Heartworm disease is very dangerous infection that can lead your dog to death. Licensed veterinarians frequently prescribe heartworm preventative medication in order to protect dogs from this ailment. Heartgard for dogs is the most widely prescribed since it contains active ingredient, Ivermectin, which is very effective against microfilariae or the larval heartworm. Another main benefit of Heartgard for dogs is that it should only be administered on a monthly basis yet the medication is still very efficacious. Nevertheless, like any other medicines, it may cause some side effects though it has been designed to be very safe for various types of dogs. This article will try to give you necessary information on Heartgard for dogs side effects and how to deal with them.
Heartgard for Dogs Side Effects
Ideally, Heartgard for dogs side effects due to administering Heartgard are very seldom to happen. This is due to the fact that the dosage that should be given to dogs are very low. However, there are also some reports of dogs having very bad reactions after consuming Heartgard. The main reason behind this is usually the dogs overdose the medication. The dog owners do not give Heartgard for dogs as exactly as directed by the licensed veterinarian. Therefore, it is very crucial for dog owners to follow every instruction provided by the veterinarian.
Despite the fact that a licensed veterinarian will provide the dosage information for administering the Heartgard medication, understanding the appropriate dosage can be very helpful. The normal dosage for a dog weighing at 51-100 lbs is 272mcg/227mg. The normal dosage for a dog weighing at 26-50 lbs is 136mcg/114mg whereas the right dosage for a dog weighing up to 25 lbs is 68mcg/57mg.
Giving Heartgard to a dog more than the recommended dosage will increase the chance of the Heartgard for dogs side effects to happen. In addition, some specific breeds such as Australian Sheppard, Shetland Sheepdogs, Whippets, Bull Mastiffs, Irish Water Spaniels, Collies and related breeds might be hypersensitive to Ivermectine, the active ingredient in Heartgard. It is recommended that you consult your veterinarian prior to administering Heartgard especially to these breeds.
Merial, an international pharmacy company, which manufactures Heartgard for dogs and Heartgard Plus for dogs, has listed some adverse reactions to the Heartgard medication to their website. Heartgard for dogs side effects, which may take place within 24 hours after giving the medication, include diarrhea and vomiting in 11 animals among 1000 tested animals. During the test, they also found that longer-lasting Heartgard for dogs side effects include depression, lethargy, prolonged and abnormal dilation of the pupils or mydriasis, staggering, involuntary muscle movements (known as ataxia), excessive salivation and convulsions. Other Heartgard for dogs side effects, which are potentially caused by the Ivermectin, are liver problems, loss of appetite, skin eruptions, tremors, paralysis, thyroid problems, dizziness, fever, auto-immune disorders, nose bleeds, coughing, sudden aggressive behavior, difficulty breathing, irritability, pneumonia, nerve damage, seizures and sudden death.
Collies and Heartgard for Dogs Side Effects
It is already explained above that some collie breeds are more susceptible to Ivermectin. Giving Heartgard at elevated dosage to such breeds may induce depression, tremors, ataxia, drooling, mydriasis, paresis or impaired movement, stupor, excitability, recumbency, coma as well as death. Merial states that the Ivermectin dosage required to induce these side effects in collies is 16 times higher than the appropriate dosage in dogs. According to the test conducted by Merial, administering Heartgard with 10 times greater than the advised dosage to collies resulted in no adverse Heartgard side effects. This brings to the conclusion that Heartgard for dogs is safe for collie breeds as long as taken at the suggested dosage.
Puppies, Lactating Dogs and Heartgard for Dogs Side Effects
Heartgard for dogs is safe to be administered to lactating or pregnant dogs. Moreover, you can also give the medication to puppies of which the age is more than six weeks.
Some Important Notes to Prevent and Overcome Heartgard for Dogs Side Effects
Though the side effects described above sound very horrible, it is important to note that they take place very rarely and generally just occur at very high dosage. The most important thing to stick with is always giving the medication according to the dosage recommended by a veterinarian or by the instruction available in the product label.
Heartgard for dogs should not be administered together with certain medicines for instance some tranquilizers. Likewise, dogs are not supposed to consume Heartgard while being under treatment of Amitraz tick collar. Some medications or treatments, which are monoamine oxidase inhibitors, have the inherent capacity to be interactive with Heartgard for dogs and may lead to serious problems like neurological effects.
Some veterinarians also suggest to broke the tablet into smaller pieces. The dog, then, needs to chew the tablet and not to swallow the whole tablet. Typically, your veterinarian will give you more detail information and advice about giving the medication properly.
Here are some additional notes that you need to know to minimize the possibility of Heartgard for dogs side effects occurrence:
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1. You need to keep your veterinarian informed if your dog has certain allergies to any ingredient comprised in Heartgard or to protein, in this case beef.
2. Heartgard medicine should not be given to your dogs more than once a month. This is important to allow the canine to get over melosomine dihydrochloride. Melosomine dihydrochloride is a compound that might be toxic when given in high amounts.
3. Do not give Heartgard medication if your dog is prescribed other heartworm treatment.
4. As a dog owner, you must read, understand and follow the package instruction prior to administering the Heartgard. Should you are in doubt, it is very crucial to consult your licensed veterinarian about the most appropriate treatment and medication for your dog to avoid Heartgard for dogs side effects and overdose.
5. If you think that your dog is experiencing bad reactions to Heartgard medication, contact your veterinarian or the local emergency pet hospital as soon as possible and talk to one of the pet doctors there. They are professional and can evaluate how severe the side effects or the reactions are, and thus can give you useful advice about actions you need to take in order to help your dog get over the reactions.