Protect Your Pets
From Disease-Carrying Parasites
So, what is the big deal about fleas and ticks? In addition to being a nuisance, fleas and ticks have the potential of infecting your dog or cat with serious, life-threatening diseases.
See Fleas on your pet? The adult fleas you can see on your pet account for only 5% of the infestation.
Ticks spread serous and life threatening diseases, including Lyme disease, which can be transmitted to humans.
Heartworms live & reproduce in the blood and vessels of an infected animal’s heart.
When a flea bites, it injects a small amount of saliva into the skin. That saliva sets off an allergic reaction in many animals and even in humans that causes intense itching. This constant scratching can develop into painful skin irritations and infections. Fleas can also transmit some infections and diseases, such as tapeworm and cat scratch fever, to both pets and people.
Ticks have small biting mouthparts that often do not cause irritation when they attach, which allows them to slowly fill with blood without interference. Before feeding, ticks are quite small and can often be overlooked on your pet. Once the tick attaches to its host, it feeds on the host’s blood, becoming bloated and engorged with blood.
Ticks are commonly hosts to several types of diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis (bacterial infections), and babesiosis (a blood disorder). Indoor cats can also be at risk of tick bites especially if they come in contact with other untreated animals.
Heartworm disease is a life-threatening illness that is spread through the bite of a mosquito. Once an animal is infected, worms begin to live and reproduce in the blood of the dog or cat’s heart and adjacent blood vessels. Over time, these worms begin to clog the heart and major blood vessels. They may also interfere with the valve action of the heart, causing impaired lung function, heart weakness, and, if left untreated, congestive heart failure and death.
Once infected, treatment is available; however, it is risky and expensive. The medicine used to treat heartworm disease can be potentially toxic to your pet and may result in serious complications such as blood clots in the lungs.
The best defense against heartworm disease is prevention. Odyssey Veterinary Care recommends year-round heartworm prevention for all dogs and some cats, depending on their lifestyle. Heartgard Plus is a beef-flavored chewable tablet that should be given to your critter on the same day of every month. Most dogs love the taste, and most importantly, this product is extremely effective all month long in preventing heartworm infection.
Frontline Plus and Certifect
In addition to a vaccine protocol that maximizes your pet’s disease protection, the best protection against fleas and ticks is the monthly use of preventive products such as Frontline Plus and Certifect. Frontline Plus is a spot-on topical treatment that kills fleas, flea eggs, ticks, and lice. Our doctors recommend Frontline Plus over the use of other over-the-counter flea and tick products for the following reasons:
- It kills and prevents infestations of adult fleas, eggs, larvae, and ticks.
- It is effective all month long.
- SAFETY—Frontline is an extremely safe, non-reactive product that is approved for use in households with cats.
- Manufacturer’s guarantee—If you purchase and apply three months of Frontline Plus for each critter in your home and you still have flea problems afterwards, Merial will refund your purchase or send a Terminix truck to your home to eliminate the flea infestation.
Certifect is a similar monthly spot-on topical treatment that is recommended for dogs that have higher exposure to fleas and ticks due to their lifestyle (hunting, frequent trips to cabins, parks, or wooded areas). Certifect starts killing ticks within six hours and has a 100% kill rate within 18 hours of application. This product is safe for households with cats; however, due to its strength, it is not to be used on felines.
Frontline Plus or Certifect should be administered monthly beginning in March up until November. Wisconsin weather can be tricky so make sure not to discontinue your product until we have received several frosts and the ground is frozen. Resume use in the spring once the weather is warmer and things begin to thaw.
Q: When should I start giving heartworm preventive?
A: Because Heartgard Plus is a prescription medication, your doctor will give you the OK to start the chew tabs once your dog has received his or her heartworm blood test results (Heartgard can be extremely dangerous if given to a dog that is positive for heartworms). Heartgard is safe for puppies over six weeks of age even though they will not get their first heartworm blood test until they are over six months of age. This is because the blood test can only detect adult heartworms, which take five to six months to reach their adult form.
Q: Should I give Heartgard Plus seasonally or year-round?
A: This is a decision pet parents can make for themselves; however, for consistency and safety reasons, we recommend year-round heartworm prevention. In general, dogs that receive seasonal Heartgard should start the tablets in March and continue taking them until November, but this can vary due to weather temperatures. Most of our clients prefer to keep their dogs on a year-round Heartgard schedule for safety and consistency (mosquitoes can get indoors and survive the cold months). In addition, the cost of year-round Heartgard is offset by the fact that these patients only need heartworm testing every other year instead of annually.
Odyssey goes above and beyond my expectations, and truly cares about my dog. We will always come back to Odyssey and highly recommend it to anyone who asks!
Dr. Bruss is great—he is very kind and caring. He called us several times to explain our options and didn’t pressure us to make a particular decision.
My dog sees Dr. Stokes for his vet care and she is the best vet ever. She understands my dog’s unique needs and I highly recommend them!
No matter which vet we've seen, they’ve always been loving and compassionate whether we were there just for yearly vaccinations or for something a bit more serious.
I am in love with all of the staff at this facility. If I could, I would want to be treated there, but sadly, they only take the four legged types...
Wouldn’t go anywhere else! I feel surrounded by people that love animals as much as I do. Wouldn’t change a thing.
Services are very reasonably priced and we've never felt like we had any unnecessary procedures or products pushed on us. we really feel that we can trust Dr. Bruss and Odyssey Veterinary Care with our cats’ health.
— Onion Girl
Dr. stokes has seen our family through kitten to senior cat, puppy and loss of dog, new puppy and everything in the middle! We think the care our animals get here is top notch!
Great people, great care! You've all made such a difference in my life and Abby's too. Thanks Odyssey Staff!
When they prescribed my dog eye drops for an infection, they gave me the instructions and then called me within a 48 hour period to ask me how the medication was going and if I had any questions.
They are very friendly and very thorough. The dog loves them, and she’s shy, so that’s a good thing. We have always had a lot of confidence in what they have told us.
They happily accommodate our special request to see our big dogs in their fenced back yard, since our 100-pound German Shepherd gets nervous in a small examination room.
We bring our dog to Odyssey Vet Clinic and will continue to do so as long as we live in this area. They are the best vets we’ve ever had.
They are very friendly, and they always remind you of when your appointments are. They are the top veterinary hospital in Madison. They are very good.
The safest (and most cost effective) place to obtain your flea, tick, and heartworm preventives is directly from Odyssey Veterinary Care’s in-house pharmacy. Merial, the manufacturer of Heartgard and Frontline, only sell their products to licensed veterinarians. This means that products sold online or at retail stores are coming from a third party and therefore do not carry the manufacturer’s guarantee.
The good news—Odyssey Veterinary Care offers in-clinic coupons that allow us to sell Heartgard and Frontline for LESS than it would cost you to buy them online or at a retail store. Hooray for safety and savings!