Heartworms are arguably the most dangerous of all internal parasites that can affect cats and dogs. Unlike other worms, they are transmitted by mosquitos, which transfer some immature heartworms, called microfilaria, to their new host after feeding on an infected animal. When the microfilaria enters the bloodstream, they migrate to the blood vessels of the heart and lungs where they live and mature into adults who can reproduce. As their numbers grow, it becomes more difficult for blood to flow through the vessels which compromises how much oxygenated blood flows around the body, causing damage to their vital organs. If left untreated, heartworms are nearly always fatal.
Heartworm prevention is absolutely essential for both dogs and cats, particularly in light of the fact that there isn’t currently any treatment available for felines. Instead, any cats that become infected with heartworms must just be given treatment to manage their symptoms to try and help them outlive the heartworms that they have, which usually have a lifespan of between 5-7 years.
Heartworms can be treated in dogs, but the process is lengthy, costly, and not without risk to your pet and even with treatment, sometimes the damage caused by an infestation is irreversible. It is also important to note that detecting heartworms is particularly difficult since the symptoms appear very gradually and are subtle. Regular testing can enable a diagnosis of heartworms, but not until they are adults, by which time the effects on your pet’s health will have also begun.
With so many heartworm preventatives to choose from, finding the right one can be overwhelming. To help you to narrow down your options, here are some of the best topical heartworm preventatives currently available.
Revolution Cat is a safe, effective, 5-in-1 parasite preventative that doesn’t only protect cats from heartworms, but also from fleas, roundworms, hookworms, and ear mites. Revolution Cat is only available as a prescription and your feline must have a current heartworm test on file in order to obtain it. Revolution Cat is applied directly to your cat’s skin and must be administered every 30 days.
Revolution Dog is the same brand of preventative, but for canines. Just one application each month provides complete protection against fleas and heartworms, treats and controls ear mites and sarcoptic mange and controls tick infestations. There are multiple different varieties available based on your dog’s size, but Revolution Dog can be administered to puppies as young as 6 weeks of age. Only available on prescription, your vet will be able to advise you which dose is right for your canine pal.
Revolution Plus Cat
This preventative is a 6-in-1 solution that protects cats and kittens inside and out. It is effective against fleas, ticks, ear mites, heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms enabling you to offer your feline friend the greatest protection in a single treatment. Revolution Plus Cat is administered topically on a monthly basis and is safe to be used on kittens as young as 8 weeks old.
Advantage Multi for Dogs
Advantage Multi is a popular preventative that stops heartworm disease and treats any microfilaria so that they cannot mature into adults. It also kills fleas, treats and controls roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. Like Revolution, Advantage Multi is administered monthly and is applied topically, directly to your dog’s skin. Your vet will be able to advise you which dose of this preventative your dog will need to be adequately protected, which will be decided based on weight.
Advantage Multi for Cats
Advantage Multi for cats kills fleas, treats and controls ear mites, roundworms, and hookworms and prevents heartworm disease – all in one simple to use topical application. Again, this is given monthly to ensure proper protection against these parasites. Your vet will be happy to help you find the appropriate dose for your cat based on their weight.
A topical solution that is manufactured specifically with puppies and kittens in mind, this version of Revolution must be given every 30 days to ensure that your furbaby is properly protected. It offers full coverage against fleas, ear mites, roundworms, hookworms, and heartworms.
As with all preventatives, those given for heartworms must be administered exactly as directed and on time, every time, to ensure year-round protection against these parasites. Your veterinarian will be able to assist you further should you have any questions.