There are different types of heartworm preventative medicines. For dogs, you have a choice of three different types, either heartworm pills for dogs, chewables (a flavoured chew containing the medicine) or medicine that can be spotted on to your dog’s skin (spot ons).
Pills or chewables taken orally are the most usually prescribed preventative treatments. Chewable tablets are very popular with owners as it is pretty easy to get a dog to take this as a delicious treat with none of the concerns of trying to get him to take a pill. However, some dogs are allergic to ingredients in the chewables so a pill may be the best option.
An allergy could be resolved as simply as changing from one brand of chewable to another as it could be just the fact that some meds contain beef whilst others use pork. For example, if your dog is allergic to beef, Interceptor may be prescribed as it uses pork and if your dog is allergic to pork, heartgard may be prescribed as it uses beef.
One thing to bear in mind is that you should NEVER give any heartworm preventative medication intended for a dog to a cat as some ingredients that are safe for dogs can be dangerous to cats.
Topical or spot on treatments are available that just need to be spotted between the dog’s shoulder blades on the same day each month. These medicines (depending on the brand) also help in the control of other parasites such as fleas, ticks or other internal parasites such as hookworm.
Preventative treatment should only be used after a test to ensure that your animal is not already infected with adult worms.
Using preventatives if the dog has adult worms could cause severe and possibly fatal reactions so it is vital that your dog is checked out by a vet annually and the appropriate prescription medication is used.
Just for fun – an advertisement video for the preventative treatment, Heartgard Plus!
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