Dogs can be contracted with heartworms by being bitten by an infected mosquito. Heartworms are a very serious condition and once infected with the parasite, your dog may show serious complications such as heart inflammation and damage to their system in as little as 12 months. As horrible as heartworms can be, there are some great preventive drugs out there that will help protect your dog from contracting and possibly dying from this horrible parasite. Finding the right heartworm preventative for dogs in the early stages can mean the difference between life and death.
It’s much easier, safer and cheaper to treat your dog before contracting heartworm or in the earlier stages, then when it is already spread throughout their system. It’s always important to consult with a veterinarian first, but there are two different type of heartworm solutions available for dogs. Based on the age, weight and overall health of your dog, the method and proper dosages for your dog will vary.
The two different types of heartworm preventatives are, oral and topical. Let’s break down each of these now.
The easiest form of medication for heartworm, is through an oral medication, which is the same as taking pills. Two active ingredients that are commonly found in todays heartworm medication are milbemycin and ivermectin. Both of these ingredients have a long history of working well in both cats and dogs, and usually have no side effects. While most dogs will be able to take these drugs with no problems at all, some may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or incoordination. Depending on the dog breed, oral medication and it’s ingredients may not be the best option for your dog, so it’s important to consult with a veterinarian before administering treatment.
The alternative to an oral medication, is a topical medication, which can be used as a “spot-on” medication. Some of the newer brands of medicine will not only target heartworms, but also prevent fleas and ticks in the process. Topical medications can be used on average once per month, but it’s important to read the directions for each different brand out there. The two active ingredients in topical mediations are selamectin and moxidectin. The medicine, when used in topical form, is absorbed through the animals skin, which slowly dispenses over time throughout the dog. It’s also important to keep all topical medications away from your animals eyes, or areas where they might continually lick or get it in their mouths. Once the topical medication is placed, be sure to keep your dog away from children and indoors for the first 30 to 45 mins after treatment.
Heartworm Preventative for Dogs
Three of the most popular brand names for heartworm prevenatives are, Heartgard, Interceptor and Revolution. The majority of these brands offer their medication in a flavored oral form, so you can simply feed them to your dog for treatment. Most of these brands and medication can be purchased at your local pet specialty store, or at many of the reliable online pet stores. Depending on where you purchase from, you may find discounted prices and maybe even some coupons.
For more information on heartworm in dogs, please view our follow up articles below: