Preventative heartworm medication is available in three forms. Tablets, injection or topical heartworm medicine. Read on to find out if spot on treatments are best for you and your pets.
How do Topical Heartworm Medicines Work?
The idea is copied from the hugely successful topical flea treatments. By anointing an oily carrier liquid to your pets skin, the active ingredients can be swiftly absorbed into the bloodstream. Once there, the active ingredients circulate through the system, destroying all larval heartworms which have been picked up since the last heartworm preventative was used.
In effect, these do not stop your dog from getting heartworms. It rather, works backwards, killing off any larval stage worms which have been picked up by your dog during the thirty days since their last treatment. As it takes five or six months for larval worms to reach adulthood, breed and cause health problems for your animal, these spot on treatments do prevent heartworm disease ever affecting your pet.
Switching to Topical Heartworm Medication
If your dog is currently being given heartworm pills you can switch to a topical treatment easily. Just ensure the first treatment with the spot on product is given thirty days after the last heartworm pill was used. This ensures 100% of larvae are destroyed and your pet does not ever incur the health problems associated with adult heartworms.
Are Topical Heartworm Meds Safe?
The active ingredients used in such heartworm preventatives are deemed extremely safe. The primary concern is not with the pesticides used, but with the carrier liquids. Some animals may show signs of irritation to any topical treatment. Pets with such sensitive skins may be best treated with oral heartworm pills instead.
Topical heartworm medications are not to be taken orally. If you think your pet has ingested the product watch for any adverse reaction and speak to your vet if they occur.
Of course, always read the label as medications differ. But most are suitable for puppies and kittens from a young age. For example Advantage Multi combined topical heartworm medicine and flea treatment is safe for puppies from 7 weeks and 3lb in weight (Advantage Multi for Cats is safe for kittens from 9 weeks and 2lb in weight). Revolution appears safe for both pregnant and lactating cats and dogs.
Using Topical Heartworm Treatments
These are very simple to use. Simply part your pet's fur to expose a patch of skin between the shoulder blades. Then pour the single dose of liquid onto the skin. Once applied your pet should be kept in for 30 minutes. You should ensure he or she does not rub off the product or lick it. It may be easiest to keep animals apart to ensure they do not lick each other. Children should be kept away from the pet for two hours to ensure they too do not ingest any of the heartworm medicine.
Heartworm Medicine and Parasite Control
Topical heartworm medicines can be bought which also destroy other parasites. Revolution for cats and dogs destroys both heartworm larvae and fleas, whilst Advantage Multi combines heartworm medicine, flea control and the destruction of several intestinal worms too.
This combination of parasite control is perhaps the most important reason topical heartworm medications are becoming so popular. The convenience of using one regular medication as opposed to up to three different treatments makes pet care simple.