Dog Heartworm Medicine

Choosing a preventative dog heartworm medicine is crucial to avoid the complications and dangers of heart worms.

While heartworm infections can be treated, it is a painful and time-consuming process.

This site provides a number of articles about what to do if your dog does test positive for the infection, covering everything from what is involved, after care and nursing and options after successful treatment. However, it is certainly true that with this disease, avoiding your dog becoming infected in the first place is very definitely better than trying to cure.

Preventative medication will prevent a dangerous heart worm infection that is costly to treat. It is best to follow the recommendations provided by your veterinarian as this will ensure that the treatment is as effective as possible. There is a very low rate of incidence of the disease when directions are followed absolutely meticulously.

The following is a list of the most common medicines approved by the FDA for this purpose.

heartgard for dogsHeartgard for dogs is a flavored chewable that kills the heart worm larvae in the bloodstream.

Heartgard plus provides the same prevention protection in addition to providing protection against roundworms and hookworms. The active ingredients are delivered in a beef flavored chewable.

Ivermectin for dogs is a medicine found under several brand names in preventatives. This drug is the active ingredient in all preventative medications, but it also prevents mites and is used to treat mange. Mange is contagious so you will also have the reassurance of that your pet is protected against this parasite too.

Iverhart for dogsIverhart heartworm treatment for dogs prevents heart worms, and also treats roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. If your dog is particularly susceptible to tapeworms this may be a good option that you will want to consider.

Iverhart plus will protect against heart worms, plus it also treats roundworms and hookworms. The medicine is delivered through a pork flavored chewable tablet. It is comparable to Heartgard plus.

All of the above preventative medications contain Ivermectin. The medications that protect against roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms also contain Pyrantel Pamoate. Both of these drugs are referred to as dewormers. Your veterinarian will prescribe the correct dosage based on the weight of your pet.

When Should You Start Your Puppy on Heartworm Medication?

heartworm medicine will protect your dog

Dog heartworm medicine can protect your beloved pets from infection

If it is the first time you are using a heartworm preventative, it is important to monitor your pet for any reactions or side effects that might occur. While these are fortunately rare, some dogs may experience an allergic reaction. Read the accompanying literature carefully and follow the advice if your pet shows any unusual symptoms

In addition, if a dose is missed, you should check with your veterinarian and not give a double dose. It is inadvisable to do this. You will probably be instructed to continue with the new dose and change the due date of the next monthly dose to be exactly one month from when you gave it.

Understandably, many dog owners feel that these medicines designed for prevention of hearworm disease, contain a poison they must feed their dogs each month. These worms are dangerous and if your dog tests positive for adult worms, the medicine used to treat the infection is an arsenic based medication called Immiticide. This medicine is far more powerful than the medicine contained in a monthly preventative medication.

In addition, some dogs are unable to withstand the treatment with Immiticide and in rare cases, it may result in death. For those who are too old or physically unable to have the treatment, the worm burden will eventually result in the dog’s death.

Preventative dog heartworm medication is the best method for keeping your beloved pet free of these worms. Alternatives are risky and are not proven effective nor are they authorised by the FDA or recommended by the AHS. Prevention treatments are safe and effective if instructions are followed properly. If your dog experiences any side effects, immediately contact your veterinarian.


Dog Heartworm Medicine — 4 Comments

  1. my dog is being treated with heartworm prevenative for a localized spot of mange on his nose. is this normal

    • Hi Donna, the active ingredient in most heartworm preventatives is Ivermectin which will also treat mange!

  2. Prevention is definitely the key with heart worms… just know that some collies and other herding breeds cannot have ivermectin because they are allergic. Also, I just wanted to point out that aside from the immiticide treatment, there’s something called HWF (Heart Worm Free) that can also be used to kill heart worms and it can be used on any breed at any age. Its also a preventive too.

    • Susan, thank you for your comment, we definitely agree on the fact that prevention is vital and far better than having to treat a dog that has become infected.

      Yes, you are correct that collies and herding breeds are allergic to Ivermectin but, at the dose it is supplied at in heartworm preventives, it should be safe provided that the medicine is given under veterinary supervision and the great care is taken to ensure that exactly the right dose for the weight of the dog is given and that the medicine is given at the right time (i.e. on the correct day each month).

      We will certainly investigate HWF and will publish an article on our findings. In the meantime, it is a fact that the only drug approved and authorised by the FDA for the treatment of adult heartworm is Immiticide.

      Thank you for taking the trouble to leave a comment, your input is valued.