That Stuff You Put On The Back.

That stuff you put on the back. You know!

Well, actually, not to be rude, but, no, I don’t know.

I was at lunch the other day and my waitress asked me, “I went to see my veterinarian this morning to get a refill of his heartworm or whatever and I think it’s called Advantage and they said they don’t carry it any more. What do I do?”

I responded, “Advantage is flea control with no flea prevention and it’s not heartworm preventive. Therefore, several concerns arise. One, if you’ve been using Advantage and nothing else your pet is at risk for having heartworms. Two, if you’re sure you’ve been using Advantage for fleas then we need to know what, exactly, you’ve been using for heartworm preventive. Three, there aren’t any heartworm preventives available called ‘or whatever.  Four, since you were already at your veterinarian’s office, why didn’t you ask them?’”

“Oh,” she said, “you know, the stuff you put on the back of the neck.  And I did ask them, but they couldn’t tell me what I’d been using.”

“Sorry,” I replied, “but that doesn’t narrow it down any.”

As I said in a recent post, “What’s in it?” I emphasized there that you need to know what it is that you are giving your pet (or yourself, for that matter!), whether it is medication, a supplement or pet food.

With that in mind, let’s look at the things we can list that fall in the category of “stuff you put on the back of the neck:

Product you put “on the back of the neck”

Heartworm Preventive

Flea Control (kills adult fleas)

Flea Prevention (kills eggs and larvae)

Revolution

yes

yes

yes

Advantix

no

yes

no

Advantage

no

yes

no

Advantage Multi

yes

yes

no

Frontline Plus

no

yes

yes

Frontline

no

yes

yes

Over-the-Counter products (OTC) too numerous to list

no

yes

no

As you can see, it is important to know the difference. After all, you could put water between your dog’s shoulder blades and it would qualify as “stuff,” but it wouldn’t prevent heartworms, it wouldn’t control fleas and it wouldn’t prevent fleas.

Please note that OTC products cannot prevent heartworms because all heartworm preventives are prescription medications controlled by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

I have treated many, many dogs in my career for heartworms because pet owners didn’t take the time to ask a veterinarian or his staff what was in the “stuff” they were putting on their pet. Too often this mistake occurs through an online source, where the staff neither knows your pet nor cares about it.

Your veterinarian and his staff do. Both know your pet and care about it.

So, call him and get a straight answer.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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