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Dose of interceptor?

Species: Dog
Breed: mixed
Age: Less than 3 mon
I have a new puppy... he's 8 weeks old and weighs 4.6 lbs. I live in Florida which is year round heartworm protection necessary. I've had many dogs, mostly rescue but not had a baby for a long time and never one this small. He is getting natural food and I try and keep chemicals, meds etc at a minimum. I do know that he does need to be protected from heartworm. I have another dog that takes preventative monthly. Looking at the heartworm meds, I see they start at 0-25 lbs for weigh. I am concerned about giving a 4 lb dog the same dosage as a dog 6x his size. Is that safe? I was also looking at Iverhart Max as it kills also round, hook and tapes. Is that too much medicine for a puppy that size? I like interceptor as it is the only one that kills whipworms which we do have here, but that starts at 11 lbs and I'm not sure what size he's going to grow into. Would appreciate your opinion of the heartworm meds, safe dosage and what age to start them.

Thank you.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for a great question.

These days, heartworm medications are extremely safe. I will often get asked questions by people who are worried because their pet ate several tablets of heartworm medication. In almost every case, the safety margin is HUGE, meaning that even if several tablets were eaten at once, no harm would be done.

Where I practice, we use a lot of Interceptor. It is our main dewormer and we give it to puppies, every two weeks for 3 treatments and then continue monthly. I will commonly give the 0-10 lb (i.e. Interceptor Brown) dose to tiny 2 pound chihuahuas. It is very safe.

I don't personally sell Iverhart Max. (It's possible that it is not available in Canada where I practice). However, if the label says that it is safe to use in 8 week old puppies (which I'm sure it is), then you can be comfortable using that instead.

Regarding the size to buy, this is a tough call. What I usually do in my practice is dispense it one month at a time when the dog is getting their puppy vaccinations. Then, by the time the puppy is getting the third vaccination, I usually have a good idea as to what size they are going to be into. When in doubt, I will go with the higher dosage because again, the medicine is very safe.

Hopefully that helps answer your question, but let me know if you have more concerns!

Dr. Marie.


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Customer reply:

Thank you for the information. I decided to go with Interceptor and started to order it and I got this back from the supplier...

http://www.petmd.com/news/alerts-recalls/nws_novartis_possible_production_problems_with_clomicalm_deramaxx_interceptor_milbemite_program_sentinel#.T2skfMUgfzk


Drat... just when I thought I had the answer I was looking for... did what I wanted it to do and was in the 0-10 lb range that I thought was safer. Only other alternative is Heartguard or Iverhart and I'm leaning toward the Iverhart Max because it kills tapes too, but the lowest it goes is 0-25 lbs. Since I assume you're going to have the same problem getting Interceptor since they have stopped production..what are you going to provide for your clients? Do you still think Iverhart is safe enough for a 4 lb baby? Course it doesn't kill whipworm. Is there something I can buy just to kill those? Would have been so much simpler to just buy the Interceptor.......


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I was going to mention that! I actually wrote an article about the Novartis shortage: Interceptor shortage. It was expected to be very short term, but is still affecting some vets.

So far in my practice we have not had to deal with a lack of interceptor or Sentinel so far, but this is because we had a big stock.

If we do have a shortage then, if I am using a drug for a general dewormer I'll likely use Pyran (which is good for roundworms and hookworms) and if they want an oral heartworm prevention I'll use Heartgard, but you're right, there is no whipworm prevention with that.

If Iverhart is labelled as safe for 0-25 pounds then you have nothing to worry about there.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.