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Tips to Prevent Heartworm

By November 21, 2019 Blog
Tips to Prevent Heartworm

Choosing a monthly heartworm, flea & tick preventative is an essential part of caring for your dog or cat. However, the pet healthcare team at Byron Animal Clinic knows that there are A LOT of options. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we have some great tips to help you.  

1) Consider your pet’s “risk factors” and personality.

When determining the best heartworm, flea or tick preventative for patients, you need to think about your pet’s lifestyle. For example, “I live on a lake, and my dogs swim. Due to those factors, I would consider an oral medication that won’t wash off like Heartgard + Nexgard or Sentinel.”  

Thinking about risk factors works the same with cats. For example, if your cat is indoor-only, fleas are going to be a bigger concern than ticks. Cats are also often difficult to give oral medications to. A topical product like Revolution might be the perfect choice! 

Some factors to consider:   

  • How much time does your pet spend outdoors? 
  • Does your pet easily take pills? 
  • Does your pet swim or get bathed frequently? 
  • Will your pet wear a collar?  

2) Consider compliance.

Ok – we’ve all struggled with giving heartworm preventatives to a particularly clever dog or forgotten to apply flea and tick preventatives on time. Let’s be honest! Monthly coverage is so important, so when you’re choosing a preventative, think about what you’re going to realistically be able to use.   

3) What are your biggest concerns?

Each product covers a slightly different range of pests. You can get coverage for heartworm and intestinal worms only or can you add in coverage for fleas, mites, and ticks. In general, the more pests you want to control, the higher the price. Some medicines work really fast (within minutes to hours) – others work but take a little longer (48 hours). Some kill parasites directly and others are like birth control for parasites.   

4) Consider price.

Caring for pets year-round can be very affordable if you take advantage of company rebates. Not only that, but buying a year’s worth of prevention will help ensure that you keep your pet as healthy as possible. That said, some owners prefer to get 1-2 months at a time to spread out the cost. So don’t miss out on months of important prevention due to cost; pick the product that you’re most comfortable with! 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is much safer and easier to be proactive and prevent parasite infestations than to deal with them once they are established. Parasites are not just a nuisance, they can transmit serious diseases to both humans and animals: diseases such as Heartworm Disease, Lyme Disease, and Visceral Larval Migrans.  


Dr. William Fleury

Author Dr. William Fleury

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