You may have been warned about the risk your dog faces from developing heartworms and the adverse reactions they may endure through medication. Heartworm disease is a serious problem but it is easily avoidable if you take the right precautions. Most veterinarians recommend dog owners give their dog a monthly preventative—this article will explore the benefits of the two preventatives Interceptor vs. Interceptor Plus in order to help you determine which is the best fit for your dog.
The Danger of Heartworms for Dogs
Heartworms are a very common and serious threat to a dog’s health. Heartworms form when a dog has been bitten by a mosquito infected with heartworm larvae. What happens next is those larvae bury themselves in the dog’s heart, blood vessels, and lungs and start to reproduce.
Going untreated, these worms, like tumors in a human, can grow from ten to twelve inches and live up to seven years. A dog can easily have 200 heartworms at one time.
Your dog can have a heartworm in its system for a long time before you even start to notice the symptoms your dog is experiencing. Usually, the first symptom that appears, is the development of a cough and your dog will not be able to exercise as much without getting tired too quickly. In the most severe cases, dogs can pass out since the heartworms prevent the flow of blood to the brain or the dogs will die if they go too long without being treated.
All that being said, heartworms in dogs are easily preventable. Preventatives like Interceptor and Interceptor Plus have been developed that are inexpensive and easy to administer that is really worth thinking about.
Interceptor vs. Interceptor Plus
Both Interceptor and Interceptor Plus are very similar products in the battle against heartworm prevention, but we will explore both preventatives in depth so you have a better idea of which one is the right one for you and your dog.
Interceptor prevents against heartworm disease, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. It is meant for dogs that are at least four weeks of age and weigh over two pounds. In addition—at least at normal dosage levels—it is safe for dogs that are breeding, nursing, or pregnant to take Interceptor.
Interceptor is in the form of a chewable tablet which you give to your dog once a month. The main ingredient is milbemycin is what eliminates and kills the larvae associated with heartworm disease and the other parasites listed above that may be present in your dog’s system.
The only drawback to Inceptor is that you may be able to find a preventative that treats heartworm disease in addition to fleas, ticks, and tapeworms which Interceptor does not address.
While both Interceptor and Interceptor Plus prevent heartworm disease, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, Interceptor Plus also prevents tapeworms. It is meant for dogs that are at least six weeks of age and weigh at least two pounds. While Interceptor is ok for dogs that are breeding, nursing, or pregnant, the safety of Interceptor Plus for dogs in those states has not yet been determined.
Similar to Interceptor, Interceptor Plus is a chewable tablet which you give to your dog once a month. Additionally,Interceptor Plus is special because it is made without the beef flavoring which has been found to be a common dog allergy—instead, this tablet tastes like chicken. Like Interceptor, the main ingredient in Interceptor Plus is milbemycin but the addition of praziquantel is what helps protect your dog from tapeworms, which Interceptor does not protect against.
While Interceptor Plus does to combat the heartworm and thetapeworm, as well as roundworms and hookworms, it still does not protect against fleas and ticks, so you may need to look elsewhere for that kind of preventative.
Both Interceptor and Interceptor Plus are good preventatives and they are actually quite similar—they even go for the same price. There are only a couple of things to consider when deciding which one is the better choice for your dog.
The first thing we urge you to consider is whether or not your dog is pregnant, breeding, nursing, or there is a possibility your dog would ever do one of those things. Keep in mind we do not yet know the effects of Interceptor Plus on dogs that are breeding, nursing, or pregnant, so this can be a big reason to purchase Interceptor instead of Interceptor Plus.
On the other hand, Interceptor Plus prevents tapeworms while Interceptor does not. This is also an important consideration. If you decide to go with Interceptor anyway, it may be best to combine it with another preventative that fights against tapeworms, fleas, and ticks.
Side Effects and Other Considerations
While side effects of the ingestion of Interceptor and Interceptor Plus are rare, they can include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, weakness, and excess salivation.
Please remember that Interceptor and Interceptor Plus are preventatives, not treatments. This means that any existing, mature worms will stay intact and continue to grow, so it is important to get those treated. Specialists say that prior to administering Interceptor or Interceptor Plus, you should have your dog tested for any existing heartworms.
Also, note that it is important to keep Interceptor or Interceptor Plus in your dog’s system—some people think that in the winter months when there aren’t mosquitoes it may be ok to skip it a couple times, but this would be a mistake. If you let it build up in your dog’s system over time, you have a better chance of helping your dog to prevent heartworm disease and other parasites. It’s also important to keep this routine for yourself so that when the warmer months return you don’t forget to give your dog the preventative.
Interceptor vs. Interceptor Plus: both are good, reliable options to help prevent your dog from developing heartworm disease and many other harmful parasites. Once you determine which one is the better fit for your pet and circumstances, start administering it and you will not have a problem—the most important thing is that you are giving your dog what it needs to be the happiest and healthiest dog possible.
If you found this article helpful regarding on Interceptor vs. Interceptor Plus, feel free to share it with your dog owner friends on social media. And subscribe to our newsletter for all the most recent blog posts and updates. Thanks for reading!