Our pets rely on us for their basic needs, including not only their food, water, shelter, but also companionship, love and also for protecting their precious health. Heartworms, hookworms and roundworms all have the potential to seriously damage our dog or cat’s health and may even be fatal in some cases. Which is why veterinarians recommend actively protecting your pet against these parasites as they are far easier to prevent than cure.
What is Heartgard?
Heartgard is widely regarded as the best heartworm medication for pets. Heartgard, manufactured by Merial, is known as a anthelminthic, which is medication for heartworm (dewormer). It uses the active ingredient ivermectin, which is used for the treatment of worms in dogs and cats. Heartgard is also used for controlling hookworms in cats, while Heartgard Plus, that contains both ivermectin and pyrantel is used for protecting against heartworms as well as both hookworms and roundworms in dogs.
To prevent heartworm in pets, one dose is to be administered each month of the year, unless directed otherwise by your pet’s veterinarian. The usual dosage instructions will depend on the weight of your pet, with larger animals needing a combination of doses to be effective.
The Various Types of Heartgard Medicine
Heartgard is available in either a 6 month or 12 month supply in either unflavored tablets, or flavored chewable tables, while Heartgard Plus is available in beef-flavored chewable tablets.
Heartgard and Heartgard Plus are available in three different dosages based on weight:
- 0 – 25 pounds
- 26 – 50 pounds
- 51 – 100 pounds
- Over 100 pounds
Is Heartgard Really Necessary for My Pet?
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition that’s much easier prevented than it is treated. Many pet owners are confused as to whether or not their dog or cat needs continual preventative medication for warding off heartworm disease. In some locations, the threat of mosquito larvae is actually a year-round concern, while in some places, the medicine may not be necessary in the winter months. Your vet should have the correct information based on your location as to whether or not your pet needs continual protection.
Where to Buy Heartgard
To purchase Heartgard medication for your pet, a prescription from a licensed veterinarian will be required by any legitimate retailer or supplier of pet medication. Besides your own vet, there are numerous retailers online, many of which offer considerable discounts as opposed to brick-and-mortar companies.
Storing Heartgard Medication
It is recommended to store your pet’s Heartgard medicine in its original packaging to avoid forgetting a dose or administering an overdose. The tablets should remain in their wrapper until it’s time to give the dose to your pet. Many people choose to give their pets their dosage on the first of every month for an easier way of remembering when it’s time.
Special Precautions and Side Effects of Heartworm Treatments
Some breeds, such as the Collie and its related breeds, may have a higher sensitivity to the ingredient ivermectin, although the preventative monthly dosage is relatively low and rarely causes side effects even in these particular breeds.
Overall, side effects from Heartgard medication are very rare when taken at the correct dosage. In the event of an overdose, contact your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency facility as soon as possible.
The symptoms of an overdose in felines may include tremors, being uncoordinated or unable to walk normally, disorientation, dilated pupils and blindness. For canines, overdose symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and incoordination.