HEARTGARD® Chewables for Dogs
Heartgard's Generic Name:
Heartgard General Description:
Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug used monthly in dogs and cats to prevent heartworm infection and for the treatment and control of hookworms and some forms of mange. This medication is available as regular tablets, chewable tablets and also as a topical solution.
What is Heartgard Chewables for Dogs?
• Ivermectin is an anti-parasite drug
• Ivermectin is given by mouth
Reasons for prescribing heartworm preventation Rx:
• For heartworm prevention in dogs and cats
• For treatment and control of adult and immature hookworm infections in cats
• For treatment of some types of mange
What dogs/cats should not take this Heartgard Chewables for Dogs?
• Puppies and kittens less than 6 weeks of age
• Use with caution in Collies, Australian shepherds, Old English sheepdogs, Shelties and any of these crossbreed dogs
• Considered safe for use in young cats at the regular heartworm preventive doses
• Pets known to have had an allergic reaction to ivermectin or like products
Dogs can be born with genetic mutations that impact their health. One such mutation is the MDR1 gene mutation. The MDR1 (multi-drug resistance-1) gene is responsible for the production of P-glycoprotein, which is normally responsible for transporting certain drugs out of the brain. The MDR1 gene mutation is generally found in many herding breeds, some sighthound breeds and many mixed-breed dogs.
Dogs that have a mutation in the MDR1 gene, which inhibits their ability to remove certain drugs from the brain and can lead up to a buildup of toxins, may have severe adverse reactions to some common drugs, including seizures, tremors, disorientation, blindness, lack of muscle control or even death.
Which breeds are affected?
- Australian Shepherd
- Border Collie
- English Shepherd
- German Shepherd
- Long-Haired Whippet
- Miniature Australian Shepherd
- Mixed Breed
- Old English Sheepdog
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Silken Windhound
MDR1 is the abbreviated name of a gene called Multi-Drug Resistance 1. A mutation of this gene causes sensitivity to Ivermectin and a number of other drugs. Dogs with the mutation will react to those drugs.
MDR1 : Multidrug Resistance 1 is inherited as an autosomal incomplete dominant disease. Dogs only need to inherit one copy of the MDR1 mutation to be at risk for sensitivity of certain drugs. Dogs with 2 copies of MDR1 can have more severe reactions.
Please speak with your veterinarian about testing for MDR1 if you own a breed of dog which may have MDR1 gene.
Give this medication with or without food. Ivermectin is bitter, so some pets may need the taste masked with food.
Ensure that your pet consumes the entire dose.
Give medication as directed by your veterinarian. This medication is often given seasonally.
As a heartworm preventative, this medication is given once a month, beginning within a month after the pet's first exposure to mosquitoes. The medication kills the parasites acquired during the previous month. The final dose should be given within a month of the last exposure to mosquitoes. Ideally, give the medication on or about the same day each month.
If this product replaces another type of heartworm preventive, the first dose must be given within 30 days after the last dose of the previous product.
What if dose is missed?
If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can. If it is time already for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule. Do not give two doses at the same time. If you miss more than 8 weeks in a row, give the drug as soon as you remember, but you should have your pet's blood tested for heartworms within 6 months (as infection may have occurred).
What to tell/ask veterinarian before giving Heartgard?
Talk to your veterinarian about:
• When will your pet need to be rechecked
• Whether a blood test will need to be performed prior to treatment with this drug
• Risks and benefits of using this drug
Tell your veterinarian about:
• If your pet has experienced side-effects on other drugs/products
• If your pet has experienced digestive upset now or ever
• If your pet has experienced liver or kidney disease now or ever
• If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
• All medicines and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet's medicines can be given together.
Storage and Warnings:
Store in a tight, light resistant, childproof container in a cool, dry place at room temperature away from heat and direct sunlight.
Dispose of this product properly as it is very toxic to fish, turtles and other wildlife.
People should not take this product. Keep this and all medication out of reach of children and pets. Call your physician immediately if you accidentally take this product.
Potential side effects of Heartguard Chewables:
• Side effects are rare for ivermectin given at heartworm preventive doses
• Considered to be safe in pregnant and nursing animals
• Problems may arise at high doses in some dogs, especially Collies, Australian Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs, Shelties and any of these crossbreed dogs. If your dog is one of these breeds, observe your pet for at least 8 hours after treatment for any signs of weakness, staggering, dilated pupils, trembling, etc. Take your pet to your veterinary clinic if s/he exhibits these symptoms.
• When the parasite begin to die off, the animal may experience swelling, irritation and pain at the sites where the parasites are located. Dogs with a large number of heartworm larvae (immature heartworm) may experience a shock-like reaction as the parasites die all at once.
• It is important to stop therapy and contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet has a medical problem or side effect from this product's therapy
Can this drug be given with other drugs?
• Yes, when ivermectin is used at heartworm preventive doses, there are no contraindicated drugs. When higher doses are used (ie. for skin mites), interactions may occur with amitraz dips and collars (Mitaban®, Preventic®), spinosad (Comfortis™) or diazepam or related tranquilizers.
• If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian
Contact your veterinarian immediately if pet consumes more than the prescribed amount.
What else should I know about Heartgard Chewables and Heartworm prevention?
Notify your veterinarian if your animal's condition does not improve or worsens despite this treatment.
As with all prescribed medicines, ivermectin should only be given to the dog/cat for which it was prescribed. It should be given only for the condition for which it was prescribed.
This is just a summary of information about ivermectin. If you have any questions or concerns about ivermectin or for the condition it was prescribed, contact your veterinarian.