Parasite Control in Companion Animals - Recommendations and Product Options
For the San Diego area, the small animal parasites that are present in significant amounts are fleas, intestinal worms, heartworm, and in some instances ticks. As such, we recommend broad spectrun parasite control for all of the mentioned parasites for the safety of your pet, you, your family, and the community as a whole.
Heartworm disease is endemic in Southern California. The American Heartworm Society (AHS), the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) recommend in endemic areas (such as San Diego) year round heartworm prevention for BOTH dogs and cats.
Heartworm prevention recommendations for felines is a fairly recent addition. We know that felines in heartworm endemic areas such as San Diego are also contracting the disease. In felines, prevention is of utmost importance because there is no treatment for the disease, diagnosis can be difficult, and the pathology from the disease causes significant health conditions, such as Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).a The AHS and the AAFP recommend heartworm antigen and antibody testing prior to placing a feline on heartworm prevention (such as Revolution). Therefore, here at BHVH, we also highly recommend the testing in felines, but it is not absolutely required prior to placing on a preventive. During the month of April, HW testing for felines will also be significantly discounted.
Keep in mind that these products not only protect your pet, they protect your entire family as well. AAHA, AVMA, AAFP, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommend parasite control for companion animals for many reasons, including prevention of visceral larva migrans, a condition in which parasites within a human "release larvae that migrate anywhere in the body... Organs commonly affected are the eye, brain, liver and lung, where infections can cause permanent visual, neurologic, or other tissue damage."b Visceral larva migrans can affect adults and children, and in fact "the common dog ascarid, T. canis, has long been recognized as a cause of larva migrans syndromes in children."b How commonplace are these parasites? "A recent national survey of shelters revealed that almost 36% of dogs nationwide and 52% of dogs from southeastern states harbored helminths capable of causing human disease."b,c
Notes on the different products available (NOTE: we are required by law to have an examination of your pet within the last 12 months, and we ONLY sell product on site at our hospital):
Trifexis (canine only)
- most effective and safe heartworm, intestinal worm, and flea control
- for canines, this is our preferred product
- especially useful for dogs with exposure to dog parks, dog beaches, grooming facilities, dog shows, rural/farm settings, hunting provides, but provides NO tick control
- small percentage of dogs experience vomiting, but this usually is mitigated by giving with a full meal, dividing the tablet over the course of the day (with meals), and/or opening the package and allowing to "air out" before administration
- Should not be administered to dogs with a history of seizures
Revolution for Dogs
- strong heartworm and flea control, potentially limited intestinal parasite control (in the US not currently licensed for intestinal parasite control, but in Canada it is licensed for intestinal parasite control)
Interceptor Plus (canine only)
- strong heartworm and intestinal worm control
- NO flea control (should be paired with either Parastar Plus or Nexgard)
- GI tolerance is high
- reduced cost
Parastar Plus (canine only)
- effective and safe flea and tick control
- NO heartworm or intestinal worm control (should be paired with Interceptor Plus)
Nexgard (canine only)
- highly palatable
- strong flea and tick prevention
- NO heartworm prevention or intestinal worm control (should be paired with Interceptor Plus)
- for adequate heartworm prevention this product should be coupled with a heartworm preventive (e.g. Sentinel)
Revolution for Cats
- strong heartworm, flea, and intestinal parasite control for felines
- preferred product for felines
- AHS and AAFP recommend a Heartworm prevention product for cats
a. Dillon AR, Tillson DM, Wooldridge A, et al. Heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD): induction and reversibility relative to tissue larval stage and Wolbachia status. In: Heartworms Today; The Search for Solutions: Proceedings of the 2013 Triennial Symposium, New Orleans, LA, September 8-10, 2013. Wilmington, DE: American Heartworm Society; 2013:30-31.
b. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/zoonotichookworm/resources/prevention.pdf, 3/25/2016
c. Blagburn BL, Lindsay DS, Vaughan JL, et al. Prevalence of canine parasites based on fecal flotation. Comp Contin Educ Vet Pract 1996;18:483-509.