Did you know that all flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives are not created equally? Your choice could go a long way in how well your pet is prevented from parasitic infestations. Patton Chapel Animal Clinic carries a collection of the best flea and heartworm preventative treatments to cater to different pet lifestyles and family budgets. In an interview with Chase Whitworth, DVM, we discover his method for arriving at the correct parasite prevention or treatment for each dog and cat that he treats.

How do you choose the best flea and heartworm prevention for pets at Patton Chapel Animal Clinic?

I usually try to ask a few questions to determine the pet and owners’ lifestyle. If the family is very active, likes to take long hikes in the woods or spends a lot of time outdoors, they will need better coverage, which may cost a little more. On the other hand, if the family pet doesn’t spend a lot of time outdoors and is mostly in the home, the pet owner could get away with less prevention at a cheaper price. Some of my common questions include:

  • Is your pet outside often? Does he leave your property? Do you take your pet to remote areas for exercise or play: hunting, hiking in the woods, etc?
  • Does your pet have a lot of contact with other pets, like at a dog park, or do you have multiple pets in the home?
  • Can you easily remember to regularly give your pet the flea and heartworm preventative, or would you prefer the most convenient product?
  • Do you have a preference between oral or topical preventatives?
  • Do you have a particular budget in mind?

What types of products are available at Patton Chapel Animal Clinic?

We carry a variety of different flea, tick and heartworm preventatives.

The first category of prevention is our oral products, which include Trifexis for dogs, which prevents heartworm, intestinal parasites, and fleas. It’s a good, fast-acting product. There’s also Sentinel for dogs, which protects against heartworms and intestinal parasites using the same drug as Trifexis, but includes a flea sterilizer. Sentinel also prevents whipworms. Heartgard is another product for dogs that prevents against heartworms and intestinal parasites, but doesn’t include whipworms.

Bravecto is a new fast-acting flea and tick preventative for dogs that we are now carrying at Patton Chapel. It is a meat chewable, so it may be easier to administer for pet owners. It also lasts for 3 months and has tick prevention. We now recommend it instead of a product we used to carry called Comfortis, which was more expensive, had to be administered monthly, and did not include tick prevention. Finally, there’s Capstar for dogs or cats, which is different in that it is not a preventative. This product starts to work within 30 minutes and only lasts up to one day. It is good in the case of an active infestation. It is safe to give Capstar daily if necessary.

The second category of prevention is our topical preventatives. There are two types, one for cats and one for dogs. The first is Revolution for cats, which protects against fleas, intestinal parasites, ear mites, and heartworms. It’s a pretty all-encompassing product. There’s also Vectra for dogs, which repels and kills fleas, ticks, mosquitos and lice on dogs. Because it repels these insects, your dog doesn’t get bitten, which further reduces your pet’s risk of disease.

The third category of prevention is an injectable medication called Proheart for dogs. It protects against heartworms and intestinal parasites, however there is no whipworm protection with this product. A lot of people like Proheart because it’s so easy— it lasts for six months and we send a reminder card to remind pet owners to schedule their appointments. Pet owners can combine this with their pet’s biannual wellness exam.

The last category of prevention is our flea and tick collars. These are recommended for families whose dogs spend lots of time outdoors (hiking, camping, hunting) and need extra protection. We carry Scalibor, which repels and kills fleas and ticks for 6 months.

How can pet owners make the right decision regarding their flea, tick, and heartworm preventative?

The best thing to do is to see your veterinarian to help you decide, based on your lifestyle and budget, which preventative medication is best for your family. There are a lot of products on the market, and in recent years it’s easy to just pick up a flea preventative online or at the local pet store. Your vet is going to have the best knowledge of what parasites your pet will be exposed to in your area, as well as how to combine products if necessary to get the coverage that you need. We just want to make sure that people are spending their money on the product that is going to provide the right amount of coverage for their dog or cat, and in some cases we may even save them a little money.