it once a month to keep your pet safe. A sticker on the calendar or an alarm on your cell phone or other device can help you remember to give the medication.
Next: Are other pets susceptible to heartworm infestation?
Tinkerbell (pictured) is a purebred Chihuahua puppy, only three months old. Tinkerbell has been fully vetted, is the picture of health and has already begun heartworm preventative medication. Tinkerbell can be adopted through the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.
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