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Frequently Asked Questions

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Please browse our Frequently Asked Questions for information on Canada Drugs. If you don’t see any answer to your questions, or want to speak directly to us, please email us at [email protected] or call 1-800-226-3784 to speak to a Patient Service Representative 24-7.

What is the difference between Frontline Plus, Advantix and Advantage?

All of these products are monthly topically applied to your pet's skin at the back of the neck. All will start to work within 24 hours of application.

Advantage contains an ingredient called imidacloprid, which kills adult fleas, as well as flea larvae on cats and dogs for up to a month after application. It also has a claim to kill lice for up to 6 weeks in dogs.

The same manufacturer as Advantage makes Advantix. This product also contains imidacloprid, so has the same activity against fleas as Advantage. In addition, it also contains permethrin, to repel and kill ticks, mosquitoes and sand flies for a month. Permethrin is toxic to cats, so Advantix is only for use in dogs.

Frontline Plus contains two ingredients, which kills adult fleas and flea larvae on cats and dogs. In addition, it is effective in killing ticks for a full month.

What is the difference between Frontline Plus and Frontline Top Spot?

Frontline Top Spot and Frontline Plus both contain fipronil, so they offer the same killing activity against adult fleas and ticks. However, Frontline Plus also contains an ingredient called methoprene, which kills flea eggs and larvae. Frontline Plus controls all stages of the flea life cycle, and aids in environmental control of fleas. Owners generally report much better flea control when using Frontline Plus.

What is the difference between Heartgard and the Heartgard generic?

Both the generic and name brand Heartgard product contain the same ingredient, ivermectin, at the same dose. So these products are the same in terms of safety and effectiveness. In Australia, generics (and the manufacturing facilities in which they are made) are rigorously checked and tested in order to be registered and sale of the product allowed. So you can be assured of the quality of the product when purchasing it. When used as directed, it will provide the same protection for your dog against heartworm infection, as Heartgard will.

Please note that the generic heartworm product we offer is the same as Heartgard, not Heartgard Plus. As such, it prevents heartworms but does not control roundworms and hookworms like Heartgard Plus does. Please note that both the Heartgard and generic Heartgard that we offer come in hard tablets, not meat-flavoured chewable like Heartgard Plus.

What is the difference between Revolution, Frontline Plus, Advantix and Advantage?
All are effective flea treatments, which contain different ingredients, which means some of them have activity against other parasites also. They are all once monthly topical treatments.

Revolution kills adult fleas and prevents the egg stages of fleas hatching. It also provides heartworm prevention and treats ear mites in cats and dogs. It treats sacroptes mites and the American Dog Tick in dogs and intestinal worms - roundworms and hookworms - in cats.

Frontline will kill adult fleas as well as larval and egg stages of fleas. It also has activity against all 4 major ticks in cats and dogs.

Advantage kills adult and larval flea stages in both cats and dogs.

Advantix kills adult and larval flea stages and repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes and sandflies for a month. It also kills lice for 6 weeks. This product is only for use in dogs as one of the ingredients is toxic to cats.

Which flea product is best for your pet depends on where you live, the time of year - and so which other parasites you need to be concerned about - and if you are using any other medications to prevent or treat them (for example another heartworm treatment). All four are great products, which are safe and effective to use.

What is the difference between Heartgard, Revolution and Sentinel?

All three of these products (as well as the Heartgard generic medications) are highly effective heartworm preventatives. They all contain different ingredients, so some also treat other parasites.

In addition to heartworm prevention, Revolution kills adult fleas and prevents egg stages of fleas hatching. It also treats ear mites in cats and dogs. It treats sacroptes mites and the American Dog Tick in dogs and intestinal worms - roundworms and hookworms - in cats. It is a once monthly topical liquid applied to the skin. In dogs, it will be necessary to treat for intestinal worms with another product.

Heartgard, and the generic medications containing ivermectin (the active ingredient in Heartgard) prevent heartworm disease. PetDrugs sells these as once monthly tablets. Heartgard has no effect on fleas or intestinal worms, so it will be necessary to treat for these with another product, or products.

Sentinel prevents heartworm disease, and treats roundworms, whipworms and hookworms in dogs. It contains an additional ingredient that breaks the flea life cycle by inhibiting flea egg development. It may be necessary to kill the adult fleas with another product in addition to using Sentinel.

Which product you use depends on the time of year, the areas you live in, and so which other parasites you need to control and whether you wish to combine the heartworm prevention with other parasite treatments. All of these are very good products which are both safe and effective.

What is the difference between Heartgard Plus and Heartgard?

Heartgard Plus contains ivermectin and pyrantel. Heartgard tablets contain only ivermectin. Both products prevent heartworm disease in exactly the same way and with the same reliability, when dosed once a month as recommended. However, Heartgard Plus also controls roundworms and hookworms in dogs, due to the added ingredient. When using Heartgard, it may therefore be necessary to treat for these intestinal worms also, as advised by your veterinarian.

How does Capstar differ from the topical treatments?

Capstar is a tablet that kills fleas rapidly. When a pet swallows Capstar, the active component (nitenpyram) is absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, so when fleas bite your pet, they get a toxic dose of the chemical with their blood meal and die. Fleas start to die within 15-30 minutes of ingesting the chemical. All fleas will be killed by 24 hours. However, this does not protect pets for a month. It is excreted from the pet's body within 48 hours.

The topical treatments, such as Frontline, Advantage or Revolution are effective for a month after treatment and most will kill a wider range of parasites than just fleas.

Do I need to use flea treatment all year round?

Whilst the cold winter months may mean that fleas will not survive outdoors, the warmth of your home means that fleas can survive indoors year round and infect your pets. For good flea control, it is recommended to treat throughout the whole year.

What is the minimum age that kittens must be to be treated with flea products?

When treating fleas on kittens, check the label to see if there is an age limit. Products generally tell you what age the kitten must be before they can start having the product.

There are a range of flea control products available for treating fleas on kittens. When treating fleas on kittens, be sure to read all the product labels very carefully before putting them on your kitten. Some chemicals (e.g. certain permethrins and pyrethrins) are highly toxic to cats and will cause extreme neurological side effects, including death. Do not put dog products on cats, unless it specifically states the product can be used in cats. Be especially careful with "cheap" supermarket brand flea products when treating fleas on kittens. Flea collars, flea washes, flea rinses, flea sprays, flea shampoos and flea powders often contain pyrethrins and permethrins. If using such products, read these labels extra carefully to check they are cat and kitten safe.

What is the minimum age that puppies must be to be treated with flea products?

Some products that kill fleas on dogs can also be used on puppies as young as 4 weeks. Check the label to see if there is an age limit. Products generally tell you what age the puppy must be before they can start having the product. For puppies younger than 4 weeks, you will need to groom your puppy with a flea comb, or pick fleas off with a tweezers. Be sure to keep the puppies warm while you're working with them; wash the bedding; vacuum the surroundings; and treat the mother.

Fleas can remove enough blood to make puppies anemic, so confirm your pup's gums are pink. Watch for rice-like dried tapeworm segments at the rectum or in the stool in the next several weeks because fleas carry tapeworms.

What prevention options are available for ticks?

There is a wide range of products available for tick control. They work in slightly different ways and have different lengths of protection from ticks, and some products are effective against a broader range of ticks than other products.

The commonly used products to kill and/or repel ticks include:
Frontline: This range of products (topical liquids and a spray-on formulation) are registered for the control of all four common ticks (Brown Dog Ticks, American Dog Ticks, Lone Star Ticks and Deer Ticks) in the US for 30 days, however it may take 24-48 hours to kill the ticks, so daily inspections are recommended. The Frontline range of products are not tick repellents. Frontline is also effective against fleas and chewing lice on cats and dogs and aids in the control of sacroptic mange in dogs. This is available through PetDrugs without a prescription.

Preventic collars: These tick prevention collars for dogs consist of a thin strap of plastic impregnated with amitraz. This slowly liberates the product in a sufficient concentration to kill all four common ticks (Brown Dog Ticks, American Dog Ticks, Lone Star Ticks and Deer Ticks) for up to three months. The dog should be inspected daily for ticks in high-risk areas. Take care not to allow the dog to chew on the collars, as they can be quite poisonous if ingested. These collars are also available through Pet Drugs.

Revolution: Revolution is effective against the American Dog Tick - it makes no claim regarding the other 3 common ticks found in the US. The label warns that in heavy tick infestations, complete tick efficacy may not be achieved after the first dose, so an additional dose may be given two weeks after the first dose, with monthly dosing continuing thereafter. In dogs, Revolution is also effective against fleas, heartworm, ear mites, and sarcoptic mange. In cats, Revolution is effective against fleas, heartworm, ear mites, roundworm and hookworm - it has no tick claim.

Note that Pet Drugs also carries two rinses for ticks - Permoxin and Demadex. These are applied to dogs after a bath. Weekly rinses of these products are required.

K9 Advantix: This is a topical liquid treatment for dogs, which prevents further tick infestation for four weeks. Ticks already on the dog at time of treatment will be killed but remain attached and visible. Treatment with Advantix should start before the first expected exposure to ticks. Application at one-month intervals will control the four major ticks in the US (Brown Dog Ticks, American Dog Ticks, Lone Star Ticks and Deer Ticks). Advantix also repels ticks and kills fleas. During tick season, daily searching for ticks is recommended.

What products do you carry for mange in dogs?

"Mange" means an infection with mites and can be caused by quite a few different types of mites in dogs. The three main types of mites affecting dogs are Sarcoptes (scabies) mites, Demodex mites and Ear mites. Only the first two tend to be referred to as "mange", though. Some are harder to treat than others, so it depends on the type of mange as to what the treatment required will be.

Sarcoptic mange, or "scabies" can be treated with the product Revolution. This is a monthly topical liquid treatment that goes on the back of a dog's neck. It treats fleas, prevents heartworm and treats ear mites and sarcoptes mites in dogs. Two monthly treatments were found to have 100% efficacy in eradicating these mites in product trials. PetDrugs also carries Demadex Acaricidal Dog Wash, which is effective in treating Sarcoptic mange - normally 3-6 weekly treatments will be required. Frontline, another monthly topical liquid treatment for fleas and ticks, also has a claim to aid in the control of scabies. Note that some dogs will continue to itch even after Scabies mites are killed, due to an allergy to the mites, or secondary bacterial infections, so anti-inflammatory or antibiotic treatment may be required to fully resolve the problem - a veterinary prescription will be required for either of these treatments.

Demodectic mange (or "red mange") is much more difficult to treat. With Sarcoptes mites, the mites are near the surface of the skin, but Demodex mites are deep in the hair follicles of the animal, so are more difficult for products to reach. Demadex shampoo can also be used for this at a higher concentration than for scabies treatment, for a much longer period. However, some animals may require ivermectin injections - these are off-label use of the product and can only be performed by your own veterinarian.

Ear mites can be treated with Revolution (onto the neck, not into the ear). Alternatively, Pet Drugs carries a number of ear canker drops, such as Ilium Ear Canker Drops, which contain pyrethrins. These are effective in treating ear mites, but must be used twice daily for up to a month to completely cure the mite infestation.

Can I bathe my pet while using topical flea treatments?

Frontline Plus, Revolution, Advantage and Advantix are all water fast or waterproof. Pets may be bathed, go swimming or play in the rain when these products are applied and they will remain effective for the whole month. Pets treated with Frontline Plus may be bathed once the application area appears dry, usually 24 -48 hours. If Frontline is to be applied after a bath, the manufacturers recommend that owners make sure the pet is completely dry before application.

Revolution is very quick drying, so pets may be bathed just two hours after the product is applied and the product will remain effective.

Advantage and Advantix also remain effective after bathing or water immersion. The company that manufactures these products has found that pets may be bathed from 2 days after the products have been applied and they will remain effective.

Does my dog need to be tested for heartworm before taking Heartgard?

Yes. Before an adult dog commences heartworm prevention medication, it is recommended that a blood test should be performed to ensure the dog does not already have adult heartworms living in it's heart. The prevention medications are not effective in killing adult heartworms. A veterinarian will need to treat the dog with a different medication if it has adult heartworm. On rare occasions, dogs with heartworm infection can have a shock-like reaction if given preventative medication, which is why it is important to rule this out first! Dogs which have been on a different heartworm medication can simply swap over to Heartgard when their next dose is due, so long as there have not been any doses missed. If any doses have been missed, consult your veterinarian for advice. Dogs under 4 months of age do not have to have a heartworm test, as they cannot have any adult worms in their heart. It takes around 6 months from the time a dog is infected by a mosquito to the time adult heartworms will be present in the heart - obviously this is impossible in a four month old puppy! Most veterinarians will recommend prevention starts at the time of their final puppy vaccinations. However, Heartgard can be started as early as 6 weeks of age.

Do I need to give a heartworm preventative year-round?

Mosquitoes transmit heartworm. Heartworm preventatives work by killing any baby worms transmitted by a mosquito in the past month, before they can make their way to the heart and cause problems. The length of the transmission season for heartworm varies throughout the US, depending on the temperature. The use of heartworm preventatives may be considered seasonal in some of the northernmost parts of the United States, with low temperatures during winter, but is required year round in the southern parts. The heartworm preventative season that veterinarians recommend depends upon the transmission pattern in the state and the individual dog's activity profile. Your veterinarian is the best person to advise you what is appropriate for your dog, based on all of these factors. Remember that if you travel out of state with your dog, the preventative season may change.

What are the signs of overdosing heartworm medications?

Adverse reactions are very uncommon with heartworm medications - allergic reactions to the bases of the drugs are more common than toxicity of the drugs themselves. The safety margin for ivermectin, one of the most common ingredients used, in most breeds of dog is well over 100 times the usual dose used for heartworm prevention, but in collies is about 16 times - so still a large overdose is required to see any adverse signs even in this breed. The reason for this is that some breeding lines of Collies do not have a particular protein in their blood-brain barrier which regulates the entry of ivermectin (and other drugs of the same class, called macrocyclic lactones and including drugs such as milbemycin, selamectin etc), so the drug can move freely into the brain and cause nervous problems. Its entry is not blocked by the protein carrier system, where as in other breeds, this protein slows the entry of the drugs into the brain. In very young animals, the blood-brain barrier is not completely closed, so again, the drug can enter freely and cause nervous signs, and this is one reason that the macrocyclic lactones is not recommended to be given to newborn pups. The signs seen with ivermectin toxicity include dilated pupils, vomiting, drooling, depression, unsteady gait, and tremors. The signs can progress to coma or even death in some cases. But at the doses for heartworm prevention, it is extremely unlikely that any of these signs would occur, so owners can feel confident in giving the tablets to their dog. However, should any of these signs be seen, it is recommended that a veterinarian is contacted immediately for advice and appropriate treatment.

What is the minimum age that heartworm products can be used in puppies?

Heartgard and Generics can be used from 6 weeks in pups, as can Revolution. Sentinel and Interceptor can be used from 4 weeks of age and 2lb weight in pups. Most veterinarians will encourage you to commence heartworm prevention in your puppy before 8 weeks of age, depending on the when they were born in relation to the heartworm transmission season. Your veterinarian will be able to advise when the heartworm transmission season in your area is, and when the best time to start your pup on preventative medication is.

What is the minimum age that heartworm products can be used in kittens?

Revolution can be used in kittens from 8 weeks of age. Interceptor can be started at 6 weeks or 1.5lbs in weight. Discuss with your veterinarian when the heartworm transmission season in your area is (this varies from state to state) and they will be able to advise the appropriate time to start your kitten on preventative medication.

My pet has had an adverse reaction to / been poisoned by a product. What should I do?

Discontinue the product straight away - do not give the next dose. In any possible case of poisoning, we recommend that you consult your veterinarian immediately and they will be able to advise the appropriate treatment. Also, you or your veterinarian should contact the manufacturer of the product and make them aware of the reaction. There are also some poisoning assistance hotlines specifically for animals: The Animal Poison Hotline on 888-232-8870 or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center on 888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435). There is a fee for these services. If it is a human who has been poisoned, contact your family doctor or a hospital immediately. If you have a poisoning emergency, the American Association of Poison Control Centers can be contacted on 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911.

What treatments do you offer for arthritis?

Pet Drugs currently offers a selection of both prescription and non-prescription arthritis remedies. We have natural products such as Cosequin and Benelox, which can be purchased without a prescription, as well as medications such as Rimadyl and Deramaxx, which can be purchased with a prescription from your veterinarian. The natural products tend to work to repair the joint damage associated with arthritis and can take a little longer to work than the prescription medications. The prescription medications are anti-inflammatory, which reduce the pain and inflammation in arthritic joints more quickly, however can have more severe side effects than the natural medications, in particular digestive upsets.

What should I do for my dog's ear infection?

The signs of ear disease are very similar for many different types of problem. Allergies, ear mites, bacterial or fungal infections, a foreign object such as a grass seed in the ear all appear similarly. Dogs shake their heads, rub their ears, may have a red ear, a smelly discharge or in severe cases a head tilt or hearing loss. Your veterinarian is the best person to diagnose the type of problem causing the signs, and can recommend the appropriate treatment. Many topical treatments should not be used if the animal has a ruptured ear drum as they can cause deafness or balance problems. Ear cleaners can be purchased without prescription, and are a useful adjunct to many of the prescription treatments. There are treatments for ear mites available without prescription also. Most of the strong antibiotic drops required to cure a bacterial or yeast infection of the ear do require a prescription, however.

What is Canex?

Canex is a brand of allwormer products for dogs that is manufactured by Pfizer. The tablets and chewable contain the ingredients pyrantel, oxantel and praziquantel. This combination of ingredients is effective against all common intestinal worms in dogs, specifically roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and whipworm. These are available in a variety of strengths, to match the weight of your dog. The puppy suspension is chocolate flavoured and contains pyrantel, which will treat puppies for roundworms and hookworms - other intestinal worms are not a concern until they get a little older.

What are the worming recommendations for puppies?

Puppies can contract some intestinal worms from their mother before even being born, but it takes a few weeks after birth before these worms find their way to the intestine and mature, which is when they can start to cause problems. Puppies should therefore have their first worming treatment at 2 weeks of age - a product effective against roundworms and hookworms should be used. Puppies should then be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks of age. At the 12 week worming, a product effective against whipworms and tapeworms, as well as roundworms and hookworms should be used (most allwormers will cover all these intestinal parasites). The pup should be wormed monthly until 6 months, then can be wormed at least 3 monthly for intestinal worms. Your veterinarian can provide recommendations as to when heartworm prevention should commence, as this will vary from state to state depending on the mosquito season. Note that many heartworm products will also incorporate intestinal worm control.

What are the worming recommendations for kittens?

Kittens should be first wormed at 6 weeks, as they can contract roundworms from their mother's milk while they are suckling. The product you select for early treatment should be effective against roundworms. The kitten needs to be treated every two weeks until 12 weeks of age, then every month until 6 months, then at least every 3 months. Ensure the treatment you choose from 12 weeks is an "allwormer" product, which covers roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms.

What are the worming recommendations for pregnant cats and dogs?

Both cats and dogs should be wormed prior to mating. During pregnancy, the immune system of the animal becomes a little depressed and any worms they may have had in tissues, which were causing no harm, may reactivate and migrate. In dogs, these can head through the placenta to the pups. Therefore, they should also be wormed 10 days before whelping. Then, as worms can be passed to the young via milk, or can form an active infection in the mother's gut, mothers should be wormed every 2 weeks during lactation, until the pups/kittens are weaned. Then, back to the regular 3 monthly worming with an allwormer product for control of all intestinal worms. Heartworm recommendations do not change during pregnancy - a normal preventative program is required during this time. Most heartworm products are safe to use during pregnancy - check with your veterinarian that your usual treatment is one of these.