Heartworm medication effectively treats adult heartworms and prevents the development of new worms in the pet’s body. Your puppy can suffer from heartworms if he gets bitten by an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes generally carry heartworm larvae and transmit them to pets through bites. Although most pets are required to undergo a heartworm blood test before they’re given any preventive medications, pets that are 6 to 8 weeks of age don’t have to do this test in order to take the medication.
Heartworms in Puppies
Once the larvae are deposited into the pet’s body they migrate and develop into adult worms. The heart is the organ that’s targeted as these parasites thrive on the lining of the heart. To prevent this from happening you should start administering heartworm preventive medications as soon as your pet becomes 6 to 8 weeks old.
There are several over the counter heartworm preventive medications that are available commercially. However, you should find out which medication is ideal for your pet as some puppies may be sensitive to certain active ingredients that are present in heartworm drugs. You could also consider administering preventive medications that prevent and control both worm and flea infections.
Heartworm Medications for Puppies
Heartworm meds for puppies include:
- Heartgard Plus Chewables
- Advantage Multi for dogs
- Iverhart Plus
Active Ingredients in Heartworm Meds
Some of the active ingredients that are present in these drugs include Milbemycin Oxime, Lufenuron, pyrantel pamoate and moxidectin. If your puppy develops an allergic reaction after you administer the medication you will have to stop using it and use another heartworm preventive medication, under the vet’s guidance.
Precautions When Giving a Puppy Heartworm Medication
Although these medications are effective they need to be used with caution. If you’re administering the drug for the first time, make sure you read and follow all instructions that are listed on the package you buy. If you’re still unsure about the dosage, contact your vet but avoid overdosing the puppy. Some pets may experience certain side effects like nausea or diarrhea. If these symptoms persist, you must conduct a vet check as soon as possible.
Some of the active ingredients present in commercial heartworm medicines are known to interact with other drugs. You should therefore avoid giving your puppy any over the counter medications without obtaining vet approval.
Tips for Pet Owners
If you live in an area where the mosquito population is high, you must start giving your puppy the heartworm medication as soon as possible. Interceptor is one such medication that can be given to puppies that are 4 weeks old, provided that they weigh over 2 pounds. If the puppy is suffering from any other ailment you should avoid giving him heartworm medications until you confirm with the vet that it’s safe to do so.
Most medications have to be given once a month. If you forget to give the dose on time, read the manufacturer’s instructions to find out if you need to skip the dose.
You should monitor your puppy after you give him his first heartworm preventive dose. If you notice anything unusual seek immediate medical care as puppies are very sensitive to medications because they aren’t fully developed.