Help educate pet owners on how to prevent, treat, and control 3 of the most common parasitic worms that pose a threat to their dogs.1,2
Common Parasitic Worms
As you know, heartworms are among the most dangerous parasitic worms that can infect dogs. Each year over 1 million dogs are diagnosed with heartworm disease.1 Take the opportunity to remind pet owners how this disease can be passed from just one bite of an infected mosquito to their dog and how all dogs are at risk for heartworm disease.
Learn More About Heartworms
All dogs are potential targets for heartworm disease. Did you know canine heartworm disease has been detected in all 50 states?3
CLINICAL SIGNS OF HEARTWORM DISEASE
An infected dog may cough or wheeze occasionally, and may seem unusually tired and unwilling to play, but these early signs of heartworm disease can easily be missed by pet owners and may be mistaken for something else. Recommend a heartworm test.
TREATMENT OF HEARTWORM DISEASE
Treatment for heartworm disease is difficult, expensive, lengthy, and may be traumatic to the dog and owner. Dogs receive a series of arsenic-based shots to kill the worms and must spend up to 6-8 weeks in an environment that will not tax the dog's heart and lungs any further. This may call for crating the animal to limit activity and prevent overexertion.
PREVENTION OF HEARTWORM DISEASE
For your patient’s continuous protection against heartworm disease, it's important to recommend a monthly preventive like HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel). A single lapse in compliance could give mosquito-borne heartworm larvae the small window of exposure they need to infect a dog.
Let pet owners know, without proper prevention, hookworms can live in their dog's small intestine. Share how hookworms graze on the lining of the intestine, feeding on blood, and leaving multiple bloody holes in their wake that can lead to anemia and may even cause a small puppy to bleed to death. They should also know they can be infected as well. In humans, hookworms migrate through tissue close to the skin, causing painful, itchy rashes.
Learn More About Hookworms
TRANSMISSION OF HOOKWORMS
Hookworms can work their way into unsuspecting dogs and people through a number of parasitic means. Their larvae can be accidentally ingested by a dog in contaminated environments such as backyards and dog parks. They can penetrate the skin of a dog that unknowingly steps through the dewy grass where hookworms hide. Puppies can become infected from their mothers while nursing.
CLINICAL SIGNS OF HOOKWORMS
How can you tell if a dog is infected with hookworms? Here are some signs pet owners should look for in their dog: weakness, weight loss, diarrhea, and pale gums.
MANAGING HOOKWORM INFECTIONS
If a hookworm infection is confirmed, deworming medication has to be administered to kill the hookworms. Several rounds of treatment may be needed. Environmental cleanup can also help get hookworms under control.
Roundworms resemble earthworms, but are a whole lot more dangerous, especially when they get inside a dog, or a person. Discuss how roundworms are a patient, persistent parasite that can lay up to 100,000 eggs in a single day.4 Once an infective egg is accidentally ingested by a dog, the roundworm hatches and makes its way through the body to an ideal feeding ground, the intestine.
Learn More About Roundworms
CLINICAL SIGNS OF ROUNDWORMS
Adult roundworms live in the intestines of infected animals, depriving them of nutrients. A heavy infestation of roundworms can block the intestinal tract. Signs of roundworm infection in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, poor hair coat, and a pot-bellied appearance. Roundworms may also be visible in the pet’s feces.
TREATMENT OF ROUNDWORMS
Deworming a pet will get rid of susceptible stages of roundworms. The deworming medicine essentially paralyzes the worms so that they lose their grip and pass through the body. Adult worms can grow up to 7 inches, so deworming may not be pretty, but it is effective. It can take multiple rounds of deworming to control the different life stages of roundworms.
MANAGING ROUNDWORM INFECTIONS
A monthly preventive medication like HEARTGARD Plus chews will treat and control several types of intestinal parasites, including 2 species of roundworms, in dogs as young as 6 weeks of age with no minimum weight requirement. Recommending 12 doses of HEARTGARD Plus chews to your clients is an important way to help ensure easy, year-round prevention of these and other parasites in your patients.
HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel)
HEARTGARD Plus is the only real-beef chew that’s also #1 dog-preferred*5 to help make compliance enjoyable for both dogs and owners. Not only do HEARTGARD Plus chews help prevent heartworm disease, they also treat and control 3 species of hookworms and 2 species of roundworms.
Ready to Start the Conversation?
The following can help you have better conversations with your pet owner clients about heartworm disease. These are responses to some of the most common questions when it comes to protecting dogs against dangerous nematode parasites.
Q: What is heartworm disease?
A: This disease affects dogs and occurs when an infected mosquito bites a dog. The mosquito passes infective larvae of the heartworm that then mature into adult male and female worms living inside a dog’s major blood vessels in the lungs and the heart. It takes approximately 6-7 months for the worms to mature. The adult worms cause damage to the blood vessels that can lead to severe lung disease and heart failure.
Q: When should I start my new puppy on heartworm preventive?
A: It’s important that you schedule a visit with us so that we can perform a wellness exam and explain what preventive care your puppy needs. A puppy is not born with or given protection against heartworm disease by his mother. Your puppy is at risk for becoming infected with heartworms from the first day of life. All it takes is one bite from an infected mosquito to infect your puppy. Heartworm prevention should be started as early as 6 weeks of age. Let’s talk about which prevention is right for your puppy.
Q: My dog lives indoors. Why does he need heartworm preventive?
A: Since it takes only one bite from an infected mosquito, your dog is at risk for infection any time mosquitoes are around. Even a short visit out to “use the yard” by your dog is enough time for a mosquito to bite. Mosquitoes can be brought into the home when you open/close doors and windows, and some types of mosquitoes prefer to live indoors as well. The risk is real regardless of where your dog spends his time. This is why it is important that all dogs be on a heartworm preventive.
Q: Heartworm preventive seems pretty expensive. Do I really need to give it year-round?
A: All it takes is one bite by an infected mosquito to infect your dog with heartworms. Prevention is better, and less expensive, than treatment for heartworm disease. Remember, many heartworm preventive products also treat and/or control certain intestinal worms in your dog.
Q: Is it really that important that I give my dog heartworm preventive the same time each month?
A: Absolutely! All monthly heartworm preventive products work by affecting the larval stages that have been picked up from a mosquito bite in the last 30 days. The juvenile and adult life stages of the heartworm are not affected by preventive products. Therefore, it's important to dose your dog every 30 days with his heartworm preventive. If you miss a monthly dose, the heartworm larvae are given the opportunity to reach a mature state that cannot be affected by the preventive. Giving your dog his heartworm preventive on the same date each month will affect the larval stages he acquired since his last heartworm preventive dose.
Q: If I give a heartworm preventive, why do I need to test my dog every year?
A: No heartworm preventive is 100% effective in preventing heartworm disease. Adult heartworms in the lungs and heart cause damage to major blood vessels, which can lead to severe lung disease and heart failure. The earlier this disease is detected, the earlier we can start treatment. We can test your dog each year as part of his preventive wellness checkup.
Q: My dog hasn’t been on heartworm preventives before, why now?
A: Heartworm disease is a potentially deadly disease. It is becoming a bigger issue as the disease incidence is growing geographically due to dogs moving around the country. Your dog can become infected with heartworms if bitten by an infected mosquito.
Q: Why do I need to give heartworm preventive when there is a treatment for heartworm disease?
A: Prevention is better and safer than treatment. Irreversible damage occurs as soon as immature heartworms enter a dog's heart and lungs. Treatment requires expert care from us and can be expensive. Complications can occur during treatment, some of which can be severe.
From heartworm disease prevention, intestinal parasite treatment and control, to flea and tick protection, our products continue to be category leading.
*For dogs demonstrating a preference, they preferred HEARTGARD Plus chews over the competition.
- Heartworm prevalent in South, expanding in other hot spots. American Veterinary Medical Association. 2020. Accessed August 1, 2022. https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2020-08-01/heartworm-prevalent-south-expanding-other-hot-spots
- Internal Parasites in Cats and Dogs. American Veterinary Medical Association. 2010.Accessed September 15, 2022. https://ebusiness.avma.org/files/productdownloads/internalparasites_brochure.pdf
- Current Canine Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis, and Management of Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) Infection in Dogs. American Heartworm Society. 2020. Accessed on August 1, 2022. https://www.heartwormsociety.org/veterinary-resources/american-heartworm-society-guidelines
- Colville JL, Berryhill DL, eds. Roundworms. In: Handbook of Zoonoses. Mosby; 2007: 155-162. Accessed August 3, 2022. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780323044783500415
- Data on file at Boehringer Ingelheim.
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