Understanding Parasite Preventions for Cats and Dogs
What are preventions for cats and dogs?
Have you ever visited the vet and been asked if you need preventions for your cat or dog? If you’re not sure what this means, you are not alone. What we veterinarians define as preventions are your pet’s flea/tick prevention and heartworm prevention.
There are many different flea and tick medications on the market which can be confusing. The main groups are either topical or oral preventions. Here at Companion Animal Clinic we carry two different oral preventions for dogs: Nexgard for eight weeks of age and up (up to 60 lbs) and Bravecto for six months and older. For our fancy felines we offer three different topical products: Revolution and Frontline Gold which are monthly and Bravecto which is applied every 60 days for cats six months and older.
Heartworm preventions for dogs usually come in one of two forms: a monthly tablet or an injection that is given either once or twice yearly. At Companion Animal Clinic we carry Sentinel, a monthly flavored chewable tablet for dogs.
Why should pets take parasite preventions?
We recommend these preventions for cats and dogs for many reasons. No pet owner wants their loved family member in any kind of discomfort. Fleas and ticks can cause a multitude of issues for our furry friends such as itching, skin infections, tape worms, Lyme disease, Echrlichia, Anaplasma, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc. Our oral preventions also help treat conditions such as demodectic and sarcoptic mange. Heartworm prevention is used to guard against (you guessed it!) Heartworm disease. This is an infection that is spread by mosquitoes and can cause lung and heart damage and in some cases, result in death. Heartworm prevention also has the added benefit of helping ward off intestinal parasites which could cause gastrointestinal upset, anemia, and/or weight loss.
How long should cats and dogs take these medications?
These parasite preventions are recommended to be given year round. Especially in the South, it does not get cold enough for long enough periods of time to kill these pests. It is easier to remember to give your pet these preventative medications if we stay on a routine. Please ask your vet what preventions will work best for you and your pet and they will likely be able to provide those for you in hospital at the time of your appointment or at your convenience to pick up.
– Vanessa Mitchell, DVM
Companion Animal Clinic has been serving Blacksburg, Virginia and surrounding Montgomery and Christiansburg communities since 1974. We are an AAHA accredited veterinary hospital and provide quality, professional care for dogs, cats, exotics, and small mammals. Learn more about our amazing team.