One of the most important things owners can do for their pets is giving or applying preventative medications. These “preventatives” help protect our pets from all sorts of yuckky things. Below is some information on preventatives.
Preventatives cover parasites inside and outside of the body. Flea and tick preventatives like Nexgard also help prevent tapeworms (which are carried by fleas), and Interceptor also has a basic dewormer included to take care of hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. We see all 4 types of intestinal parasites here in Frederick! Worst of all, some of these are zoonotic parasites, which means they can be shared with people too.
- Cats need preventatives, too! Feline friends who go outdoors, or who live with dogs with known flea problems, can really benefit from preventatives. Frontline will address the fleas and ticks, but Revolution (another topical medication) also prevents heartworms and certain mites.
- Preventatives need to be given monthly in order to do their job. This means once every 30 days! There is no “carryover,” which means once every 2 months isn’t protecting the pet for the second month. Most manufacturers of preventatives will guarantee their products, but ONLY if they are given monthly!
- Flea and tick prevention is just as important over the winter as it is during the summer. Ticks in Maryland do not die off in the cold, and in fact are searching harder for a warm furry body to live on. If the winter stays temperate, the fleas don’t die off either, and here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital we have indeed seen pets with fleas over the winter!
- Preventatives cost much less than treatment for parasites. Fourteen years’ worth of heartworm preventatives still cost less than one round of heartworm treatment, and usually dogs need 3 treatments. Unfortunately, heartworm disease in cats is fatal since they can’t tolerate the medication used in dogs. Fleas can take up to 6 months to be completely eradicated from the environment, which means washing all fabrics in the house several times and treating all pets (even indoor-only cats) who live there.