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Q&A: Should I Give My Dog Pyrantel for Heartworm Prevention?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

What is the best way to prevent heartworms without paying for expensive monthly medication?

What is the best way to prevent heartworms without paying for expensive monthly medication?

If I'm Using Ivermectin for Heartworm Prevention for My Dog Should I Also Give Pyrantel?

"Hi Dr Mark. I'm a student in a Doctoral program in Functional Medicine. I decided recently to dose my Jack Russell with ivermectin and pyrantel myself to save money. I was going to use horse paste, which I have used on myself, and simply get a small syringe after doing the math to match what Heartgard uses in theirs. However, I began questioning my measurements and when searching again, found your article.

Should I use pyrantel each month also to prevent hookworms, etc.? If so, I have not found a dosing chart on your blog for pyrantel and where to get it. I found 0.08% sheep drench ivermectin on Amazon in a bottle. Are they ALL the same level of ivermectin for sheep, to be sure I'm getting the right strength?

Thank you very much for your concern." —Mark

Pyrantel Pamoate for Dogs

The reason I do not include that information for pyrantel in that article on cheap heartworm preventative is that it is not necessary to give it every month. It is very safe, and overdoses almost never happen, but even vendors recommend it only be given every month if necessary. Any medication can be given too much. And why purchase a medication if it does no good for your dog?

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Read More From Pethelpful

How to Test Your Dog for Worms

If your Jack Russel is tracking around in areas with a lot of stray dog feces, this is more of a concern. If not, a fecal test to look for worm eggs once or twice a year is fine. You can drop off a sample at your local vet (it costs about 10 or 15 dollars) or just learn to do it yourself. The test is easy, does not require many materials, and—if you have a microscope available—is a great way to learn.

Hopefully your JRT will always be negative.

What Type of Ivermectin to Give to Dogs

The ivermectin drench that Amazon sells on Amazon is 0.08%, so even more dilute than the cattle ivermectin and a lot better than risking your dog's life with the horse paste. (I use the cattle strength for large dogs like Pitbulls and Cane Corsos but would never give the horse paste to a dog.) Be sure to read the label when it arrives and make sure it is 0.08%.

Ivermectin-Resistant Heartworms

I am not sure what state you are in, but if you are in the south or the Mississippi valley, you should also think about heartworm resistance. Ivermectin is great in most places, but there have been some problems with resistant heartworms in the last few years.

Best of luck with your JRT!

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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