The following information is an opinion; please be sure to discuss all pet medications with your veterinarian. It is important to read and follow all label instructions.
Well, it’s the time we’ve all been waiting for. Things are starting to turn green. You are waking up to the sound of birds outside your window. The sun and fresh spring air greets you as you head out the door, and you can smell the freshly mown grass or the scent of the rain from the night before. It is officially spring. So, what does that mean? It means that it’s time to get outside with those dogs and walk them. But it also means that it’s time to begin keeping our pets safe from fleas and ticks.
At the Seeing Eye, I was instructed to give my dogs heart worm and flea and tick medication once a month. While many people do not give their dogs this medication in the winter, it is necessary to give it to them in the spring and summer. This is especially true if you are a camper and your pet goes along. Wooded or pasture areas are perfect flea and tick habitats. However, it is just as easy to attract fleas and ticks in back yards or on walks. There are several different medications that you can use for your pet. Keep in mind, however, that the same stuff that is good for dogs may not be good for cats, so you may have to get two different things if you have both a dog and a cat. Below, I will list a few different types.
Heart Worm Medications
Heartgard is one medication. It can come in chewable form. This type is only for dogs. The flavor is usually beef and is given once a month. A prescription is required from your vet. This treat-like medication provides protection against heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms. It is a good idea to continue giving your dog heartworm medication even in the winter to prevent infection from occurring.
If you want a prevention medication that can be used both for cats and dogs, Revolution may be more appropriate for you. This medication prevents heartworm disease for both dogs and cats and is even safe for those dogs and cats who are pregnant. It is applied to the skin of the dog or cat and absorbs into the bloodstream. It can be used for the treatment or prevention of fleas, the American Dog Ticks, canine sarcoptic mange, and ear mites in dogs. In cats, it can treat or prevent fleas, ear mites, hookworms, and roundworms. Like heartgard, it is used monthly, and a vet must prescribe it.
Other heartworm medications include Trifexis, Sentinel, and Iverhart just to name a few. Keep in mind the minor side effects some of these medications can have. For example, both Heartgard and Revolution can have an effect on herding dogs if overused. Be sure to know the weight of your dog so you know the appropriate dosage to apply. Revolution also should not be used for puppies or kittens. For any other questions, be sure to contact your vet especially if you notice your dog drooling or staggering after having used the medication.
Flea and Tick Prevention
For dogs, you can use K9 Advantix II. This product is applied to the skin monthly and is highly recommended by veterinarians. It kills fleas and ticks no matter if it is an adult tick or an egg, stopping the cycle. It also protects against biting flies, mosquitoes, and chewing lice. Dogs may have a negative skin reaction to this product. Keep in mind that this should never be used on cats as they are unable to metabolize it. Cats should also be kept away from dogs for at least 24 hours after application of the medication to the dog. This product is also water proof, staying on even when your dog gets wet.
Frontline Plus is a second flea and tick preventative that kills fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, ticks, lice, and is water proof. Frontline Plus can be used for both cats and dogs. Applied once a month, Frontline Plus kills 100% of all adult fleas within 12 hours along with 100% of all chewing lice and fleas within 48 hours. This also prevents Lime disease as it kills the deer tick which is a carrier of this disease.
As mentioned before when talking about heartworm, Revolution is also a flea and tick prevention. However, let’s talk about the newest one. This happens to be my personal favorite. NexGard, similar to Heartgard for heartworm, is a beef-flavored chewable that dogs like. Finally, it is one that does not have to be applied to the skin. I don’t know about you, but I always hated getting that flea and tick stuff all over my hands when applying it between my dog’s shoulder blades. Not to mention, I would forget I gave it to him and would touch that wet spot. Yuck. But now, it’s easy. This treat-like pill lasts for 30 days and can be taken alongside the heartworm chewable. Its chemical rapidly absorbs safely into the dog’s bloodstream and kills adult fleas and ticks before they lay eggs decreasing the possibility of tick-born disease and infestation. Like the heartworm chewable, your veterinarian must provide a prescription for this medication. But don’t worry. This is the number one recommendation by veterinarians.
There are several different heartworm and flea and tick prevention medications. I will provide links to resources so you can do further comparing and pricing yourself. Before I close, I want to outline just a few of the negative illnesses and flea-born and tick diseases along with Heartworm disease. As mentioned before, deer ticks can bring about kidney problems and dogs. Also, because a tick feeds on the blood of an animal, Anemia may result as the tick’s feeding on the blood results in an unbalance of the circulatory systems. Fleas transmit tapeworms along with bacterial and viral pathogens to both humans and dogs. These fleas and ticks can result in skin allergies and irritations as well as blood loss. If you notice your dog itching or biting him or herself, the dog might have some sort of flea or tick. Not only that, but fleas and ticks also multiply very rapidly. We don’t want our pets being a source of food and life for these pesky creatures. Heartworm disease is also very deadly as parasites such as these live in the heart and arteries of pets. They are transmitted through mosquitoes and can multiply if there is both a male and a female heartworm. Symptoms for dogs may include vomiting, labored breathing and coughing, and fatigue even after a simple exercise routine. Some dogs may not show symptoms until they have gone through several stages. Weight loss and listlessness may also occur. Having your vet do an annual heartworm blood test is a good idea. So, now that spring has sprung, be sure to protect your pet from fleas, ticks, and heartworm.