Important Information on Heartworm and Flea Prevention

posted: by: Tammy Chastain Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

We want to be sure your pet is protected against harmful parasites common in the area.

The doctors and staff at Alexandria Animal Hospital work hard to provide the best preventative care for your special pet.  Proper use of parasite preventatives is key to your pet's health.  With so many choices for heartworm, flea, and tick prevention out on the market today, we know it can become confusing to determine what is appropriate and safe for your dog or cat.  To add to the confusion, many products sound and look very similar in name or appearance, but are not identical in safety or in spectrum of parasites they prevent.  For example, we will routinely come accross clients who believe they have been giving their dog heartworm prevention, when, in reality, the over-the-counter product they purchased is only a flea and/or tick preventative.  Another harmful error made is to apply flea products intendend for use in dogs on a cat.

Here are a few tips to help avoid some of these common mistakes:

 - Heartworm preventatives are prescription products.  As a rule, you will not find these over the counter in a pet store, farm store, or other location outside of a veterinary hospital. In other words, if you purchased a "heartworm preventative" through an over-the-counter source, your pet is probably not recieving heartworm prevention at all, but rather a flea and tick preventative that might look similar to some of the hearworm preventatives available.

 - Read and reread the label!  Be sure you know how and where to apply the product, the types of parasites for which it is labelled, and for what type and age of animal it is safe.

 - Your veterinarian is the best source for guiding you in the selection of the appropriate preventative product.  Purchasing these products through your pet's veterinarian is also the best way to assure quality and safety.  Buying preventatives through the veterinary hospital also often allows for exchange of product in the event of weight changes or other situations that necessitate an alternative product.  You will not find this option available when purchasing through other routes.

We have many different preventative options available, including combination products that protect against heartworms, fleas, and many intestinal parasites.  Depending on your pet's individual needs, we can suggest products appropriate for your household.  Please feel free to call our hospital today to speak with a staff member, if you have any questions regarding your pet's parasite prevention plan.

For further information on current heartworm treatment and prevention recommendations visit the American Heartworm Society.