A couple of weeks ago I spoke about Bark ATL's flea preventative requirements. Now it's time to talk about our heartworm preventative requirements. I want to start off by explaining how pets get heartworms:
Heartworms are spread by infected mosquitoes. A mosquito becomes infected when it feeds off of an animal that is already infected. It ingests immature heartworms that are circulating in the animal's blood. When the infected mosquito feeds off it's next host it deposits the heartworm larvae into the bloodstream. In dogs without heartworm protection, the heartworm larvae continue to mature and develop, migrating through the tissues and reaching the heart and pulmonary arteries. Larvae become adult heartworms within 6 months of infection. Adult heartworms grow up to 12 inches long and reproduce. Heartworms are treatable if contracted but it is a very costly procedure.
The chart below explains some of the more popular preventatives that are offered today. A yearly negative heartworm test is required to purchase the medication. I've added my thoughts about the products below the chart. Notice that they all are effective against other types of parasites. You can also click on the link to be taken directly to the manufacturers website for more information.
Heartgard Plus: Fantastic product. It is a once a month chewable beef flavored cube that most dogs take like a treat. If you go to the website they offer email reminders and they even have an iPhone app!
Tri-Heart Plus: Pretty much the same thing as Heartgard plus but it a pill instead of a chewable treat.
Iverhart Max: Once a month oral pill. Also effective against tapeworms. Pets get tapeworms from ingesting an infected flea.
Interceptor: Small once a month oral pill. Also effective against whipworms. I like it that it can be given to puppies as young as 4 weeks and 2 pounds. Living in the south you know how bad mosquitoes can get during the summer!
Sentinel: We briefly spoke about this product when we talked about flea preventative. This is Interceptor plus Program in one pill. It is effective against flea eggs, but not adult fleas. You might find that you still need a topical flea preventative.
Revolution: My personal choice. It is a once a month TOPICAL that is applied between the shoulder blades. Is effective against fleas, flea eggs, ear mites, sarcoptic mange and the American dog tick.
Advantage Multi: Pretty much the same thing as Revolution. I don't like it because it is greasy.
Okay, so here is my disclaimer: I am NOT a veterinarian and you should always consult with him/her if you have questions regarding your pet and the medications they are on. It is very important to have your pet on a monthly preventative year round.