No caring pet owner wants their pet to suffer from any sort of parasite infection, but heartworms are definitely one of the most important to avoid. As their name suggests, heartworms are worm-like parasites that live inside your pet’s body, draining her of nutrients so that they can live. Heartworm larvae are spread by mosquitos who pass the infection from host to host. Each worm can grow up to 12 inches in length once fully matured, and over time, they will reproduce until they clog and block the blood vessels in which they live. This can have disastrous consequenes for the health and wellbeing of your pet, since their presence restricts the flow of oxygenated blood around the body. Irreversible damage to the major organs and eventually organ failure will follow unless prompt treatment is sought.
With such debilitating effects, it is easy to see why heartworm preventative care is a high priority for veterinarians and should be something that all pet owners invest in as soon as they become responsible for the care of their furbaby.
Types of heartworm prevention
There are a number of different products available that can protect your pet from heartworms. These tend to fall into three different types: chewable oral tablets, spot-on topical treatments and injectables. Most are given monthly, typically on the same day every month, with the exception of injectable preventatives which remain effective for up to six months at a time. Different types contain different active ingredients, but all are designed to destroy immature heartworms, known as microfilaria.
In addition to destroying heartworms, some types of heartworm preventative also contain ingredients that target other parasites including fleas, ticks, mites and other worms. This can make them an even more cost-effective solution for keeping pets safe from preventable diseases.
Our experienced and well-informed veterinarians in Boiling Springs, SC will be happy to help you decide which preventative would be best for your pet. In the meantime, here are a few of the most effective heartworm preventatives that we would recommend.
Made by the same company that brought us Frontline flea protection, Heartgard Plus is an easy-to-administer chewable monthly tablet that kills heartworm larvae, hookworms and roundworms. Since the tablets taste like beef, most dogs are happy to chow down on it alongside their regular meal with no problems. A variety for cats is also available.
The active ingredients in Heartgard Plus are Ivermectin and Pyrantel, which are shown to be a combination that is highly successful. As such, Heartgard Plus is the most prescribed heartworm preventative in the world.
Direct from the makers of Advantage and Advantage II flea treatments, Advantage Multi is a highly popular and effective monthly topical spot-on preventative. The active ingredients used are Imidacloprid and Moxidectin which not only destroy heartworm microfilaria, but also kill adult fleas and controls and removes roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and sarcoptic mange. Advantage Multi is available for both cats and dogs.
If you think that you will struggle to remember to administer a monthly preventative on time, or that oral tablets or a spot-on treatment may not be right for your pet, you may wish to consider the ProHeart 6 injectable heartworm preventative for dogs. The active ingredient in ProHeart 6 is Moxidectin which can kill heartworm microfilaria for up to six months, meaning only twice-yearly administration is required. In addition to destroying heartworm larvae, this solution can also help to control roundworm, whipworm and sarcoptic mange infections.
Want more information about heartworm preventatives? Our knowledgeable and experienced vets in Boiling Springs, SC would be happy to answer your questions and help you find the most suitable heartworm preventative for your pet. Please call us at 843-383-0600 to speak with a friendly team member.