I have just adopted a new puppy. I have seen advertisements recommending various heartworm preventatives. There are so many choices, which is best?
It's true, there are several more choices for preventatives now compared to even a few years ago. Which product to choose depends upon which product fits best with the owner's preference (cost, dosing schedule) and with the dog's temperament, environment, etc. First of all , it is important to make sure that your dog has been blood-tested to screen for current heartworm infection before starting the medication (if your dog is older than 5-6 months of age). If a dog that has heartworms is given some of the medications, serious reactions can result. If your dog is a young puppy or has been tested negative for heartworms, then preventative medicine can be started. There are several choices, but all will prevent heartworm infestation from mosquito bites if they are used properly according to manufacturer's labeled directions. Some of the available choices have the following properties: 1. Monthly oral medicine to prevent intestinal worms, heartworms, and control flea infestations; 2. Monthly topical heartworm and external parasite prevention; 3. Daily or monthly oral medicines that prevent heartworm or intestinal parasites; 4. Every 6 months injectable heartworm prevention (not for use in growing puppies). Which one to choose depends on the owner's preference. Some people want flea and intestinal worm prevention in addition to heartworm control all in one medicine. Other people will use separate products to achieve flea or intestinal parasite control. Some dogs will not take oral medicines willingly, so topical or injectable products are best for them. Some people forget to give the medicines on time so the injectable 6 month product may be best for them. Cost may also be a factor that dictates choice for some people. All of these products will work well if used properly. The medicine doesn't work if it is left on the kitchen shelf or doses are given at improper intervals. Talk to your veterinarian to decide which medicine is best for your personal circumstances.
P.S. Also remember that cats can get heartworms too! There are now different types of preventatives to choose from for our feline friends too. But remember all medicines only work if given properly.