Flea, Tick, Heartworm and Parasite Prevention Products: Making the Best Choice for Your Pet

Veterinarians understand your concerns both about your pet’s health and saving money. Before buying the over-the-counter product, such as a generic flea and tick control product, consult with your veterinarian to make sure it is the best fit for you, your pet and your wallet.

Fleas, ticks and heartworms, as well as intestinal parasites are medical problems that should be treated based on educated medical recommendations. Decisions made at a point of purchase display and motivated by familiar packaging or based on price alone are not always in the best interest of your pet. The wrong product can even cause severe reactions in your pet. For instance, medications specifically designed for cats or dogs are not interchangeable. For instance, canine flea medications can be fatal if given to cats, and vice versa.

There are several advantages to purchasing one of these products through your veterinarian:

  1. Your veterinarian is convenient. You can get all products (fleas, heartworms, intestinal parasites) needed in one location.
  2. Your veterinarian may be economical as well. He or she knows your pet and your pet’s risk factors. It is possible that a single product might work for protecting your pet from all parasites it is at risk for. You won’t make a wrong, wasted or even dangerous decision when your veterinarian recommends and sells you the exactly correct product for your unique pet.
  3. Your veterinary team understands that your pet is unique and may not tolerate certain products as well as others. This medical advice has real value as the wrong product used improperly can be fatal to your pet.
  4. Your veterinarian can also review any potential interactions between different products and between these parasiticides and other medications your pet is taking. Even products with active ingredients that are exactly the same can have different effects on the same pet. This is because “inert” proprietary ingredients and carrier ingredients can differ from company to company. In addition, not all products will have ingredients that work on ticks, flea eggs or larvae, heartworms or even internal parasites.
  5. The doctor or staff will also demonstrate how to properly use the product and that takes the guesswork out of proper application.
  6. By purchasing parasite prevention products through your veterinarian, you don’t need to worry about remembering which product was used on your pet the last time.  It’s all right there in your pet's medical record.

Veterinarians know that parasites continually evolve and occasionally some products won’t work as well as others. Resistant flea strains mixing with vulnerable strains could give the impression that a specific product is not working. Veterinarians stay up to date on resistance issues as well as other important information about parasites. You can’t get that type of advice from a brochure or a display rack.  This will help keep you ahead of the curve and keep your pet safe.

There are many new flea products that are available over-the-counter and choosing one can be confusing. You will not find knowledgeable advice at a retailer or at a grocery store. Your veterinarian and educated staff can help you make the decision about which product is best for you and your pet.

Published: May 16, 2011;    Updated:

Filed Under: Prescriptions, Companion Animals, Cats, Dogs

Source: Veterinary News Network

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