As a veterinary practice, a large part of our focus is on preventative care for pets and educating owners on their options when it comes to picking a product to protect their pets from heartworms, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites. As a pet owner, it can be hard to keep all of these products straight and which products cover what. This article will explain what we are preventing against and which products we recommend.
HEARTWORMS: Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease that can occur when pets of any age are exposed to infected mosquitos. Heartworms, if contracted, will live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of infected pets and can cause severe lung damage, heart failure, and damage to other internal organs. Sometimes this damage is not reversible. Treatment for heartworm positive dogs is extensive, painful, costly, and spans several months. There is no approved treatment for cats. The cost of prevention is significantly cheaper than treatment, which is why we recommend keeping all dogs and cats on heartworm preventative year-round.
FLEAS: Fleas are the most common external parasites for pets and can cause severe itching, and skin disease. Fleas can also carry tapeworms (intestinal parasites). In severe cases, fleas can even cause a decrease in the total amount of red blood cells in the body (anemia), since they feed off your pet’s blood. Fleas can be carried into the home by one pet and cause issues for the whole family. Fleas are more commonly a problem during the warmer months, but often continue their life cycle indoors during the winter, so year-round prevention is recommended.
TICKS: Ticks are also a common external parasite found on pets. Ticks carry many diseases, including Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma, in both pets and people. Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease that is endemic to the state of Missouri. Ticks can be active in weather above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Even in winter, occasional warm days occur; therefore, year-round prevention is recommended.
INTESTINAL PARASITES: There are many types of intestinal parasites that can be picked up in the environment by your pet. Most of these parasites are transmitted through fecal-oral contamination. These parasites can cause serious illness and can potentially be transmitted to humans. Common intestinal parasites include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, giardia, and coccidia. Some of these are preventable with a monthly dewormer.
PROHEART: ProHeart is at the top of our list of recommended products for heartworm prevention for one simple reason – you don’t have to give it every month at home! ProHeart is the only INJECTABLE product, given by your veterinarian, for the prevention of heartworm disease in dogs. This injection is 100% effective in preventing heartworm disease! ProHeart injections last either 6 months or 12 months, depending on which one is given. ProHeart 6 is approved for dogs 6 months of age or older and ProHeart 12 for dogs 12 months of age or older. ProHeart also protects against Hookworms (a common intestinal parasite). Since it does not protect against fleas or ticks, a flea and tick preventative, such as Nexgard or Bravecto, must be given as well. As an injectable, this product is safe for patients with food allergies.
SIMPARICA TRIO: Our next recommendation is Simparica Trio, a monthly chewable tablet. This amazing product is the first approved product for prevention of heartworms, fleas, ticks, and common intestinal parasites! It is the ONLY all-in-one product available for dogs 8 weeks of age or older. Simparica Trio offers protection against 5 different tick species. In addition, this chewable is safe for dogs with food allergies.
INTERCEPTOR PLUS: Interceptor Plus is a monthly chewable that prevents heartworms and common intestinal parasites, for dogs 8 weeks of age or older. Interceptor Plus is used in conjunction with a flea/tick preventative, such as Nexgard or Bravecto.
NEXGARD: Nexgard is a monthly chewable preventative for fleas and ticks, for dogs 8 weeks of age or older and used in conjunction with a heartworm preventative. This product covers 4 tick species.
BRAVECTO: Bravecto is a chewable preventative for fleas and ticks that is given every 90 days for dogs 6 months of age or older and used in conjunction with a heartworm preventative. This product is safe for patients with food allergies.
REVOLUTION PLUS: Revolution Plus is a monthly all-in-one topical preventative that covers fleas, ticks, ear mites, heartworms, and common intestinal parasites for cats 8 weeks of age or older.
Our goal is always to promote the best medicine possible for our patients. All of these products can be provided at our clinic, and all but ProHeart can also be found on our online pharmacy and delivered straight to your home. We hope this overview helps our clients understand the why, what, and how of preventative care.