Monday, May 11, 2009

Preventative Medicine

There are a lot of preventatives out there that many pet owners chose to use to best take care of their pets – regular vaccines, heartworm and parasite preventatives, and flea and tick preventatives are some of the most popular. There is debate as to whether or not these do more harm than good, but the general consensus is use them if you are in an area with a high prevalence of heart worm (caused by mosquitoes), fleas or ticks (ticks can cause Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses) then you should use them.

Personally, I use heartworm preventative monthly, but only use flea/tick preventative in the fall, spring and summer. I do feel that doing a limited flea/tick preventative means I have to be that much more diligent about checking for fleas and ticks, and testing annually for Lyme and other tick borne illnesses, but I also worry about putting toxins on my dog.

There is even an entire movement to stop vaccinating dogs, or vaccinate on a limited schedule – I support limited vaccination, or simply not over vaccinating. In many states the rabies vaccine must be administered annually, even though this vaccine is good for three years of protection. Some states have caught onto the risks associated with over vaccination, and are now recognizing the three-year rabies vaccine. Last year I chose to use the new Lyme vaccine, and now looking back on it I’m not sure if I would make that same choice today having learned more about the risks associated with this particular vaccine, and over vaccinating in general. It’s hard, because I live in an area where Lyme disease is extremely prevalent (I myself have had Lyme twice, and both times were from Virginia ticks), but at the same time having learned the risks of the vaccine I question this decision.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many wonderful things to using preventative medicine, and the good tends to far out way the bad, but do do your research, and don’t over-do-it with the preventatives.

When it comes to acquiring your flea/tick or heartworm preventatives the safest place to guarantee an authentic product is from your veterinarian’s office. I believe all heartworm preventatives require a prescription and/or annual heartworm blood test, and some brands of flea/tick preventatives are only available through veterinarians, but do not require an RX.

However, getting these products from your vet can be expensive. Often the vet has already marked up the prices to cover shipping charges, etc. You must be careful before ordering online, as there are many imitators out there selling counterfeit products, but here are some reputable sites to buy these products at a lower cost to you, the consumer.
has great prices on a variety of medications and supplements, and they give even greater discounts when you buy in bulk. 1-800 Pet Meds is also a legitimate resource for these products. You can also find these products at for less than some veterinarians sell them. I would avoid turning to eBay, or small unknown companies to buy these products, as there is a risk of buying any medication online.

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