Heartguard Medicine & Seizures

Heartgard prevents heartworms, but what about the side effects?
Heartgard prevents heartworms, but what about the side effects? (Image: pill image by Henryk Olszewski from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Owners can give their pets some form of heartworm medication to help keep them healthy. Certain medications, such as Heartgard, contain Ivermectin—a drug known to cause seizures in dogs.


According to the VeterinaryPartner.com article “Ivermectin,” that the drug is used for the monthly prevention of heartworm infection and clearing larvae in active infections. Heartgard contains a low dose insecticide to kill heartworms as a preventative measure.

Side Effects

The article “Side Effects Associated with Ivermectin Use” at Vetinfo.com lists the side effects of the drug found in Heartgard, which include seizures. Mixing the medication with other drugs can also cause adverse reactions.

Medication Sensitivity

Collies, Shetland and Old English sheepdogs are genetically predisposed to Ivermectin sensitivity. Vetinfo.com recommends performing a blood test to determine a dog’s sensitivity. Also, Heartgard contains a low enough level of Ivermectin to be considered safe even in sensitive dogs.

Alternative Methods

If using Heartgard causes a dog to have seizures, preventative measures are available. A healthy diet, exercise, less stress, homeopathic remedies and a mosquito-free environment all serve as alternative methods to heartworm prevention.


The Vetinfo.com article “Side Effects of Canine Heartworm Meds” warns that many medications have side effects, but considering the painful death heartworms cause, pet owners often choose to use medications such as Heartgard.

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