Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Heartworm Pills for Vegan Dogs

We recently had a conversation about this on the Post Punk Kitchen forums, and it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to post the info on my blog to help others. If you live in an area where heartworm infection is a risk, your vet has probably recommended monthly "heartworm pills". Heartworms are spread through mosquito bites, and an untreated infection is fatal, so preventative medication is usually prescribed in areas where mosquitoes are a concern. Many of these pills today are in meaty treat form, to entice dogs to eat them. For many years, however, heartworm pills were just non-flavored pills, not "treats", and today they are still available in pill form. You can ask your vet to order them in special for you, and some vets may have them in stock already, for dogs with meat allergies. Make sure you specify that you are looking for tablets, and not gelatin capsules. Ivermectin, which is the main ingredient in Heartgard brand products, is also available in many forms, such as liquid and paste, due to its popularity as a deworming medicine for livestock. There is even a topical product that you apply to your dog's skin that combats heartworms along with fleas, however I have heard reports of some dogs suffering skin irritation from this. You vet should be willing to discuss the pros and cons of each medication to find an acceptable solution for your dog.

With the warmer weather arriving in many areas, mosquitoes aren't the only concern, so remember to check your pets for fleas and ticks after your walks!