It is vitally important to your pet’s long term health to use preventative medications that reduce the risk of tick borne disease, flea infestation, mites, heartworm disease and intestinal parasitism. Although we understand why there may be concern about using certain preventative medications, we believe that the safety and efficacy of the options listed below outweigh the potential risks posed by the parasites they prevent and ultimately help to keep your pet safe. Further, many parasites have zoonotic potential, meaning they can cause disease in humans as well.


Ticks are highly prevalent in our area and commonly transmit serious and difficult to diagnose diseases such as Lyme, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These diseases can cause debilitating lameness, kidney failure, severe anemia and bleeding disorders as well as other life threatening problems. A good preventative can dramatically reduce the risk your dog contracts one of these diseases. Most tick preventatives also treat mange mites and fleas, which are common problems in our area and can lead to severe skin problems and tapeworm infection.


Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes and grow in the pulmonary artery causing serious health problems. They are challenging to treat and are endemic in the Southern parts of the United States, but becoming more common in the Northeast. Most heartworm preventatives also control intestinal parasites. Intestinal parasites can be spread through fecal oral transmission, and are often picked up in locations where dogs walk and congregate in large numbers. Many intestinal parasites can cause disease in people as well so a good prevention program is vital to you and your pets health.



All-in-One Heartworm, Flea, Tick and Intestinal Parasite Prevention:


Simparica Trio is the first all-in-one monthly orally administered preventative medication that covers heartworm, fleas, ticks, common intestinal parasites, and mites (extra-label). Not only convenient and highly effective with one pill providing broad-spectrum coverage, but with a pork flavoring, it is anallergenic and easy to administer. Simparica Trio is approved for puppies 8 weeks and older weighing at least 2.8 lbs. Side effects are rare and include minor upset stomach, temporary decreased appetite, lethargy, and in extremely rare circumstances tremors or neurologic side effects.  Safety has not been evaluated in pregnant, breeding or lactating animals.



Flea/Tick Prevention:


1. Nexgard is a monthly orally administered preventative medication that covers fleas, ticks and mites (extra-label). Nexgard is highly effective and with a beef flavored chewable tablet, it is easy to administer. Like Simparica, Nexgard travels inertly in the dogs blood stream and kills invertebrate fleas and ticks when they bite and start to take a blood meal. Nexgard can be given after 8 weeks of age and when the dog is greater than 4 lbs. Side effects are rare and include minor upset stomach, itchiness, lethargy and in extremely rare circumstances tremors or neurologic side effects. Safety has not been evaluated in pregnant, breeding, or lactating animals.


Bravecto is roughly the equivalent of Nexgard, but is given every 3 months rather than monthly. Because of the rapid growth and increasing weight in puppies, Bravecto cannot be used in dogs 6 months of age, unless specifically labeled for monthly use. Bravecto is pork flavored, but uses a hydrolyzed protein, so it is less likely to induce allergies in dogs with food allergies. Bravecto is safe for breeding, pregnant and lactating dogs.


2. Seresto collar is the only collar that we trust and recommend. Although not quite as effective as blocking tick borne disease transmission, this collar is substantially more affordable than the oral flea and tick preventatives and lasts for 6 – 8 months depending on how often your dog swims or is bathed. The collar is effective against fleas, ticks and mange mites when they bite, as well as has repellent properties that most other products do not. The active ingredients are impregnated into the collar and are released gradually over time so that any human exposure to parasiticides is minimal. The ingredients are not absorbed through the dogs or our skin and side effects are rare and limited to loss of fur and redness of the skin. The collar has several breakaway points for safety, and its overall safety is regulated by over 80 organizations worldwide including the EPA. With respect to human and especially children contact, studies support exposure is not significant, but we do caution about the potential choking hazard due to its small size and offer oral alternative options to avoid any exposure to parasiticides in humans. This product can be used in puppies 8 weeks or older. Although this is an over-the-counter product, it is important to purchase the collar through the veterinarian’s office or other authorized retailer to ensure product authenticity and integrity.


3. Frontline Plus and Parastar are over the counter, affordable, topical products for flea/tick prevention. Unfortunately, many fleas/ticks have developed a resistance to these products and overall efficacy is poor. Therefore, we generally do not recommend these products although will use them in certain circumstances. Frontline is approved for dogs over 8 weeks of age and weighing 5 lbs or greater.


Heartworms/Intestinal Parasites:


1. Heartgard Plus is an affordable monthly oral medication and the most frequently used heartworm preventative at this practice outside of Simparica Trio. As a tasty chew, most dogs love getting their monthly heartworm preventative that also protects them from roundworms and hookworms. The potential for side effects is exceedingly rare and typically limited to upset stomach (inappetence, vomiting and or diarrhea); however, there are certain breeds that can have an MDR1 gene mutation causing sensitivity to the main ingredient. These breeds include Australian Shepherds, Collies, and Sheepdogs; although, toxicology experts conclude the amount of Ivermectin in Heartgard is far less than is needed to cause problems even in dogs that have the MDR1 mutation. Finally, this product is safe for dogs greater than 6 weeks of age and those who are currently being treated for heartworm disease and/or are pregnant/breeding dogs.


2. Sentinel Spectrum is similar to Heartgard in safety and efficacy but uses different
active ingredients. The main advantage to Sentinel Spectrum is its efficacy against whipworms and that it has a flea growth inhibitor . We typically reserve this product for those dogs who have a history of whipworms. This product is licensed for dogs greater than 4 weeks of age and weighing 2 lbs or more.


3. Revolution is a topically applied monthly heartworm preventative that also protects from ear mites, scabies mites, fleas, roundworms and hookworms. Were it not for the poor efficacy against ticks, this product would be perfect as a single preventative for pets in our area, but we typically reserve this product for patients that cannot take an oral medication due to allergies or other issues. Side effects are rare and include hair loss at the application site, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of balance. This product is licensed for dogs that are 6 weeks or older.