The Dog Blog

From the Vet

Natural Parasite Prevention for Your Dog Does Not Work — Why It’s Important to Discuss Your Options with Your Veterinarian

by Dr. Eileen Savier CVA, CVCH

Mar 7, 2023

It’s that time of year when one of my “icks” are going to ramp back up again. Random people will use their social media accounts to spread misinformation that will cause someones dog harm. Natural products for parasite prevention do not work, if you use it and truly have not had a problem you have been very lucky! If you have discussed your choices with your veterinarian and know the risks of not using prevention you have made an informed decision. If any advise is given to other people it should be to have a discussion with a medical professional so that person then has the opportunity to make their own decision about their pets. Your personal experience can not be duplicated in another persons situation.

I have said it before and I will keep saying it- All pet’s should be on monthly heart worm, flea, and tick prevention. This is essential to preventing disease. All products have their pro’s and con’s and they all serve a purpose. There is not a once size fits all option for every family. My main priority is to find an option that makes you comfortable, that you will be compliant giving, and that will protect your dog from harm. Sometimes your ideal option might not be the best choice due to a previous poor reaction or an underlying medical condition your pet has developed.

I know that a previous bad experiences with a medication can be difficult to overcome but this shouldn’t prevent you from discussing your concerns with your veterinarian and protecting your pet. There are so many options available to prevent disease in your pet that together we should be able to come up with a plan that you are comfortable with.

Unless you have been the one to discuss a diagnosis of heartworm disease with a family, been the one to inject a painful medication deep into the back muscles of a dog, or euthanize a dog who has developed a thromboembolus after treatment you should not be offering medical advise.

This is not meant to judge or cause someone to feel shameful for the choices they have made for their pet. It is to encourage you to discuss choices and options with your veterinarian so there are no surprises. To encourage owners not to offer medical advise to others but to have honest conversations with the veterinarian you have entrusted your pet’s care too. This can be challenging on both sides of the table and I sometimes think it boils down to miscommunication. Instead of both parties having patience and empathy for each others position it becomes more of a Mexican standoff. This leads to frustration for the owner and the veterinary staff and in the end the animal that everyone wants the best for suffers.

In situations where monthly prevention is not an option than the frequency of screening needs to be increased. So thinking about stool samples every 3 months and heart worm and tick born testing every 6 months. If you do find parasites on your pet it is important to submit them for infectious disease testing.

So this is an annual reminder to discuss parasite prevention with your veterinarian, for veterinary staff to approach everyones choices with kindness and compassion as they are doing what they think is best for their pet- most people give this decision a lot of consideration, and if you are currently giving parasite prevention to keep up the good work!

About Dr. Eileen Savier

Barks & Recreation is proud to feature Dr. Eileen Savier CVA, CVCH as our Veterinary Blogger in our “From the Vet” Series — offering information related to the health and welfare of your furry family members! Currently part of the team of doctors at Keystone Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Savier is a 2012 Graduate of the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, She completed her clinical experience at The Ohio State University and after veterinary school she pursued further education and certification in Veterinary Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Fear Free veterinary visits. Dr. Savier has a special interest in integrative medicine, animal behavior, and internal medicine and is committed to improving animal health care by integrating Eastern and Western philosophies. She enjoys working with fearful & aggressive dogs and cats and she has had additional training in low stress handling techniques and encourages positive reinforcement during exams and procedures. Her clinical interests include pain management, animal behavior, geriatric patient care, and internal medicine.

Dr. Savier is a member of the following associations:

Dr. Savier shares her home with two (soon to be three) dogs, two cats, and a toddler. She lovingly refers to her two dogs as Coconut Retrievers as they were rescue dogs she brought home from the island of St. Kitts. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, and planning her next Disney vacation.