Heartgard Plus and Heartgard for Dogs are two of the leading heartworm preventatives on the market. Although their names are similar, they actually have some key differences. Find out more here to help better decide which medication is the best for your dog.
Heartworms can lead to several devastating outcomes, which is why prevention is vital. Heartgard for Dogs helps prevent heartworms, and Heartgard Plus for dogs does triple duty to prevent heartworms and ascarid and hookworm infections.
Heartworms in dogs can cause permanent damage to blood vessels, make breathing difficult, and when left untreated, can cause a pet’s death. So, preventative heartworm medicine for dogs like Heartgard Plus and Heartgard for Dogs are crucial. Treatment for infected dogs can be long-term and expensive, and dog parents must undergo the difficult task of keeping their dogs quiet and calm for many months since excitability and exercise are known to exacerbate a dog’s symptoms and could even lead to death.
Symptoms of Heartworms
Heartworm disease is spread when mosquitoes bite an infected dog and then bite another dog. The worms enter the bloodstream and migrate to the heart and lungs, where they lay eggs. The eggs can remain in the lungs for up to seven years.
Some of the signs and symptoms of heartworm disease include:
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) – A condition in which the heart muscle becomes weak and enlarged, making it difficult for blood to pump through the body
Enlarged heart – An enlarged heart can lead to shortness of breath, lethargy, exercise intolerance or collapse
Heartworms can also cause symptoms like coughing, difficulty breathing, fainting, loss of appetite and weight loss. A veterinarian can perform an ultrasound or x-ray to determine if your dog has heartworms.
If your dog has heartworms, he'll need treatment right away. He'll receive medication to kill the worms and reduce swelling in his heart that's caused by the infection.
Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites, and unfortunately, there’s no way to know if a mosquito was infected, or whether its bite has caused or will cause heartworms. The only way to prevent the onset of heartworms is to arm your dog with regular prevention heartworm meds for dogs like Heartgard. So what are the differences between Heartgard Plus and Heartgard?
What Does Heartgard Protect Against?
Heartgard and Heartgard Plus both protect dogs against heartworm infestation.
Heartgard protects against heartworms alone.
Heartgard Plus protects against heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, and other ascarids (types of intestinal parasites).
How Long Does a Dose Last?
Each dose of Heartgard or Heartgard Plus lasts 30 days.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Ivermectin is the primary ingredient in Heartgard as well as in Heartgard Plus. Ivermectin in high doses, as is used in cases of sarcoptic mange, for example, can pose some risks. Doses of ivermectin used as heartworm prevention for dogs, however, are relatively low. Therefore, the risks of side effects are also low, with a few exceptions.
Collies and other similar herding breeds are known to have Ivermectin intolerance. For this reason, your veterinarian may wish to use an alternative heartworm prevention treatment. If you have a sheepdog or Australian Shepherd, you may wish to consult your vet before administering these drugs.
What is the Age Minimum for Heartgard?
Neither Heartgard or Heartgard Plus should be given to puppies till they’re at least 6 weeks of age.
Can Heartgard be Administered to Pregnant Pets?
Speak with your vet about giving these heartworm pills for dogs to pregnant dogs. Any medication should be used with great care and caution when it comes to pregnant animals.
How Does it Work?
A dog heartworm med like Heartgard or Heartgard Plus works in essentially the same way. The chemical formulations in each medication are designed to cause paralysis and death in worms, at the larval stage. This means that worms are never able to mature into adulthood or reproduce. They die before they develop, thereby ensuring that your dog will suffer no deleterious effects from their presence.
Other than medication, you can also use the Seresto Flea Collar for dogs to prevent your dog from getting heartworms. This dog collar can also repel mosquitoes which spread heartworms.
Chewable pill form;
6 weeks or older
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6 weeks or older
What Happens When You Don’t Treat Heartworms in Dogs?
If you don't treat heartworms in dogs, you could end up with a lot of expensive and painful problems.
Heartworm disease is a serious condition that can cause your dog to become very ill and die if left untreated. The worms live in the heart and lungs, which makes it hard for your dog to breathe and pump blood around his body. In addition, the worms can spread throughout your pup's body, including his brain and eyes.
Without treatment, there is no cure for heartworm disease. If your dog has heartworms, you'll need to take them to your vet for treatment as soon as possible so that they don't get worse or die from complications caused by their infection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need Heartgard Plus?
It is important to speak with your veterinarian about whether Heartgard Plus is appropriate for your dog. Your veterinarian will take into consideration your dog's individual needs, including their risk of exposure to heartworms and any pre-existing health conditions they may have. It is always best to follow the recommendations of your veterinarian when it comes to your pet's healthcare.
What does Heartgard Plus cover?
Heartgard Plus is a medication used to prevent heartworm disease in dogs. It is a combination of two active ingredients: ivermectin and pyrantel. Ivermectin is an antiparasitic medication that works by disrupting the nerve impulses of parasites, causing paralysis and death. Pyrantel is a neuromuscular blocking agent that causes paralysis in parasitic worms. Heartgard Plus is given orally once a month and is effective at preventing heartworm disease in dogs. It is also effective at controlling and preventing infections with roundworms and hookworms, which are common intestinal parasites in dogs.
How effective is Heartgard Plus?
Heartgard Plus is generally considered to be very effective at preventing heartworm disease in dogs when it is used as directed. The active ingredients in Heartgard Plus, ivermectin, and pyrantel, have been extensively tested and have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing heartworm disease in dogs when used as directed. It is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by your veterinarian and to give the medication to your dog on a regular schedule to ensure its effectiveness. It is also important to remember that Heartgard Plus only prevents heartworm disease and does not treat it, so it is important to have your dog tested for heartworms on a regular basis, as recommended by your veterinarian. Overall, Heartgard Plus is a safe and effective option for preventing heartworm disease in dogs when used as directed.
Which is safer, Heartgard or Interceptor PLUS?
Both Heartgard and Interceptor Plus are safe and effective medications for preventing heartworm disease in dogs when used as directed. Heartgard contains the active ingredients ivermectin and pyrantel, while Interceptor Plus contains the active ingredient milbemycin oxime. Both medications have been extensively tested and have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing heartworm disease in dogs. As with any medication, there is a potential for side effects. The most common side effects of Heartgard and Interceptor Plus are gastrointestinal in nature, such as vomiting and diarrhea. These side effects are generally mild and resolve on their own. More serious side effects are rare but may include tremors, difficulty breathing, and changes in behavior. It is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by your veterinarian and to report any side effects to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will be able to help you determine which medication is the best option for your dog based on their individual needs and medical history.
How often should Heartgard Plus be given?
Heartgard Plus is typically given to dogs once a month to prevent heartworm disease. It is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by your veterinarian and to give the medication to your dog on a regular schedule to ensure its effectiveness. It is also important to remember that Heartgard Plus only prevents heartworm disease and does not treat it, so it is important to have your dog tested for heartworms on a regular basis, as recommended by your veterinarian. It is important to note that Heartgard Plus is a prescription medication and should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian. Do not give Heartgard Plus to your dog without first consulting your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the appropriate dosing schedule for your dog based on their individual needs and medical history.
More on Heartworms
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Signs of Feline Heartworm Disease
Can People Get Heartworms?
Heartworm Tests Explained
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.