Types of Heartworm Prevention

There are lots of different heartworm prevention medicines available. Heartworm prevention comes in a monthly pill, a monthly topical, and a twice-yearly injection. Most heartworm prevention medicines will also protect your dog from some internal parasites. But some will also protect your dog from whipworms, tapeworms, or fleas. It can be difficult to know which one is best for your dog without your veterinarian’s advice!

There are many different types of heartworm prevention available. Your veterinarian can help you decide which is the best option for your dog.

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Oral Heartworm Prevention

oral heartworm prevention medicines need to be given every month

Almost everyone is familiar with oral heartworm prevention medicines. These are the “traditional” heartworm preventions. They are a pill or a chewable tablet that you give to your dog once a month. Each package comes with a set of stickers for your calendar so you remember when to give the next dose. These medicines will all protect your dog from some internal parasites (worms). Some will protect against whipworms, and one will protect against tapeworms.

Topical Heartworm Prevention

topical heartworm preventions are applied to your dog's skin every month

Most people are familiar with topical medicines from their pet’s flea prevention. There are two heartworm medicines that are also available in a topical form. They get applied to your dog the same way the flea prevention medicines do. These two particular heartworm prevention medicines also protect against fleas.

Injectable Heartworm Prevention

ProHeart 6 is an injectable heartworm prevention that is given by your veterinarian every 6 months

ProHeart 6 is the only injectable heartworm prevention medicine that is available. Your veterinarian can give this shot to your dog every six months to protect him from heartworms. The nice thing about ProHeart 6 is that you do not need to remember to give a pill or put on a topical every months. In fact, we’ll even send you a reminder when your dog is due for his next dose! ProHeart 6 cannot be given to puppies under 6 months old, and it is not the best solution for every dog. Ask us (or your regular veterinarian) if ProHeart 6 might be the right choice for your dog.

Heartworm and Whipworm Prevention

some medicines will protect against heartworms and whipworms

Some heartworm prevention medicines will also protect your dog from whipworms. Whipworms are an internal parasite (worm). The traditional medicine that is used to prevent heartworms (ivermectin) will not kill whipworms, so not every heartworm prevention medicine is effective against whipworms. If your dog has had whipworms in the past, or is at high risk for getting whipworms, one of these options might be a good choice for your dog.

Heartworm and Flea Prevention

some medicines will protect against heartworms and fleas

Fleas can be a challenge to deal with on your pet, and even harder to get out of your house. Some heartworm prevention medicines will also protect your dog against fleas, so you don’t need to give two separate medications.

It can be difficult to make a decision about which heartworm prevention medicine is right for your dog. Every dog should be on heartworm prevention, so don’t let all the options overwhelm you! Call us or come in to talk with our veterinary technicians or our veterinarians about the different options. We can recommend which heartworm prevention will be the best option for your dog and your family.

Check out our Heartworm Disease Resource Page for even more information about heartworms.