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Interceptor for Dogs

February 19th, 2020
Interceptor for Dogs

No parasites are pleasant, but some are worse than others when it comes to infection. These parasites are not only infectors that make you squeamish at the thought of their presence but their effects on your dog can go from minimal invasiveness up to threatening their life.

There are medications that your dog’s veterinarian will suggest depending on their concerns about the type of infections your pup may encounter in their life. Every parasite whether it be a small bug or a large worm will do damage in its own particular way. Some can be hard-hitting while others you may not even know they are affecting your dog. Their impact on your dog’s health can be made worse depending on your dog’s current state of well being. If your dog is already struggling with age or health issues, an internal parasite may really be difficult to deal with, whereas a strong young adult dog may not even flinch at their presence. As with any infection, the more your dog has in its system, the more they are going to be negatively affected by their existence. The same goes for parasites. The more parasites that have settled into internally in your dog, there will be increased difficulty in your pup maintaining good health and well being.

Many parasites that affect animals will not have the same effect on people, however, some are transferable between not only different animal species but to humans as well. If you are like most dog owners, you interact with your pup a lot on a daily basis and don’t stay at arm's length so its important your dog has regular vet check-ups and go for a special appointment if you think something is out of sorts with their health to protect both them and you. It's important to be up to speed on how to not only prevent parasites but to be able to treat any that might already be infecting your pet. By being vigilant about parasite prevention and maintaining your dog’s health, you will keep both your dog and your household healthy and protected from parasites. 

Interceptor Tablets for Dogs

Interceptor, also known as Milbemycin Oxime, is a medication that is taken monthly by your dog to prevent heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) and treat and control infections due to adult whipworm (Trichuris vulpis), adult roundworm (Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina) and adult hookworm (Ancylostoma caninum). It is also used for the treatment of ticks and mites. These particular parasites are as invasive as they sound and can do a significant amount of damage to your dog’s health if given the chance. Prevention rather than treatment is the best approach as it saves your dog the discomfort of the infection along with what can be expensive treatment bills.

Interceptor begins treatment by interfering with the central nervous system of the larvae of heartworms that may be in your dog. It has to attack the larvae stage as it will not be effective against adult heartworms. It also will treat adult hookworms, remove whipworms and adult roundworms as well as controlling mites and ticks. The fact that it aims to prevent as well as nip the parasites early is beneficial to caring for your pet and lessening the amount of long term treatment needed.

Interceptor is fed to your dog orally once per month to make sure prevention of the 4 worms and other parasites is in place and fighting any potential outbreak in your dog. You should make sure it’s the same day each month to be assured of full coverage at all times. It can be fed to them by hand, mixed with food or hidden in pill pockets to ensure it is eaten. Offering it with food is beneficial as it will get the medication into their system quickly.

This medication is thoroughly safety tested and approved by the FDA. It was tested proving that it was safe for over 75 dog breeds, dogs who are pregnant, dogs that are used for breeding both male and female and puppies older than 2 weeks. While they have different listings on the packaging, that is done to make sure that there is no chance of the medication harming your dog. They are doing further testing on dogs that are pregnant or breeding to reverify the original test results. All you need to do is follow your vet and the package instructions to begin protecting your pet. It's easy to give to your pup, as it has flavorful chewy tablets that are easy to eat and digest.

What Parasites does Interceptor Prevent in my Dog?

What Parasites does Interceptor Prevent in my Dog

Interceptor works at protecting your pet from various forms of parasites that can harm your dog and potentially infect your household. While this medicine covers the prevention (not removal) of fleas, its stronger points of protection are found in dealing with the worm form of parasites, ticks, and mites.

  • Heartworm

Heartworm, Dirofilaria immitis, is one of the more problematic worms and the main reason for yearly doggie check-ups. This particular worm invades your pups’ heart and lungs and can cause damage to both organs eventually leading to heart failure. These worms can grow up to 12” long in the adult stage and look like spaghetti. Your dog can be infected by more than one worm at a time. These worms are introduced to your dog through mosquitos which is why Interceptor is given at the start of mosquito season and is taken until the season is over.

While it is not always easy to know if your pup has heartworm, there are symptoms that will warn you of a potential infection:

  • Cough due to lung activity
  • Asthmatic type breathing
  • No interest in being active
  • Lethargic
  • Loss of interest in their food
  • Weight reduction
  • Abdomen bloat

Heartworm is very dangerous to your dog as it is dealing with the heart and respiratory systems and needs aggressive treatment which can get expensive. Prevention is the best way to keep your pet healthy and reduce vet costs.

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Interceptor Tablets for Dogs 11-25 lbs & Cats 1.5-6 lbs, 6 treatments
  • Roundworm

These parasites are ascarids that can live in your dog and survive in the intestines. They are white or light brown and a few inches in length. They are often visible in a dog’s stool or vomit. Not all dogs seem to show signs of infection, but some do. Here is what you may observe:

  • Swollen tummy
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Tummy pain
  • Loss of weight

If you think your dog might be infected with roundworms, then your vet can complete a test for verification. If it is positive, your dog will be given meds to kill the worms and a med like Interceptor to work on prevention. Puppies are at high risk of getting these particular parasites through their moms before birth and in their milk after birth. Once a dog has ingested the eggs, the larvae go into their liver and windpipe. Once your dog coughs they swallow the larvae into the GI tract where they mature into adult worms. They lay eggs and the cycle starts again. This becomes very problematic if it's in a litter of puppies so vets will do deworming early on to make sure they are healthy.

  • Whipworm

Whipworm, Trichuris Vulpis, is a parasite that your dog gets when they eat something that is infected in their environment. They can also get it from other infected animals. The reason preventative medication is necessary is the eggs can live in a particular environment for a few months up to years at a time. The eggs can live in soil, food, water, poop or decaying matter for long periods until they find the proper host. It's very hard to get them out of an area once they have settled in. You may notice signs in your dog that they have whipworm, but this doesn’t always happen as some dogs do not present any symptoms. However, you may see:

  • Symptoms of intestinal inflammation
  • Blood in diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Anemia
  • Loss of weight
  • Visual sightings of the eggs in their poop

Once if you think your dog may have whipworm, you will need a vet visit and medication. As with most parasites, prevention is far easier and cheaper to deal with than having to cure an infestation.

Interceptor Tablets for Dogs 26-50 lbs & Cats 6.1-12 lbs, 6 treatments
  • Hookworms

Hookworms, ancylostoma caninum or ancylostoma basiliense, are small parasites that infect your dog’s intestine. They embed themselves with hook-like teeth or plates. They feed on your dog’s blood vessels and tissue. There can be multiple hookworms in one dog causing blood loss and poor nutrition in your dog. You need to look for symptoms that signal an infestation so your dog can get medication to rectify their health. You may find the following:

  • Anemia due to the hookworm feeding
  • White gums and lips
  • Weariness
  • No interest in food
  • Diarrhea with blood
  • Itchy skin
  • Cough if larvae in the respiratory system

As with all parasites, this worm manifestation is important to get control of as it can lead to more serious issues if left untreated. Your dogs’ vet can verify the infection and then offer medication to end the infection and work on preventative measures for the future. Anything dealing with the lungs needs prompt attention to halt secondary infections.

  • Mites

Parasites that are mites that are problematic for your dog as they are not only uncomfortable, they are transferable. Sarcoptes scabiei, which is the one that instigates mange, and ear mites are preventable if Interceptor is given on a monthly basis.

Parasites that are mites that are problematic for your dog

Sarcoptes scabiei (scabies) is not simple to get rid of once they infest your dog. These mites dig into your pup’s skin leaving their larvae behind. This infestation becomes cyclical as they hatch, reinfect with larvae and grow. Their numbers multiply making your pup sicker. While these mites only survive two to six days, they can reinfect numerous times during that period. They can infect animals and humans who are in contact with the infected dog. They cause itching and scratching which can lead to skin bumps, sores, scabs and loss of fur. It's crucial to prevent these mites before their infection irritates your dog and leads to the possibility of a secondary bacterial or yeast infection.

Ear mites, Otodectes cynotis, are bugs that infect the ear canal. These mites are able to transfer to various parts of the dog’s anatomy with the chance of instigating secondary infections along the way. They cause ear odor and you may notice your pup shaking their head and itching and scratching their ears should they have one of these mites. They will also get a rash or dry skin around the area as well.

  • Ticks

Ticks, also labeled Dermacentor variabilis, are a problem for canines as the ticks choose them over other potential animal hosts. You want to use Interceptor as a preventative medicine while keeping your pup away from places like thick brush and long grass that have ticks. Stay away from wooded areas as they are hiding ticks well and are prime infection places.

Interceptor Tablets for Dogs 51-100 lbs & Cats 12.1-25 lbs, 6 treatments
  • Restrictions and Dosage of Interceptor for Dogs

Interceptor is a product that can be prescribed by your dogs’ veterinarian that has been given the green light for use in dogs by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is said to be safe for:

  • Puppies older than 4 weeks
  • Dogs over 2lbs
  • Dogs that are tested as heartworm negative

There are some scenarios where Interceptor’s use may be problematic if your dog already has heartworm, is taking other heartworm medication, is under 4 weeks old or under 2lbs.

The first dose has to be administered within 30 days of mosquito season beginning. The doses should continue to be given until at least one month after the season ends. You need to make sure the doses are given every 30 days as if one is late or missed then your dog is no longer protected properly by the medication. Missing a few days is not as problematic as months so if there is a long term gap in the medication, you should seek advice from your dog’s vet to find out the best way to protect them going forward.

Dosages are as follows:

For best protection from the targeted parasites, the minimum dosage that should be given to your dog is .05mg/kg of weight. Dogs who are larger than 100lbs need to assess how much over the white package sized tablet they need to meet their larger proportions. It's important that you speak to a vet about this, so you do not overdose your larger pet.

Dogs up to 10lbs - Brown package with 2.3mg of medication per tablet

Dogs 11-25lbs - Green package with 5.75mg of medication per tablet

Dogs 26-50lbs - Yellow package with 11.5mg of medication per tablet

Dogs 51-100lbs - White package with 23mg of medication per tablet

  • Interceptor Side Effects in Dogs
Interceptor Side Effects in Dogs

Every drug that your dog might take often has the possibility that there will be side effects when your dog takes it. It is rare that dogs have strong reactions to a drug such as Interceptor but it's important to be aware of what these side effects are in case there is a rare instance where your dog experiences one of them. Many side effects occur when a dog is given too much of the product. It should also be noted that some breeds such as collies or other herding type dogs seem to have an increased chance of side effects. Dogs who are already heartworm-positive and have numerous ones already in their system may also react negatively to the product.

Some of the side effects named include:

  • Depression
  • No energy
  • Vomiting
  • Wobbly on their feet
  • No interest in food
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Excessive salivation or drooling
  • Allergic reaction to pork flavoring
  • Coma
  • Death
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While the list of side effects can look overwhelming, this is truly a safe drug that has been well tested over time. Side effects are listed to make sure that a dog owner knows that there may be issues they need to watch for in extenuating circumstances. Many of these side effects can be dealt with and managed. The extreme ones are rare and often come from ignoring the less drastic ones.

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Interceptor Tablets for Dogs

Interceptor Tablets for Dogs, 2-10 lbs, 6 treatments

Interceptor Tablets for Dogs 11-25 lbs & Cats 1.5-6 lbs, 6 treatments

Interceptor Tablets for Dogs 11-25 lbs & Cats 1.5-6 lbs, 6 treatments

Interceptor Tablets for Dogs 26-50 lbs & Cats 6.1-12 lbs, 6 treatments

Interceptor Tablets for Dogs 26-50 lbs & Cats 6.1-12 lbs, 6 treatments

Interceptor Tablets for Dogs 51-100 lbs & Cats 12.1-25 lbs, 6 treatments

Interceptor Tablets for Dogs 51-100 lbs & Cats 12.1-25 lbs, 6 treatments

Final Thoughts

Interceptor for dogs is a great preventative medication that takes on the nastier side of the parasite family. Working to prevent heart, whip, hook, and roundworms along with ticks and mites is not only good to protect your dog but your household as well. Not only are some of these parasites harmful to your dog but they can affect the health of other pets and family members that are exposed to them as well.

Once these parasites make their way into your pup, you are looking at potential serious illness and expensive vet bills. If you can prevent them, you are saving both your dog and you some undue stress and aggravation. The dosing is easy and certainly is worth using to protect them from avoidable infection and illness. Using Interceptor is a good way to keep your dog healthy and happy by avoiding the potential of debilitating parasitic infection.