Choosing a preventative dog heartworm medicine is crucial to avoid the complications and dangers of heart worms.
While heartworm infections can be treated, it is a painful and time-consuming process.
This site provides a number of articles about what to do if your dog does test positive for the infection, covering everything from what is involved, after care and nursing and options after successful treatment. However, it is certainly true that with this disease, avoiding your dog becoming infected in the first place is very definitely better than trying to cure.
Preventative medication will prevent a dangerous heart worm infection that is costly to treat. It is best to follow the recommendations provided by your veterinarian as this will ensure that the treatment is as effective as possible. There is a very low rate of incidence of the disease when directions are followed absolutely meticulously.
The following is a list of the most common medicines approved by the FDA for this purpose.
Heartgard for dogs is a flavored chewable that kills the heart worm larvae in the bloodstream.
Heartgard plus provides the same prevention protection in addition to providing protection against roundworms and hookworms. The active ingredients are delivered in a beef flavored chewable.
Ivermectin for dogs is a medicine found under several brand names in preventatives. This drug is the active ingredient in all preventative medications, but it also prevents mites and is used to treat mange. Mange is contagious so you will also have the reassurance of that your pet is protected against this parasite too.
Iverhart heartworm treatment for dogs prevents heart worms, and also treats roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. If your dog is particularly susceptible to tapeworms this may be a good option that you will want to consider.
Iverhart plus will protect against heart worms, plus it also treats roundworms and hookworms. The medicine is delivered through a pork flavored chewable tablet. It is comparable to Heartgard plus.
All of the above preventative medications contain Ivermectin. The medications that protect against roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms also contain Pyrantel Pamoate. Both of these drugs are referred to as dewormers. Your veterinarian will prescribe the correct dosage based on the weight of your pet.
When Should You Start Your Puppy on Heartworm Medication?
If it is the first time you are using a heartworm preventative, it is important to monitor your pet for any reactions or side effects that might occur. While these are fortunately rare, some dogs may experience an allergic reaction. Read the accompanying literature carefully and follow the advice if your pet shows any unusual symptoms
In addition, if a dose is missed, you should check with your veterinarian and not give a double dose. It is inadvisable to do this. You will probably be instructed to continue with the new dose and change the due date of the next monthly dose to be exactly one month from when you gave it.
Understandably, many dog owners feel that these medicines designed for prevention of hearworm disease, contain a poison they must feed their dogs each month. These worms are dangerous and if your dog tests positive for adult worms, the medicine used to treat the infection is an arsenic based medication called Immiticide. This medicine is far more powerful than the medicine contained in a monthly preventative medication.
In addition, some dogs are unable to withstand the treatment with Immiticide and in rare cases, it may result in death. For those who are too old or physically unable to have the treatment, the worm burden will eventually result in the dog’s death.
Preventative dog heartworm medication is the best method for keeping your beloved pet free of these worms. Alternatives are risky and are not proven effective nor are they authorised by the FDA or recommended by the AHS. Prevention treatments are safe and effective if instructions are followed properly. If your dog experiences any side effects, immediately contact your veterinarian.