Heartgard is a medication for heartworms and other parasites in dogs and cats that contains two active ingredients: ivermectin and pyrantel. There are also some versions of Heartgard that contain only ivermectin.
Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic agent that is effective against several different types of parasites. It is even prescribed to humans in some cases, and it can be used to treat several types of worm infestations. Pyrantel is a deworming agent that is used in several animals to treat hookworms and roundworms.
Heartgard is prescribed by veterinarians to treat and prevent heartworms, hookworms, roundworms and other intestinal parasites. If a dog is positive for heartworms, Heartgard may be prescribed but only under the strict supervision of a veterinarian.
Ivermectin and Pyrantel are Available as Generics
Generic Heartgard typically contains ivermectin by itself or combined with pyrantel or another drug. Both of these drugs are available as generic medications under the name Ivermectin or Pyrantel or other generic brand names. There are several benefits and disadvantages to using generic versions of these medications.
For one, Heartgard is manufactured with a very strict process that ensures the highest quality for the medication. Heartgard is not just a combination of pyrantel and ivermectin, it is a unique medication that is easy for many dog and cat breeds to consume. Generic versions of these drugs might not be as easy to administer to pets. Similarly, the quailty of the generic ivermectin and pyrantel is not necessarily guaranteed as there are some non-FDA approved versions on the market.
There are safe and high quality generic versions of Heartgard, however they should always be checked with a licensed veterinarian to be fully certain. Also, some generic Heartgard medications may use the metric system which results in more difficult in administering the proper dose. Generic Heartgard may or may not be cheaper than regular Heartgard depending on the pharmacy and the deal that is offered, so a lower price is not always guaranteed.
Generic Medications May be More Confusing
Veterinarians often prescribe Heartgard in particular because of the quality of the product and tablet. They know exactly what amounts of ivermectin and/or pyrantel are in each variety of Heartgard, but for generic versions there are wide variations. Because some generic versions include various other active or inactive ingredients, and the amounts per dose vary, administering the proper dose amount can be confusing for an owner. Improper dosage is potentially dangerous.
Although Heartgard may cost more than generic counterparts, it may be worth the few extra dollars for the pet owner’s peace of mind. The medication is guaranteed to be easy to administer once properly prescribed by a veterinarian. And, avoiding the potential problem of underdosing or overdosing the medication is another great benefit.