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Pet Bucket Blog

The Side Effects of ProHeart Prevention Tablets

 by simone on 30 May 2014 |
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Heartworm disease is the leading cause of death in dogs so preventing it is at the top of the priority list for any dog lover. Heartworm is carried by mosquitoes so infections are very easily spread. An untreated worm infestation will damage your dog's heart and respiratory tract and can lead to heart failure. Thankfully, there are easy and very effective preventative treatments available such as ProHeart.

ProHeart comes in tablet form and is administered once a month to dogs over 4 weeks of age. There are different dosages corresponding to your dog’s weight. As long as the correct dosage is given as directed, then your little bundle of four-legged joy can continue to bound along happily free of any heartworm trouble. 

Before starting any heartworm prevention course you will need to consult your vet. This is a great way to confirm your dog’s weight and correct dosage, but more importantly, your dog will need to be checked to see if heartworm is already present. There can be severe reactions, similar to toxic shock, if preventative medication is given to dogs already infected. Also, adult worms that die may remain in the heart, lungs or pulmonary artery and interrupt or obstruct functionality. ProHeart is a preventative measure and does not treat existing heartworm infections. 

Heartworm inhabit the animal's lungs, heart and pulmonary arteries causing tissue inflammation, blood clotting, thickening of blood vessel walls, heart failure or death. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes. When an infected mosquito bites your dog, the heatworm larvae (microfilariae) are transferred and migrate through the dog's tissue and circulatory system to the lungs, heart and pulmonary arteries. There the larvae feed on blood and grow to maturity.

The signs of a heartworm infection include coughing, shortness of breath, respiratory sounds, fainting, lethargy, weight loss, blood present in the saliva or mucus, abdominal swelling, vomiting and loss of appetite.

ProHeart’s active ingredient is moxidectin which will paralyse and kill any parasitic larvae that has infected the dog during the previous month. The dosage of moxidectin contained in the tablets is low and therefore side effects are very rare. It is safe to use ProHeart on all sizes and breeds, puppies older than 4 weeks and breeding dogs. The recommended dose of moxidectin in ProHeart of 3 mcg/kg (1.36 mcg/lb) body weight was 100% effective in preventing the development of a one month-old heartworm infection


Consult your vet before treating with ProHeart any sick, debilitated, elderly, underweight dogs or those that have a history of weight loss and allergies. 

As with any medication, there is the potential for unpleasant side effects or adverse drug reactions for dogs that have an individual sensitivity or allergy. Testing has shown that ProHeart is extremely safe and well tolerated when administered as directed. 

Sensitive Breeds
Some dog breeds have a mutation in the multi-drug resistance gene (MDR1) making them more sensitive to moxidectin. This gene mutation occurs mostly in breeds such as Collies, Long-haired Whippets, Australian Shepherds, McNab, English and German Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs and Silken Windhounds. ProHeart has been found suitable and safe for use on these breeds. The only way to know whether your dog is affected by the MDR-1 mutation is for a vet to run tests. If you know your dog has the mutation, than consult your vet before starting any heartworm prevention. 

Any adverse side effects that do arise are usually a result from an incorrect dosage being administered or hypersensitivity. If you notice any of the following reactions, take your dog to the vet immediately:

  • Lethargy 
  • Loss of appetite or thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Hives
  • Depression
  • Excessive Saliva
  • Ataxia (uncoordinated movements)
  • Difficulty or laboured breathing
  • Oedema (fluid retention and swelling)
  • Anaphylaxis (allergic reaction)
  • Low body temperature
  • Disorientation
  • Trembling or muscle twitching
  • Dilation of the pupils
  • Blindness
  • Coma

Heartworm disease is the number one killer of dogs and ProHeart is a trialled and tested preventative treatment approved for dogs of all sizes and breeds, puppies, breeding and stud dogs. It’s an effective and easy tablet given each month to ensure that your dog remains protected. 


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