Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Prevention Guide

By July 11, 2017 July 12th, 2017 Uncategorized

Bug off

Summer is in full force! And so are all the pesky bugs. Fleas, ticks, and other insects aren’t just nuisances for both pets and owners alike, they can also spread mild to fatal diseases. 


What are your options?

There are many different products on the market to prevent animal’s biggest problems: fleas and ticks. But which one is right for your pet?

Topical Prevention
Liquid drops that go on the back of your pets neck is one of the most common and affordable options to help prevent fleas and ticks. Topicals contain ingredients that use the natural oils on your pet’s skin and coat to spread the active ingredients, working through the hair follicles to spread it across the entire body. Most topical medications are non-prescription and applied monthly. Most topical medications do no repel fleas or ticks, but will kill the flea life cycle and kill a tick before it has time to transmit disease to your pet.

Oral Prevention
A pill or chew that must be ingested to travel through the pet’s blood stream. The fleas and ticks have to bite the animal to be killed off. Most oral medications are considered a prescription and last 1 – 3 months. Most oral preventions do not repel fleas or ticks, but will kill the flea life cycle and kill a tick before it has time to transmit disease to your pet.

A collar that is worn around your pet’s neck to repel and kill fleas and ticks. Most collars last 6 months or more. Most collars are considered non-prescription.

Product that is sprayed directly on the pet’s fur to kill fleas. Can be time-consuming and not very effective, so best used as a last resort for pets too young for other products, pregnant animals, or in conjunction with a more effective, long-term product.

Shampoo that is specially medicated with permethrin, or pyrethrin (though ingredients vary by brand) to quickly kill fleas and/or ticks. Shampoos are not our go-to recommendation as it must be allowed to soak into the pet’s fur for at least 15 minutes and does not prevent re-infestation from parasites in the environment, and often as to be re-applied frequently.


Available at Animal Health Center

We carry a few different types of products in the office, including topical, oral, and collars.

We have a large selection on our online pharmacy, which can be found here and shipped right to your front door.



With Bravecto Chew, dogs get 12 weeks of flea and tick protection with a single treatment. That’s nearly 3x longer than monthly treatments. This makes it easy for you to provide long-lasting coverage to your dog, without having to worry about remembering frequent treatments. With just one chew, your dog is all taken care of, so you can enjoy all of the activities you love to do together, without any worry for your dog.



Soft chew for dogs and puppies 8 weeks of age or older, weighing 4 pounds or more. Contains afoxolaner that kills both fleas and ticks quickly and keeps killing for a whole month.


For convenient, quick-acting, long-lasting, effective control of fleasticksmosquitoes and lice. EFFITIX® Topical Solution for Dogs contains the active ingredients fipronil and permethrin, which control infestations caused by fleas, ticks and lice; repel against biting flies, and repel and kill mosquitoes.  Convenient to use, easy-to-apply topical solution that is quick-acting, long-lasting and starts working on contact.


Scalibor Collar

An odorless, one size fits all collar with the active ingredient deltamethrin that provides long-lasting protection against ticks (up to six months) by killing all blood-feeding stages of ticks that may transmit serious diseases. It’s water resistant, so it can be worn when swimming.


The 3 products listed above: Bravecto, Effitix, and Scalibor are available in the office. There are more options available on our online pharmacy.


Feline Products

Bravecto Topical

Knock out flea infestations in your home with just one dose. Kills 100% of fleas in 8 hours – and keeps killing them for a full 12 weeks. Bravecto is also proven to kill greater than 94% of black-legged ticks on cats after 48 hours of treatment for 12 weeks. And, kills greater than 98% of American dog ticks after 48 hours of treatment for 8 weeks.


A topical flea control that starts killing fleas in 30 minutes, and kills 98–100% of fleas within 12 hours, and lasts a full month. Fast, effective, long-lasting protection for the cat you love.


 Now that we’ve covered fleas and ticks, let’s talk about preventing heartworm disease!



Heartworm is a disease spread from dog to dog through a mosquito bite, causing up to foot-long worms that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets. Heartworm disease can led to severe lung disease, heart failure and can damage other organs in the body.

Heartworm disease is detected with a simple blood test.  Beginning at 1 year of age, we will begin testing your dog by taking a blood sample and performing a fast, in-house test, then annually. It takes at least 6-7 months for heartworm disease to show up on a test. We may recommend a test for dogs that are transported from high risk states 6 months after arriving in New England.

No one wants to hear that their dog has heartworm, but the good news is that most infected dogs can be successfully treated. The goal is to first stabilize your dog if he is showing signs of disease, then kill all adult and immature worms while keeping the side effects of treatment to a minimum.

Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. This is called caval syndrome, and is marked by a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or coffee-colored urine. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few dogs survive.

Monthly, year-round heartworm prevention is the only way to prevent this disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling on heartworm preventives states that the medication is to be used by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. This means heartworm preventives must be purchased from your veterinarian after an annual physical wellness exam, and yearly heartworm testing.

Hearworm prevention also contains an ingredient to help prevent 2 more common intestinal parasites (roundworms and hookworms).

What flea and tick prevention your pet should be on depends on several factors: what kind of pet you have, the pet’s lifestyle, and your family. The knowledge of your primary veterinarian and their knowledge of your pet’s activities and your family allow them to recommend what product would best protect your pet and suit your family.

What are you actually buying? All of the products we carry are sold exclusively to veterinarians only. You can rest assured what you’re receiving from us genuine, purchased straight from the manufacturer and stored correctly, therefore holding maximum efficacy.

Purchasing flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives through your veterinarian is the only way to take advantage of savings and coupons. The manufacturer will not honor rebates if purchased through online pharmacies.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we gaurantee our products. If your pet doesn’t like it, it’s not working, or you simply don’t like it – return it or exchange it. Also, the manufacturer may be willing to help cover any treatments associated with the efficacy of these products, if purchased from your veterinarian.

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