Nuheart heartworm preventive is a medication used to prevent parasitic infection of heartworms in dogs. Nuheart is the generic medication for the more widely known HeartGuard. The active ingredient is ivermectin which causes paralysis and death of the heartworms. Although this medication is commonly used and there is a wide margin of safety, there are still some dangers associated with the medication.
Nuheart is available in three doses; 68mcg for dogs up to 25 pounds, 136mcg for dogs 26 to 50 pounds and 272 mcg for dogs 51 to 100 pounds. Nuheart is small, even for the larger dogs, making dosing much easier on both dog and owner. Nuheart has a sweet meaty taste that dogs love, but in difficult dosing cases it can be dissolved in water and then mixed with their food.
Nuheart should not be used in dogs under 6 weeks old as even the smallest doses could be dangerous to young puppies.
The drug ivermectin has been known to be toxic in dogs of the herding breeds. Therefore collies, Shetland sheepdogs, Australian shepherds, Old English sheepdogs, and mixes of these breeds should not take Nuheart. Signs of drug toxicity include excessive drooling, vomiting, tremors, disorientation, weakness, blindness, slow heart rate, seizure, coma and even death.
Nuheart should not be given if the animal is also taking tranquilizers like Valium. Nuheart should also not be used in animals treated with Amitraz dips or flea collars as together the effects can produce sedation and adverse neurological events.
Dogs currently infected with heartworms should not take Nuheart as the presence of circulating microfilariae can cause diarrhea. Keep the medication out of reach of the animal as overdose is possible. Overdose causes drug toxicity inducing the symptoms described above.