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Parasitic Prevention

Heartworm season is upon us once again, and it is time to pick up your dog’s heartworm prevention for the year. Heartworm prevention and parasitic control have become what may seem like a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be.

The market is flooded with products to help protect your dog from heartworm and parasites; sometimes the choices seem to be overwhelming. By asking the right questions and determining your dog’s lifestyle ahead of your visit can give you and your dog’s health care team the knowledge to determine the correct needs of your dog.

Do you know what you should be looking for? Does your pet have a personal preference for a preventative product, is an oral tablet a better choice than a topical treatment? What type of lifestyle do you and your dog have? Does your dog frequent locations such as off-leash parks, boarding kennels, and doggy day-care facilities? Why are pet store products not effective?  These are all important questions to answer so that the right product is chosen to give maximum protection.

Dogs that frequent areas populated by other dogs can be exposed to whipworms, roundworms, and hookworms, all of which are zoonotic in nature. Fleas are also a risk factor whenever your dog goes outdoors, but more so when in a group setting.

Fleas are all too common, and there are a number of products that will only kill adults, while others only effect emerging life stages. Is your dog at risk of contracting fleas? Tick products all provide different levels of protection; some products require the tick to bite and take a blood meal while others do not. Is your dog at risk of contracting ticks? Many of the newer products also help control lungworm (a new threat emerging in our area) mites, lice, and mosquitoes.

The list of options is long and sometimes appears confusing, before visiting the clinic for your dog’s annual heartworm prevention ask yourself some of the above questions. This will help the staff to help you choose the right product for your dog.

It is not just about heartworm anymore.

Written by Laurie Box, RVT


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