Parasite control

Fleas, ticks, heartworms, intestinal worms… so many nasty bugs you don’t want in or on your pet!  But with literally dozens of products to choose from, how do you pick the best one for your dog or cat?

Let’s try to narrow it down based on what your pet’s specific needs are and what you prefer in a product . You can click on many of the products mentioned to go to a page with more information.

Dogs:

Heartworms: All dogs need to be on a heartworm preventive.  All of them, even the little Chihuahuas who “never go outside.” Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, which can get into your house and bite your dog.  We’ve treated all kinds of dogs for heartworms; little dogs, hairy dogs, house dogs – they can all still get exposed to mosquitoes.  To learn more about heartworms in dogs, visit the American Heartworm Society’s page. Heartworm preventives also treat some types of intestinal worms that commonly infect dogs, which is one of the reasons we recommend giving them year round.

Our favorite heartworm preventive is a product called Sentinel. Sentinel is a monthly chewable tablet that prevents heartworms, treats and control whipworms, hookworms and roundworms, and prevents flea eggs from hatching. It does not kill adult fleas, but it will prevent the occasional flea your dog picks up from being able to reproduce and cause a major problem.

Heartworms & fleas: We generally recommend using something to treat fleas before you end up with a major infestation that can be hard to get rid of. Fleas make dogs miserable and can cause skin problems and tapeworms. If left untreated they can result in life-threatening anemia.

And excellent combo product that prevents heartworms, kills fleas, and treats and controls whipworms, roundworms and hookworms is Trifexis.  This product is a monthly chewable tablet. It contains the same ingredient as Sentinel for the heartworms and intestinal worms, plus adds the active ingredient of Comfortis, the monthly flea pill, to kill adult fleas.  This product kills fleas quickly and consistently.

If you would prefer a topical “spot-on” treatment over a chewable tablet, we also carry Advantage Multi for dogs. This is a monthly topical treatment in the form of a small amount of liquid applied to the dog’s neck or back. This medication prevents heartworms, kills fleas, and treats and controls roundworms, hookworms and whipworms in dogs. We do see better results against fleas with Trifexis as compared to this product, but if giving a pill is an issue then it is a good option.

Fleas & ticks: We have several good products for fleas and ticks, it just depend on if you prefer to give a chewable tablet, apply a monthly spot-on, or put a collar on the pet.  Bravecto is a chewable treat that kill fleas, prevents flea infestations, and kills ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, and brown dog tick) for 12 weeks. Bravecto also kills lone star ticks for 8 weeks. Nexgard is another chewable tablet- it kills fleas and ticks for 30 days. A Seresto Collar lasts for eight months and kills fleas and kills and repels ticks. If you prefer a “spot-on” product we do also have Effitix, which kills and repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes for 30 days.

Heartworms, fleas & ticks: Many dogs need it all – heartworm, flea, AND tick prevention/control. There are several ways of achieving this.  You could give Sentinel,  or Trifexis and then also give BravectoNexgard or Effitix or use a Seresto Collar to kill fleas and ticks.

Intestinal worms: The best way to prevent intestinal worms in dogs is to keep them on a monthly product like Trifexis or Sentinel.  If your dog isn’t on one of these products, or gets infected with a type of worm that the monthly products don’t treat, such as tapeworms, then you will need to give a dewormer medication. Any time a dog has had fleas they are at risk for having tapeworms, since the flea is the host for the tapeworms.  If you ever see small, white or cream colored worms in your dog’s stool or stuck to their fur, those are tapeworms. Once dried out they look almost like grains of rice. The most commonly dispensed dewormer at our clinic is Drontal Plus.  This tablet treats roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. These worms can make your dog sick, and some of them can be transmitted to humans. Here is an excellent page with information on parasites in pets and the risks to humans: Parasite Overview.

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Cats:

Fleas: Fleas can make your cat miserable, cause skin problems, tapeworms, and even anemia if left untreated. If your cat is strictly an inside cat and you just need flea control, there are several good products you can use.  Our favorite flea-only products is Cheristin, a monthly liquid spot-on treatment. Bravecto topical solution for cats kills fleas and ticks and lasts for 12 weeks with one application A Seresto collar is a time-release collar for cats that kills fleas and ticks for eight months. Capstar is a pill that works very quickly and thoroughly, but only stays in the cat’s system for about 24 hours, so it is not a long term flea control solution.

Ticks: Ticks are an extremely serious issue in cats in this area of NWA, as they can transmit a deadly disease known as Cytauxzoonosis.  Therefore it is crucial to keep a tick preventive on every cat that goes outdoors.  The latest news is that our favorite flea and tick product for dogs, Bravecto, is now available in a spot on formula for cats! This is very exciting news, and one dose lasts up to 12 weeks. We also recommend Seresto collars, which last for eight months and are labeled to actually repel as well as kill the ticks in as little as six hours. These collars are a good solution for cats who are at high risk of tick bites.

If you have a cat that starts exhibiting signs of illness such as lethargy, fever, not eating, jaundice (yellow color to skin), or difficulty breathing, you need to get the cat to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. These are signs of infection with the Cytauxzoon organism, which is often fatal and needs to be treated aggressively for the cat to have a chance of survival. Click here to read more information on Cytaux.

Intestinal worms: If your cat is strictly indoors and never has fleas you probably won’t have to worry about giving a dewormer.  For cats who go outside we generally recommend deworming them every six to twelve months.  Any time a cat has had fleas they are at risk for having tapeworms, since the flea is the host for the tapeworms.  If you ever see small, white or cream colored worms in your cat’s stool or stuck to their fur, those are tapeworms. Once dried out they look almost like grains of rice.  We have two options for treating worms in cats.  One is a tablet called Drontal, the other is a topical “spot-on” product called Profender, which is applied to the back of the cat’s neck.  Both medications treat tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms. These worms can make your cat sick, and some of them can be transmitted to humans. Here is an excellent page with information on parasites in pets and the risks to humans: Parasite Overview.

Heartworms: Heartworm disease in cats is not as straightforward as it is in dogs.  Cats are much less susceptible to heartworms than dogs, but they can be infected.  It can be impossible to definitively diagnose heartworms in cats and there is no treatment once a cat is infected.   We carry Advantage Multi for Cats, which is a monthly spot-on product that prevents heartworms, kills fleas, and treats and control roundworms,  hookworms and ear mites.  For more information on heartworm disease in cats, visit the American Heartworm Society’s page.