One of the most important things you can do for your puppy throughout their life is to keep them on regular preventative medications that will protect them against common parasites. Below you’ll find an overview of intestinal parasites, heartworm disease and flea & tick dangers and our product recommendations that will help keep your pet safe.
Intestinal parasites are organisms that live in your pets’ abdomen and can cause various types of illness. Many parasites are found in the grass, dirt and sand and can be easily transmitted to other pets and even to humans. It is also common for puppies to be born with parasites if their mother was exposed.
Signs that your puppy or kitten may have intestinal parasites are loose stool, diarrhea, coughing, scooting or biting their rear, change in appetite, weight loss and even poor hair coat. If you see worms in the stool, let your veterinarian know immediately. Checking for intestinal parasites involves getting a fecal sample (bringing one in is very helpful!) and having your veterinary team looking at the sample under the microscope for parasitic eggs.
Treating parasites depends on the type of parasite that your pet has. Your veterinarian may prescribe a pill, powder or liquid to easily administer to your pet at home. It is not recommended to get a de-wormer over the counter without knowing which parasites your pet may be carrying. It is most effective to get your medication from your veterinarian, especially if your pet needs multiple treatments. Following treatment, your team will want to check another stool sample to ensure that there are no parasites seen.
Charleston is home to wetlands and humidity, which means mosquitoes love it here and they can transmit heartworms!
So what are heartworms? Heartworms are worms that live in the blood vessels near the heart. When a mosquito bites a heartworm positive animal, and then bites your pet, it can transmit heartworms. Heartworm larvae swim through the blood stream to the heart where they develop into adult worms and reproduce. Heartworm disease can cause damage to the heart, lungs and arteries and can be fatal. While we do have successful treatments for heartworm disease, preventing heartworm disease is much easier (and cost-effective) than the treatment.
Fortunately, prevention is both fairly easy and extremely effective with regular administration of either an oral chewable or an injection preformed here at the CHV. Oral heartworm prevention must be given every 30 days for your pet’s entire life to ensure that they are protected. Injectable heartworm prevention is needed only once per year however your puppy won’t be able to have the injectable version until one year of age. Most heartworm prevention products also treat intestinal parasites that your pet can pick up from the environment making this one of the most important things you can do for your puppy’s long term health. Speak with your doctor about the types of heartworm preventatives we recommend and carry and the benefits of each. While heartworm preventatives are available to purchase at some online and physical retailers, it is a prescription product and will require your doctor at CHV to authorize. Please keep in mind, that we sell all the products we recommend both in our in-house pharmacy and on our online pharmacy if you prefer direct shipments. In most cases we are the same price as the national retailers and we appreciate you buying locally from us! To get you on your way, we will provide your puppy’s first month of heartworm prevention free of charge when the time is right to start!
Fleas & Ticks
South Carolina is also host to many, many fleas! Our seasons are all relatively warm which means fleas are present year round. Your home and pets can easily become infested if fleas are not prevented. We also see a rising number of tick borne diseases in our pets here. There are multiple types and brands of flea prevention available and we will make a recommendation for one that also offers tick prevention. Alongside your heartworm prevention, a consistent regimen of flea & tick prevention will be important for the life your puppy. Options for this prevention will include varieties that are given either every 30 days or every 3 months. Ask your CHV veterinary team to help determine what will be right for you! Again, each product we recommend will be available to you both in our online pharmacy and in-house pharmacy and normally at the same price as the national retailers.
There are many products marketed for the prevention of various parasites. Our best standard of care at CHV is a combination of Nexgard for Flea & Tick control and Sentinel Spectrum for Heartworm and Intestinal Parasite control. We will start your puppy off with a free dose of these medications to get them started on the path to protection.
As your pet gets older you will find additional options for your consideration. Efficacy, convenience and cost may all play a role in what the right product is for you over the long term.
Fortunately we’ve done the research for you and there are certain products and combinations of those products that we are confident in recommending and know them to be safe and effective for pets in the Charleston area. There are 3 combinations of products that we largely recommend for dogs. Please note that Proheart is not able to be given to dogs until they turn one year of age however the other products listed are all available to puppies. We carry each of these products both here at the clinic and within our online pharmacy.
For these important preventatives, we match our prices to the regular prices listed at the large national online retailers. Additionally we can offer manufacturer rebates with our in-house pharmacy that can drive the cost even lower. For our online pharmacy there are auto-ship discounts of 5% not to mention promo codes and coupons to look out for along with always free shipping direct to your home!
We hope you will utilize our CHV pharmacies and support our local business when making your preventative purchases while feeling confident you are getting the best products and pricing available. Our clinic makes a small margin on products purchased through our own pharmacies while the national chains require us to submit Rx approvals but do not compensate for our work. We thank you in advance for your support!
* Proheart is NOT able to be administered to dogs under 1 year of age