Why Heartworm Preventatives Need a Prescription

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition that can affect dogs and cats. The disease is caused by a parasitic worm transmitted through mosquito bites. $500 loan online. Heartworm preventatives are medications designed to prevent this disease by killing the heartworm larvae before they can mature into adult worms.

One thing that may surprise pet owners is that all heartworm prevention for dogs and cats requires a prescription from a veterinarian. Many people wonder why this is the case, and there are several good reasons.

  • Heartworm preventatives are medications designed to be given to dogs and cats for a certain period, usually monthly. Like all medications, they can have side effects and interactions with other medications. By requiring a prescription, veterinarians can ensure that the medication is safe for your dog or cat and that it will not interact with any other medications they may be taking.
  • Heartworm-preventative medications are designed to be effective at specific dosages based on the animal’s weight. Overdosing or underdosing can result in the medication not being effective or causing harm to your dog or cat. By requiring a prescription, veterinarians can ensure the correct dosage is given to each pet.
  •  Heartworm preventatives are prescription medications because they are regulated by the FDA. The FDA regulates all medications, including those for pets, to ensure they are safe and effective. By requiring a prescription, the FDA is able to ensure that heartworm medications are being used in a safe and effective manner.

Why Does my Dog or Cat Need a Heartworm Test?

The American Heartworm Society and most veterinarians recommend an annual heartworm test before prescribing a heartworm preventative. Blood testing ensures that the medication is effective, the pet is not already infected with heartworms, and there are no adverse effects of the medication. Heartworm-preventative medications kill immature heartworm larvae and prevent them from maturing into adults, which causes illness. These medications do not kill adult heartworms.

  • A dog or cat that is infected with heartworms will require a different treatment plan. Starting medication without testing can put the pet at risk of serious complications.
  • Preventatives are highly effective, but your dog or cat can still become infected with heartworms even while taking the medication. Blood testing detects any new infection and allows for prompt treatment.

If you have any questions or concerns about heartworm prevention for your dog or, talk to your veterinarian. They can recommend the best medication for your dog or cat so they receive the best protection from heartworm disease. Learn more about heartworm disease in dogs and cats on our blogs.

This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease and is purely educational. Please seek advice from your pet’s veterinarian with any questions regarding your pet’s health. 

Pet Dewormers and Preventatives

Warmer weather brings a season of critters including intestinal and heart worms. When your pet has intestinal worms, it can be alarming but there is a wide array of treatment options available to rid the worms from your pet. There are also many preventatives for heartworms and intestinal worms, making it easy to keep the infestations at bay. The large amount of different wormers available can be confusing and hard to evaluate. This article, along with your veterinarian’s recommendations, can help you choose between the various de-wormers and preventative treatments against worms.

The right intestinal parasite ID is key:

An accurate identification of the worm is key in treating your pet’s infestation because most products are selective for certain worms. Heartworms will not be visible to you, but your pet will be experiencing serious symptoms such as cough, exercise intolerance, and abnormal lung sounds. These symptoms warrant an immediate visit to a veterinarian and possible hospitalization. When your pet has intestinal worms, you will likely notice the worms in their stools or surrounding fur.  Your veterinarian will probably be able to diagnose the intestinal worm with just a description, but some worms require an exam or stool sample for diagnosis.

Some of the most common worm infestations in dogs and cats include whipworms, heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Some of these worms are different in appearance and some are alike, making it hard to distinguish between them. This is especially true for the different types of tapeworms. There is a type called dipylidium caninum and they’re transmitted through infected fleas. They still resemble the appearance of other tapeworms, however these tapeworms are not always killed by the same medications as other tapeworms. It is important to talk to your veterinarian about any intestinal or heartworm infestation, because an accurate diagnosis and treatment is necessary to prevent complications and treatment failure.

More importantly, prevention:

The most important principle with worm infestations is preventing them from happening in the first place. There are several ways to keep worms at bay including keeping stools picked up, avoiding infested areas/pets, proper flea control, etc. You can also choose to use a preventative medication. These medications are usually administered monthly to your pet and can prevent and/or treat certain worm infestations. Heartworm preventative medications are necessary in almost all dogs because of the serious nature and frequency of heartworm infestation. All of the worm preventative medications work against heartworms for this reason but the products vary in what other worms they prevent or treat. You should also initiate worm prevention after an active infestation in your pet to reduce the chance of them coming back. Talk to your local veterinarian about specific ways to prevent worm infestations in your pet.

The two tables below display the various de wormers carried at VetRxDirect and what they are labeled to treat. The first table is the treatments we carry for pets with active intestinal worm infestations. Please note there are no heartworm treatment options from VetRxDirect because it’s an infestation requiring immediate and serious medical attention by your veterinarian. The second table shows the preventatives we carry for heartworms and intestinal worms. These tables can be used to supplement your veterinarian’s recommendations for purchasing worm treatments and preventatives.

Oral Dewormers for Active Parasite Infestation in Pets:

Oral Dewormers for Intestinal Parasites in Dogs and Cats

Click Anywhere on Table to Enlarge

Prescription Monthly Preventatives/Dewormers for Heartworms and Intestinal Parasites:

Prescription Monthly Preventatives/Dewormers for Dogs and Cats

Click Anywhere on Table to Enlarge

Take-home message about dewormers:

Prevention of worm infestations is one of the most important components for your pet’s healthy lifestyle. When prevention fails, the most effective way to treat your pet’s worm infestation is to have your veterinarian diagnose and prescribe medications specifically for your pet. OTC medications can be used with veterinarian approval or they may suggest a prescription product for your pet. Once the worms have been rid from your pet, it is important to initiate preventative measures or medications. Your veterinarian is a great resource to contact about preventing a re infestation in your pet.

What dewormers and worm preventatives have you given your pet? Did they work well? Let us know by leaving comments below or by clicking the ‘Reviews’ tab on any the dewormers or preventatives included in this post. Thank you.

Heartworms: Prevention is the Best Medicine

April showers bring May flowers… and, unfortunately, the onset of heartworm season in much of the country. That’s why it’s National Heartworm Awareness Month. Heartworm can be fatal and it is very difficult – and expensive — to treat so prevention is always your best bet.  Here’s what you need to know.

What types of animals get heartworm?

Many mammals get heartworm including dogs and cats. The disease is rare in humans.  Note that heartworm susceptibility, diagnosis, and treatment are different for dogs and cats.

Where are heartworms prevalent?

Heartworm can be found throughout the U.S. but it’s more prevalent in the Midwest and Southeast because the parasite flourishes in tropical and subtropical climates.  Check this map to see how common it is in your area:


Heartworm Incidence Map Courtesy of Heartwormsociety.org

Heartworm Incidence Map Courtesy of the American Heartworm Society


How do pets get heartworms?

The parasitic nematode Dirofilaria immitis, commonly called heartworm, is transmitted via mosquitoes. When a mosquito infected with heartworm bites your pet it can transmit heartworm larvae into your pet’s bloodstream. Once inside your pet, the larvae continue to develop over the course of about six months. They make their way to the heart or lungs where they mature and reproduce. Adult worms live for years, can grow to more that 12 inches long and cause blockages in the heart and lungs and damage to arteries.

What are the symptoms of heartworm disease?

Often there are no obvious initial symptoms when your pet is infected with heartworm. Once the disease has progressed, dogs may begin to cough, experience shortness of breath, and be unwilling to exercise. Symptoms in cats are non-specific – like coughing or rapid breathing — and are often mistaken for other medical problems. Some pets show no symptoms until they collapse or faint due to “caval syndrome,” at which stage the body is so infected that treatment and recovery are unlikely.

Why is heartworm prevention so important?

Once a pet has been bitten by an infected mosquito it takes up to six months for the heartworms to show up on tests. By then damage has been done and treatment regimens are costly, complicated and aren’t always effective. Your best bet is to prevent this disease rather than attempt to treat it.

We stock many heartworm preventative treatments for dogs and cats.  Choose from monthly oral medications or topical treatments — both types are effective, convenient, and affordable. Talk to your veterinarian about which treatment is best for your pet and your area.

Want to learn more about heartworm and how to prevent it? Listen to Dr Rubin’s short podcast presented by the American Heartworm Society.

Here’s to a happy, healthy spring for your pet!


Get Your Pets Ready for Summer!

3 Steps to a Healthy Pet this Summer

I’ve got good news and bad news. First, the good: summer is almost here. Now the bad: it’s time to do battle with nasty pests and seasonal allergies on behalf of our pets.  Fortunately, we have everything you need to keep your cat and dog happy, healthy, and safe this summer.

Take these three steps now to get Fido or Fluffy ready for the summer:

Step 1: Protect from heartworms. Mosquitoes hatch in warm weather. They’re the most dangerous parasite for pets because they carry heartworm, which can be deadly. If your dog or cat isn’t on a year-round heartworm medication regimen, now is time to start. Many heartworm treatments also protect your pet from dangerous intestinal worms including whipworm, roundworm, and hookworm. Talk to your veterinarian about which medication is right for your pet then shop with us — we stock a wide range of heartworm medications.

Step 2: Fight fleas and ticks. The two most irritating pests—fleas and ticks – flourish in the summer. Flea bites not only make your pet miserable, they can transmit tapeworms.  And if your pet has a flea infestation, your home may be infested too and that is a huge nuisance.

Ticks may be a little less irritating than fleas (no less gross, though), but they’re more dangerous because they can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichosis.

Prevention is your best defense when it comes to fleas and ticks. Look for broad- spectrum treatments that prevent fleas and ticks from getting on your pet, and kill all stages of existing fleas and ticks – both adults and immature forms. There are several new preventatives that combine medications with new, more convenient dosing processes. Be sure to get your vet’s recommendation first. Click here to see VetRxDirect’s flea and tick newsletter.

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Step 3: Treat allergies. It’s allergy season for humans and pets alike. Pets can develop allergic reactions to flea bites, grasses, pollen, mold, and even foods. How do you know if your pet has allergies? Look for symptoms including skin irritation, scratching, wheezing, and ear infections. We have a many oral and topical allergy treatments for dogs and cats. Talk to your vet about what treatment is best for your pet’s condition.

Here’s to a fun, healthy summer for you and your pet!


Should I give Heartworm Prevention to my Pet Year Around?


Protect Your Pet – Heartworm InfoGraphic Presented by the American Heartworm Society

One of the most serious diseases your pet can contract, heartworms are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. If left untreated, the larvae will grow into mature worms that settle in the heart and the lungs. An affected dog or cat will tire easily, cough incessantly, and may succumb to the disease after a long and painful period of time. Because there is only one approved treatment for heatworms in dog and zero in cats, prevention is key.

Heartworm Tests for Dogs and Cats

It is important to start your canine or feline friend on a monthly heartworm preventative. First, your veterinarian may need to test your pet for heartworms before safely prescribing a preventative. Dogs should be tested every 12 months and pets should be on a preventative 12 months a year.

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Monthly Preventatives for Heartworm Diesase

Advantage Multi: Available in both feline and canine versions, Advantage Multi protects your pet from heartworm disease and other parasites, including fleas, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. A single dose once a month is all you need to kill these fearsome freeloaders before they mature. Always consult your veterinarian before administering any prescription medication. In most cases, Advantage Multi is completely safe for puppies and kittens over two months old. On rare occasion, an animal may have an underlying health condition that prevents early treatment.  The topical drug is safe, affordable, and easy to apply.

Heartgard Plus: Formulated for dogs, Heartgard Plus kills heartworms, hookworms, and roundworms. These tasty chewables are safe for dogs six weeks or older, although it is important to consult your veterinarian before administering any prescription medication. This goes double if your pet is pregnant or has any underlying medical condition, especially a chronic one.

Like other preventatives, these once-monthly chewables contain FDA-approved drugs to control heartworms and other parasites.

Iverhart Max: Because it is a common disease, there are a number of safe and effective chewables used to prevent heartworm disease in dogs. Iverhart Max tablets are flavored chewable tables sold in monthly doses. In addition to guarding them from heartworm disease, they can also be used to treat hookworm, tapeworm, and roundworm infestations. Although the label says it is safe for dogs eight week of age and older, it is always best to consult your veterinarian before you give your canine friend any drug or supplement. If he has an underlying medical issue, a new medication could cause complications.

Should My Pet be on a Heartworm Prevention Medicine?

It’s hard to imagine parasites actually living inside of your pet’s heart, but they can. Annually, thousands of pets across the country still die from this easily preventable disease.

How to Start your Pet on Heartworm Prevention:

Heartworm ModelThe most important part of heartworm prevention is getting a yearly test. Even though it is still cold over much of the country, now is the time to schedule your pet’s spring exam. Getting a heartworm test will help ascertain whether your pet is free of heartworms and is ready to begin or continue on a heartworm preventive regimen. A heartworm test and 12 months of preventative saves you a lot of money as compared to treating a pet with heartworm disease.

Don’t let your pets live another day at the risk of heartworm infection! Help keep them protected today. Ask your veterinarian which prescription preventative is best for your pet in your area.

More Information About Heartworms:

Visit the FDA’s online resource Keep The Worms Out Of Your Pet’s Heart! The Facts About Heartworm Disease to learn more about symptoms of heartworm disease, heartworm tests for dogs and cats, treatment of heartworm disease, and heartworm prevention for pets.

Where to Buy Heartworm Prevention Medicine for Dogs and Cats:

VetRxDirect offers the most common heartworm preventatives at great prices. Buy heartworm prevention medicine at VetRxDirect today and SAVE!