Heartworm, Flea & Tick Product Guide

It’s finally, FINALLY here! The weather is getting warmer (or trying to), the trees have leaves, the grass is greener, and the bugs are already coming out to wreak havoc on you and your pets. Thank goodness we have amazing products that help us and our pets remain pest-free throughout the warmer months. However, there are literally hundreds of different flea, tick and heartworm products on the market, how the heck can anyone know which ones are the best for their pet’s particular lifestyle? That’s what I am here for! Today I will be going over a few of the best (and worst!) flea, tick and heartworm preventatives on the market currently, why Aquadale recommends certain products, and what will be best for your dog depending on their lifestyle. Keep reading below!

Even though there are hundreds of good products on the market to prevent all sorts of parasites, Dr. Kim does not like to carry everything under the sun at AVC. She and Dr. Kelly decide what products they feel are the very best, and we carry a small variety of products that are able to meet the needs of any lifestyle. They feel it is better to have one or two products they really stand behind, than to have 10 different products to have to choose from. For this reason, we currently keep only two brands of heartworm prevention, and a handful of flea and tick options. What works best for your pet depends on their lifestyle; does your dog swim a lot, or have allergies? Depending on what you answer, there are certain brands that will work better for your dog (or cat!).

 

Below I will list out all of the products we currently carry, as well as what they are best suited for. I will also cover some of the not so great products on the market and why we do not recommend them!

 

Heartworm Preventatives

Heartgard Plus (ivermectin/pyrantal)

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Route of Delivery: Oral Chew

Protection Period: 30 days

Protects Against: Heartworms, Roundworms, Hookworms

Heartgard Plus is the old standby. We have carried this heartworm preventative for 20 years or more. It’s extremely safe, and it’s effective. Heartgard works by killing any of the baby heartworms your dog may have picked up over the previous 30 days. In this way, it acts just like an intestinal parasite dewormer – but for your dog’s heart. It is extremely important to give a dose every single month, as if you wait too long in between doses, Heartgard cannot effectively kill off the baby heartworms. Once they get old enough, Heartgard does not kill them instantly. This is why we recommend Heartgard Plus be given every month, all year around. The only downfall of Heartgard Plus is if your dog is allergic to beef. As the chews are made with 100% real beef (part of why dogs go ga-ga’s for them), any dog with a beef sensitivity may have issues taking Heartgard Plus. This product is excellent if your dog swims a lot too, since it’s an oral medication there is no worry of it washing off.

 

Coraxis (moxidectin)

Route of Delivery: Topical Liquid

Protection Period: 30 days

Protects Against: Heartworms, Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms

Coraxis is a relatively new product, but one with really exciting potential. Unlike Heartgard Plus, which works “backwards” (killing all the baby heartworms over the last 30 days), Coraxis works “forwards”, and actively stays in your pet’s body for 30 days, killing any heartworm infection as soon as your dog is exposed. Coraxis is a great alternative for dogs who are allergic to beef. Dogs who swim a lot will need to be kept dry for 24 hours after application to give the medicine time to be absorbed. Once it’s absorbed, however, your dog can swim to their heart’s content. This may only pose a problem for dogs who have access to water when they go outside, such as a pond or lake, or for dogs who swim every single day.

 

Flea & Tick Preventatives

K9 Advantix II (imidacloprid/permethrin*)

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Route of Delivery: Topical Liquid

Protection Period: 30 days

Protects Against: Fleas, Deer ticks, American dog ticks, Brown dog ticks, and Lone Star ticks, Mosquitoes

K9 Advantix II is an excellent flea and tick preventative, and even has a repellent effect on fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. This is the preferred flea and tick preventative for any dog with allergies, especially flea allergies, as it repels and kills fleas on contact before they are able to bite your dog and cause a reaction. Because it is a topical liquid, you must keep your dog dry for 24 hours after application in order for the liquid to move into the oil glands where it hangs out for the next 30 days, getting secreted onto your dog’s skin with their natural oil. Once the first 24 hours have passed, it is perfectly fine for your dog to be bathed, or go swimming.

* This product contains permethrin, which is toxic to cats. If your dog lives in a household with a cat, please use this product carefully and keep it away from your cat. Prevent your cat from licking or grooming your dog when they have K9 Advantix II applied. (See: OTC Preventatives below for more information about pyrethrin/permethrin and etofenprox)

 

Nexgard (afoxolaner) 

Route of Delivery: Oral Chew

Protection Period: 30 days

Protects Against: Fleas, Deer ticks, American dog ticks, Brown dog ticks, Lone Star ticks

Nexgard is a great oral flea and tick preventative for active dogs who are always in the water. Because it is oral, and not topical, there is no waiting period where your dog must stay dry, and subsequent swims or baths will not reduce the efficacy of this medication one bit. Nexgard kills fleas before they have a chance to lay eggs, and four types of ticks (including the deer ticks that carry Lyme disease). It can be given at the same time as your dog’s monthly heartworm preventative for uninterrupted protection. Like most oral flea and tick preventatives, Nexgard should not be given to any dog that has epilepsy or a history of seizures.

 

Seresto Collar (flumethrin/imidacloprid)

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Route of Delivery: Collar

Protection Period: 240 days (8 months!!)

Protects Against: Fleas, Deer ticks, American dog ticks, Brown dog ticks, and Lone Star ticks

Seresto collars are definitely a staff favorite. Most of the AVC staff use Seresto collars on their own dogs and cats, and for good reason. Seresto collars have the same active ingredient as K9 Advantix II (imidacloprid), but without the permethrin that is dangerous to cats. They are not like the stinky flea collars you find at the grocery store, and are made out of an odorless polymer blend that has the medicine baked right into it. They are non-greasy, and feature a quick release mechanism should your pet get it stuck on something. Seresto collars come in three sizes: Feline, Small Dog (under 18lbs), and Large Dog (over 18lbs). This product is excellent if you have ever forgotten to give your dog his or her flea preventative on time. Once it goes on, it is protective for 8 whole months! You don’t have to worry about remembering when you applied it either, as AVC will automatically add a reminder to your pet’s record whenever you purchase a Seresto collar. In 8 months time, when your pet is due for a new collar, we will send you a friendly reminder so you know when to change it out. Out of all of the flea and tick preventatives we carry, Seresto is the most cost effective. The collars cost $65-75 + tax depending on the size you need. That breaks down to approximately $8-9 dollars per month for flea and tick prevention! So while Seresto may be a bit pricier up front, you save money in the long run.

 

Frontline Gold (fipronil/methoprene) *Cats Only*

Route of Delivery: Topical Liquid

Protection Period: 30 days

Protects Against: Fleas, Deer ticks, American dog ticks, Brown dog ticks, Lone Star ticks

For our feline friends, we carry a product almost everyone has heard of: Frontline Gold. This is the old standard in a new coat. Frontline Gold is a topical liquid that is applied once every 30 days and protects your cats from fleas and ticks. It also kills flea eggs and larvae which helps to break the lifecycle of the fleas. As cats are sensitive creatures, there are many over the counter flea medications that can cause toxicity, and we always recommend using a high quality “prescription” flea and tick preventative for your feline friends. These medications are tested and proven to be safe for cats, even if they lick it off!

 

Flea/Heartworm Preventatives

Advantage Multi for Cats

Route of Delivery: Topical Liquid

Protection Period: 30 days

Protects Against: Heartworms, Fleas, Roundworms, Hookworms, Ear Mites

Advantage Multi is a nice combination product for cats that go outdoors. All cats should be on a flea and tick preventative whether or not they go outside, but cats that do go out should have additional protection against heartworm disease and intestinal parasites. Advantage Multi has your outdoor roamers covered, and will keep them parasite free for one month. The only downside to this product, is that it does not have any protection against ticks. So we recommend if your cat has picked up ticks before, or is in an area likely to expose them to ticks that you use an additioanl tick preventative product such as Seresto collars.

 

OTC Flea & Tick Preventatives

You may be tempted to save some money by purchasing your pet’s flea and tick prevention at the grocery or pet store. Some items you can purchase over the counter are perfectly safe and effective, such as Advantage. Other products are neither safe nor effective, and you can potentially be throwing away money and exposing your pet to toxicity. Cats especially are extremely sensitive to pyrethrin and permethin products, and we have seen many, many cats come into the clinic over the years in grave condition after having these old school flea medications applied and then licking them as they groomed themselves. It’s our job as a vet clinic to educate our community, so I wanted to take a moment and go over why these products are not a good purchase.

  • Efficacy:
    • Pyrethrin and Permethrin break down after exposure to sunlight and quickly begin losing efficacy.
  • Safety:
    • Cats are sensitive to these chemicals and can have extremely serious adverse reactions. Permethrin and pyrethrin toxicity in cats can cause twitching, drooling, seizures coma and unfortunately, death.

You and your pets would be better served to use a high quality product that we know is safe, and effective. You won’t have to worry about your furry friend getting sick from the flea medication, or about them becoming a meal to horrible pests, not to mention being exposed to any number of super gross diseases. With Lyme disease rearing it’s ugly head in our area, it is now more important than ever to ensure our pets are protected against ticks. Get more information about Lyme vaccination on our blog.

If you have any questions about what product or combination of products is right for your pet, please feel free to call the clinic at 330-833-3127 and speak to one of our nurses. Alternatively, you can always email me with any questions at tiffany@aquadaleveterinaryclinic.com, and I will be happy to point you in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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