With the return of the nice weather and the end (finally) of winter, our thoughts turn to protecting our furry friends from parasites. The big three for Niagara would be heartworms, fleas, and ticks. There are many products on the market and it can be confusing trying to figure out what is right for you. Since everyone’s case is unique it is best to discuss this with staff or Dr. Toles. However I’ve put together below a brief breakdown of the products we are carrying, what they prevent, how they are applied/administered, and some other basic information. Hopefully this guide can answer some questions and at the very least guide everyone to have a little better understanding of what is available. If you have any questions about the products we carrying our about prevention for your pet, we are available to help.
Bravecto: Active Ingredient: Fluralaner Prevents: Ticks (American dog tick/rocky mountain tick, deer tick, brown dog tick), fleas (cat/dog flea)
Bravecto is a chewable (jerky treat) form of prevention for fleas and ticks, it contains a pork based flavouring. It is given orally (by mouth) and is absorbed into the bloodstream and body tissues (specifically the fluid between cells). Since the medication works in the blood stream it is necessary for the flea or tick to bite before they ingest the product and die. This product is safe for pregnant and lactating female dogs. You should give it with food to be easier on the stomach and this will also improve how well it gets absorbed. Bravecto is effective for 12 WEEKS (roughly 3 months) of protection from fleas and ticks with each dose. Only for Dogs
Nexgard: Active ingredient: Afoxolaner Prevents: Ticks (American dog tick/rocky mountain tick, deer tick, and lone star tick), fleas (cat/dog flea)
Nexgard is also chewable (jerky treat) form of prevention for fleas and ticks. The flavouring here is soy base and designed to taste like beef, the chew is given orally (by mouth) and should be given with food, BUT does not have to be. This product gets absorbed into the bloodstream and fluid between cells in the body (interstitial fluid). Just as with Bravecto (or any oral prevention) the flea or tick will need to bite to receive the product, but will die quickly after before producing any eggs or transmitting any diseases. Nexgard is effective for 30-31 days, or 1 month at a time. This product has not been tested on pregnant or lactating female dogs. As a bonus Merial (the manufacturer) has provided a discount if you are using Nexgard with Heartgard (see below) for your flea/tick and heartworm prevention this year. Only for dogs
Advantix: Active ingredients: Imidacloprid, permethrin, pyriproxyfen Prevents: Ticks (American dog/rocky mountain tick, deer tick, lone star tick, and brown dog tick), fleas (cat/dog flea)
Advantix has been on the market for several years and it has been very effective in treating and preventing ticks and fleas in our experience. Advantix is a topical (applied directly to the skin) medication and is an excellent choice for pets with food sensitivities or allergies. Advantix is absorbed through the skin and works in the oil on the dogs skin and fur. It is important that any dog that receives a dose of Advantix be separated from any CATS for 8-12 hours while the product initially absorbs/dries. The active ingredient to kill ticks is toxic to cats if they are exposed to it, but once absorbed the dog is perfectly safe to be around the cat. Advantix when applied properly, provides 30 days of protection against fleas and ticks. The product is effective even if you dog gets wet throughout the course of the month, but bathing with shampoo’s or daily swimming may reduce the efficacy, the recommendation in these cases is to apply every 3 weeks instead of every 4 weeks. ONLY FOR DOGS.
Advantage: Active Ingredient: Imidacloprid, Pyriproxyfen Prevents: Fleas (Cat/dog flea)
Advantage was the first topical flea treatment to come on the market back in the 90’s, it is a tried and tested product that is very effective as a form of flea control. Just like Advantix the product is applied directly to the skin and absorbed. Like all topical products it is a great choice for pets with food sensitivities, allergies, or if they are picky/difficult to give chews. Advantage is safe for both dogs and cats as a form of flea control. Advantage should be applied every 3 weeks instead of every 4 weeks if the animal is bathed with shampoo or spends large amounts of time in the water (i.e. swimming every day in a pool or lake), but otherwise Advantage is effective for 4 weeks (30 days to be exact). For dogs and cats.
Advantage Multi: Active Ingredients: Imidacloprid, Moxidectin Prevents: fleas, heartworm, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, ear mites, and 2 types of mange mites (demodex and sarcoptes)
Advantage Multi has also been on the market for several years, it is effective in treating fleas (and preventing them), and effective in preventing heartworm, whipworm, hookworm, and roundworm. Advantage Multi is not absorbed in the bloodstream, it is absorbed into the skin and works in the skin oils of the pet. The safety of Advantage Multi has not been tested in pregnant or lactating dogs. It is safe for any dog that is over the age of 7 weeks. Advantage Multi is a great option for flea and heartworm prevention for any dog who has issues with food allergies/sensitivities or is difficult to give oral medication. The topical application means that the product will need to dry for 8-12 hours before it is fully absorbed into the skin. After the initial 8-12 hours period if the dog gets wet with water it should not impact the efficacy of the product, if however the dog is being bathed with shampoo or spends significant time submerged in the water on a regular basis this may not be the product for your pet. Also Advantage Multi does not provide any protection against ticks, however it can be safely combined with other products (i.e. Advantix, Bravecto, Nexgard) safely. Also Advantage Multi (like Advantage) is safe for use in cats as a flea and heartworm prevention. For dogs and cats.
Revolution: Active Ingredient: Selamectin Prevents: Fleas, heartworm, roundworm, hookworms, ear mites, and American dog ticks*
(*=may require more frequent dosing than once monthly to be fully effective against American dog tick).
Revolution has been on the market for over a decade and was the first topical product available for both fleas and heartworm prevention. Like other topical products it takes approximately 8-12 hours to be absorbed and dry. Revolution works in the skin oils of the pet and also gets absorbed into the blood stream and interstitial fluids. Also like other topical products, it is advisable to apply doses more frequently (every 3 instead of ever 4 weeks) if your pet is being bathed with shampoo or spends large amounts of time submerged in water on a regular basis. It is important to note that although Revolution is labeled for prevention of the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), it may be necessary to apply the product every 2 weeks instead of every 4 weeks to be fully efficacious. A second caveat with Revolution is that it does not have a label claim for preventing the Deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) which is found in Niagara and is also the carrier and transmitter of Lyme disease. It is still a good choice for any dog or cat that has issues taking oral medications for flea or heartworm prevention, and will aid in the treatment of ear mites, roundworms, hookworms, or sacoptic mange. Revolution is SAFE for pregnant or lactating female dogs or cats, so this is an ideal product if your pet is gravid and in need of protection. Revolution in general is safe for any pet over the age of 6 weeks. For dogs and cats.
Trifexis: Active Ingredients: Milbemycin Oxime and Spinosad Prevents: Fleas, heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm.
Trifexis is a newer product that has been on the market for a little over 3 years now, it combines a tried and tested heartworm prevention, namely milbemycin oxime (previously found in Sentinel and Interceptor). Milbemycin oxime is also effective at preventing (and in some cases treating) roundworm, hookworm, and whipworms. To combat fleas Trifexis contains spinosad, a newer flea prevention compound that has been on the market for approximately 4 years (found in Comfortis, same manufacturer) and is quite effective at managing flea infestations. Trifexis is an oral medication (given with a full meal) that comes in the form of a chewable tablet that has a soy based beef flavouring. Trifexis is a great choice for any dog owner who’s pet receives regular grooming/bathing with shampoo, who like to spend a lot of time in the water, or who hate having topicals applied. Since Trifexis is absorbed via the gastrointestinal system it is found in the blood stream and interstitial fluid of the body. Since Trifexis is found in the bloodstream and interstitial fluid it does require that a flea bite the pet before receiving the spinosad that will kill it. However because the spinosad is fast acting the flea will still die before it can lay any eggs, preventing any infestation from occurring. Trifexis is safe and effective for any patient over the age of 8 weeks, the safety of Trifexis in pregnant and lactating females has not yet been confirmed, nor has it been confirmed in breeding males. For dogs only.
Comfortis: Active Ingredient: Spinosad Prevents: Fleas
Comfortis is an oral chewable tablet that is beef flavoured and produced by the same company that makes Trifexis. Both dogs and cats can take Comfortis for flea prevention and treatment. Comfortis last for 4 weeks at a time and is absorbed into the bloodstream and interstitial fluid of the pet. Just like any orally given preventative (with a full meal) the flea will need to bite to receive the product and die. Also like Trifexis and other oral prevention the flea will still die before it has a chance to produce an egg and will therefore control the flea infestation effectively. Comfortis is safe for pets aged 14 weeks and older (most likely safe in pets 8 weeks and older because Trifexis is, but no testing was done to confirm this), but has not been tested to see its efficacy and safety in pregnant or lactating female dogs or cats.
Heargard Active Ingredients: Ivermectin and Pyrantel Prevents: Heartworm, roundworm, and hookworms
Heartgard is the tried, tested, and true heartworm prevention that has been on the market longer than any other heartworm prevention we offer in the office. Heartgard is an orally given (does not have to be given with a full meal) chewable beef flavoured tab (similar to a beef jerky treat). Ivermectin and pyrantel are absorbed into the bloodstream and interstitial fluids where they work to kill microfilaria (baby heartworms) and also roundworms and hookworms in the intestinal tract. Heartgard is not a good choice if your pet has a food allergy/sensitivity, but is otherwise generally well tolerated. There are some breeds in which ivermectin can lower their seizure threshold, but this is not usually an issue at the concentration found in heartgard. Any dog over the age of 6 weeks can take heartgard and it is safe in pregnant and lactating female dogs. For dogs only.
This is just a brief overview of the products we have available, if you have any concerns or questions about them please call the office or ask when you bring your dog in for heartworm testing (and picking up prevention) for the summer.