Easy Street

Have you noticed how pet care is getting easier? When was the last time you heard of a dog dying from distemper or even from heartworm disease? Rampant flea infestations and life-threatening disease from intestinal worms are much rarer than they were a few years ago and its all because pet care is now and easy street. 

A Neck Ahead

One of the recent advances in pet care has been the evolution of the 'spot-on-the-neck' preparations. When they first appeared, they were designed to control adult fleas only and almost overnight, the weekend chore of having to wash your pooch or puss cat in smelly, milky insecticides vanished. While washing dogs is sometimes difficult, washing cats is akin to committing suicide with a thousand cuts. So, Advantage and Frontline were the leaders of this pack and represented a leap forward in easy pet care for dogs and cats. Now there are many similar preparations on the market.

Things change for the better and now Advantage has two big brothers, Advocate and Advantix.

When used once a month, Advocate controls fleas, heartworm, the intestinal worms, roundworm, hookworm and whipworm. It also controls mange, ear mites and lice. 

Advantix from Bayer is also a spot on the back of the neck product however this one is aimed at killing and repelling paralysis ticks and other types of ticks, fleas, flea larvae and it will also repel mosquitoes and sand flies.

Frontline Plus has also been released recently and is a combination preparation that not only kills adult fleas and ticks but also contains a growth regulator that kills flea eggs in the environment before they hatch.

Revolution has joined the easy-street queue with its once-monthly application that controls fleas, heartworm, most intestinal worms, ear mites and mange mites but it doesn't wash the dishes - yet.

To the Heart of a Problem

Heartworm is such a dangerous disease and the treatment of heartworm infested dogs was a major part of veterinary practice a decade or so ago. Nowadays, heartworm infested dogs are not at all common due to the advances in heartworm prevention.

 Heartworm is such a dangerous disease and the treatment of heartworm infested dogs was a major part of veterinary practice a decade or so ago.


Daily DEC tablets were the first step forward in heartworm prevention, but now that we have monthly heartworm preventatives, the DEC preparations are being superseded. 

Monthly heartworm medications are popular, and because most are in a chewable treat form, they are easy to administer. There are several brands. Heartgard and Proheart are readily available through your veterinary surgeon. Heartgard Plus has the advantage of also controlling roundworm and hookworm infections at the same time. Interceptor is similar, but as well as preventing heartworm disease and controlling roundworms and hookworms, it also controls whipworms.  Sentinel does all that Interceptor does but has the distinct advantage of also controlling fleas with the inclusion of an insect growth regulator that prevents flea eggs from hatching.

As mentioned earlier, Revolution and Advocate also control heartworm disease.

The most recent advance in heartworm prevention is a perfect contender for the Easy Street award. It is the Once-A-Year heartworm injection. For us pet owners who are forgetful, (and that includes me!) the yearly injection is a very convenient way of preventing heartworm disease as it can be given at the same time as your pets' yearly vaccination. I have recently converted to the one-per-year injection for my Imperfect Pooch and as I could never be sure if I had remembered to give her the monthly preparation. Ask your veterinarian for more details.

Jabbing Away

While we are talking about yearly injections, let's not forget about how the dangerous diseases such as distemper and canine hepatitis have been all but eliminated by modern, annual vaccines.

The number of diseases that can be prevented through vaccination is steadily increasing and for cats we now have the F5 vaccine and for dogs the C7. That all this can be achieved with just one visit to the vet, and that the one-a-year heartworm injection can be done at the same time, makes this health-care combo an immediate qualifier for our easy-street list.

The Worm's Turn

In veterinary surgeries, we don't see the typical 'wormy' pups and kittens as often. Pot-bellied, scruffy-coated, diarrhoea-affected pups and kittens are showing the sad, hallmark signs of worm infestations but with the advent of worming medications known as all-wormers, and the monthly heartworm/intestinal worm preparations, such worm-infested pups are now uncommon.

While the monthly heartworm/intestinal worm combinations are a convenient way of eliminating worms each month, none of these control all intestinal worms that can affect dogs and cats, so an all-wormer is still necessary.

Drontal Allwormer is a well know product that will kill all four intestinal worms but Popantal Allwormer, and Canimax  are all excellent.  If you are buying worming preparations from your pet store or supermarket, read the label to be sure the preparation makes a claim to kill round, hook, whip and tape worms in dogs and round, hook and tapeworms in cats.

So, it's true - life was meant to be easy - at least for us pet owners.