As the weather hits 70 and the mud is deep on the way to the fenced yard, we welcome the hint of spring. Spring traditionally reminds dog owners that they need to return to vigilance on prevention of parasites and the diseases they transmit.
My thoughts on what I recommend:
- “Heartworm pill”- what is it and how does it work? Heartworm is actually a worm that is transmitted by mosquitoes. The mosquito carries the larval stage of the worm and when it bites a dog or cat, it infects them with the larvae. These larvae migrate and mature and set up residence in the heart. They are terrible. I have seen dogs in congestive heart failure because of it and the treatment is taxing. Prevention is so easy and cost-effective. The heartworm preventative we carry is Interceptor (milbemycine). It works to kill the heartworm larvae if a mosquito had bitten them in the previous 4-6 weeks. It also would kill any adult roundworm, hookworm, or whipworm intestinal parasites that were in their intestinal tract. In this way, we need to remember that it is working to kill what is already in their system instead of thinking of it as a prevention for the next month moving forward. I recommend using this once a month all year. For those who stop this during the winter, we need to give one to three doses after the last mosquito is alive. Which means continuing through December at a minimum.
- “Flea and tick prevention”- Fleas are miserable friends. Ticks are attachment problems. Let’s look at options to prevent them. We carry 3 options for flea and tick prevention. First is Vectra, a topical once-a-month liquid that repels as well as kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and black flies. Second is Seresto, an 8-month collar that repels and kills fleas and ticks. Not your old-school collar- no odor and extremely safe. Third is Nexgard, an oral chewable medication that does not repel, but just quickly kills fleas and ticks. Nice for those who do not want topical products on their dogs.
Another interesting new vaccine that is available is an improved Lyme vaccine. It created antibodies against multiple proteins of the Lyme bacteria instead of one. Think of it as improved efficacy. If you wanted to switch to the new Lyme vaccine, it requires a booster in 3-4 weeks, then is continued once per year.
Go outside and enjoy.