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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14832
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I switched my mini dachshund (16 lbs) from Heartguard(since

Customer Question

Hello I switched my mini dachshund (16 lbs) from Heartguard(since puppy) to Iverhart Max 5/20 for heartworm protection, and it gave him severe gastro issues incl severe diarrhea & loss of appetite. Pumpkin & supplements helped resolve & he is feeling fine now but afraid to give him dose for this month after hearing of dogs dying on some form of heartworm prevention. He is 8.5, excellent health, very muscular.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Peter replied 1 year ago.
Welcome and thanks for asking your question. My name is***** am a licensed veterinarian. I am happy to answer your question today. First I need to ask you a few questions so that I can be well informed and give you the best advice.
1- Are you asking me if this is true that dogs are dying from heartworm prevention?
There may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies as I type out a thorough reply for you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, I was specific with my question. Is the IverhartMax from Virbac one of the preventive heartworm meds which is causing death in dogs (ivermectin/pyrantel pamoate/praziquantel)? I am VERY hesitant to give him a 2nd dose this month with symptoms created with 1st dose last month.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I understand that you are concerned about dosing your fellow with his monthly heartworm prevention given that he got sick last month.
There are many things on the internet about medications, some are true and some are not. There is no overall editing or review process on the internet and anyone can say whatever they like. For that reason I am cautious about what I read and look for trusted sources of information. Those include peer reviewed journals, edited and peer reviewed professional association webpages, and scientific articles.
The only heartworm prevention that has been withdrawn from the market due to higher than acceptable reports of side effects is injectable moxidectin (ProHeart 6 by Fort Dodge) which was a repository, injectable heartworm prevention that lasted for 6 months.
Any drug can cause side effects in any dog, even aspirin has reports of serious side effects in some individuals. Living beings aren't machines and thus there is no perfectly safe medication.
It is possible that your fellow reacted to something else, and his heartworm pill just happened to be given around the same time. But looking at the two products there is a difference in the two product's ingredient list.
Heartgard Plus contains ivermectin and pyrantel.
Iverhart Max 5/20 contains ivermectin, pyrantel, and praziquantel.
It is possible that your fellow had a reaction to praziquantel. While this is a very safe worm medication, some dogs do experience loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea with it. So it is possible that he is sensitive to this medication.
If that's the case then switching him back to Heartgard Plus should solve this problem.