Heartworm Prevention = Parasite Prevention= Year round Prevention
Most “heartworm” preventatives do more than just prevent heartworm. A better name would be parasite preventatives. Most also prevent intestinal worms and some prevent fleas. Because of this, what was once thought of as a seasonal medicine, is best used as a year round comprehensive parasite prevention.
Heartworm is spread through mosquitoes. Usually a good frost or two and these bugs are gone for the winter. Intestinal parasites on the other hand can survive through the winters. Many owners come in with the complaint that their dogs are eating another animal’s feces. This is especially true in the winter, when they eat what we like to call “poopsicles”. These frozen treats can be loaded with viable eggs that can infest your pet and make them ill.
It’s not just dogs who need preventatives in the winter. Even indoor cats should be on a preventative year round to keep them healthy. In the summer mosquitoes can get inside your house and infect your cat with heartworm. There is not a treatment for cats and most cats do not tolerate the worms, many cats can die from the disease. Potting soil is a source of roundworms and if a cat gets into your plants, they can ingest an egg and become infected.
Fleas can live year round in your house. They seem to make an effort in the late fall to try their best to get on your pet and inside your house. Again, most people think flea control is just in the summer, but it’s important to continue year round so a life cycle and infestation won’t begin over the winter.
Our weather is unpredictable, who knows when the weather will actually turn nice. The minute mosquitoes come out they can be infective with heartworms. This is another reason to go year round. Take the guesswork out of figuring out the weather. The weathermen can barely do it!!
The heartworm and the intestinal dewormers are only in your pet’s system for about 48 hours. Your pet actually gets exposed to parasites, and then treated to stop the life cycle from progressing and allowing your pet to get sick. If you miss a dose or quit too early, this life cycle may not be interrupted and heartworm, intestinal worms or a flea’s life cycle can develop.
The flea components are generally a slow release and do last a month. Some control the eggs and others treat the adults.
If you have multiple pets, it’s important every one of them is on preventative to get the best control of parasites. Your choices and prices can vary. You need to discuss your pet’s lifestyle with your veterinary staff to understand what preventatives are the best for your pet. Your veterinary staff will also educate you on the correct way to administer the medicine for optimum control.