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Heartworm is a serious medical condition that affects dogs and cats, especially in the United States. The disease is caused when parasitic worms, measuring up to a foot long, enter the host’s heart, blood vessels, and lungs. The infection leads to various medical complications such as lung disease and even heart failure. Heartworms complete an entire life cycle within the host’s body. What that means is they grow, mate and breed inside your dog’s body and if left untreated, their numbers can go from hundreds to thousands. But, even with treatment, heartworms cause enough long term damage to your dog’s body. As a result, your dog may never fully recover. This is where the prevention approach is the best approach.So, how do you prevent heartworm infection? Well, there are primarily three categories of heartworm medication that prevent infection. This article will help you learn about these medications and make a decision that is suitable for your dog.Monthly Oral Medication
These are the most common type of preventive heartworm medication. They come in the form of chewables or tablets. The key ingredient in such medications is either milbemycin or ivermectin.There was a time when heartworm medication had to be administered daily, but, thanks to medical advancement, you have options that can be administered just once in a month. Plus, they are far more effective as well.The monthly oral medications for heartworm prevention are capable of eliminating the heartworm larvae and also other parasites such as hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. In fact, there are options that work against fleas as well. As the name suggests, these medications need to be administered orally, which means your dog has to chew or swallow them completely.Injectable Heartworm Medication
Next, we have injectable medication to prevent heartworms. The key ingredient in these medications is moxidectin. The best part about this medication is that it almost works like a vaccine. One injection can protect your dog for 6 months. The injection can wipe out heartworm larvae and even hookworms.However, there have been side effects noted with these injections. Therefore, restrictions tend to exist with regard to their usage. You will need a trained vet to administer these injections. He/she must also note down the lot number of the injection and observe your dog for side effects. Side effects need to be reported if present.Topical Heartworm Medication
There are also a few topical medication options for heartworm prevention. They can be applied on your dog’s body, behind the neck and between the shoulder blades. The good news is that this needs to be done only on a monthly basis. There are topical options that contain selemectin as well. Selemectin helps fight ticks, ear mites, and mange mites. Then, there are options with moxidectin as well. One key thing to remember is that these topical medications are toxic and should not be ingested. So, make sure your dog doesn’t lick or bite the areas where the topical agent has been applied.