The tick season brings with it a plethora of concerns for dog owners. Ticks can lead to severe health issues, not just due to their bite, but the diseases they can transmit, such as Lyme disease. Thus, finding a reliable solution to manage these critters is essential. Enter NexGard: an oral medication that has received much attention for its effectiveness against ticks. However, there seems to be some confusion regarding how the drug works.
NexGard and Tick Management
|Action Mechanism||Kills ticks upon ingestion by overstimulating their nervous system.|
|Prevention||Does not prevent initial tick bite but ensures their subsequent death.|
|Effectiveness||Typically kills ticks within 48 hours of biting.|
|Side Effects||Rarely, some dogs might experience side effects. Consult your vet with any concerns.|
|Combination with Other Measures||Can be combined with tick collars or repellents for enhanced protection.|
How Does NexGard Work?
NexGard is an oral medication containing the active ingredient, afoxolaner. This substance is designed to target and kill fleas and ticks by overstimulating their nervous system, causing them to die.
Key Takeaway: NexGard doesn’t repel ticks; it kills them once they bite and start to feed.
Does NexGard Prevent Ticks from Biting?
No, NexGard does not prevent ticks from initially biting the dog. When ticks bite, they ingest the dog’s blood, which contains the medication. Only then does the drug take effect, leading to the death of the tick.
Key Takeaway: While NexGard doesn’t stop the initial bite, it ensures that ticks are killed before they can cause prolonged harm or transmit diseases.
Why Am I Finding Dead Ticks on My Dog?
If you’ve administered NexGard to your dog and still find ticks on them, it’s essential to check if they are alive. Due to the drug’s mechanism, you might discover dead ticks on your pet, indicating that the medication is working effectively.
Key Takeaway: Finding dead ticks on your dog after giving them NexGard is a sign that the medication is doing its job.
How Long Does It Take for NexGard to Kill Ticks?
Typically, NexGard kills ticks within 48 hours of them biting the dog. However, this timeline can vary based on the tick species and other factors.
Key Takeaway: While NexGard works relatively quickly, it doesn’t offer instant results. Regularly check your dog during tick season to ensure their safety.
The Concern of Tick Dermatitis
Sometimes, after a tick bite, you might notice a localized allergic reaction called tick dermatitis. This is not due to the NexGard but a reaction to the tick’s bite. A topical ointment like Neosporin can be applied to the area for relief.
Key Takeaway: Not all skin reactions post a tick bite are due to diseases; sometimes, it’s a mere allergic reaction.
Combining NexGard with Other Preventative Measures
While NexGard is effective on its own, some veterinarians recommend combining it with other preventative measures, such as tick collars, for enhanced protection.
Key Takeaway: For maximum tick prevention, consult your vet about combining NexGard with other protective methods.
NexGard offers an effective solution against the menace of ticks, killing them after they bite. It’s crucial to understand its mechanism to set the right expectations and ensure your furry friend’s safety. Always consult with a vet for a comprehensive tick prevention strategy. Remember, while NexGard is a potent tool in the battle against ticks, regular checks and a multi-faceted approach will ensure your dog’s well-being during tick season.
FAQs: NexGard and Tick Management for Dogs
1. Does NexGard provide any protection against Lyme disease?
NexGard has received FDA approval for its effectiveness in preventing Borrelia burgdorferi infections in dogs, the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease. By killing the ticks that transmit this bacterium, NexGard plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of Lyme disease in dogs.
2. Is NexGard only effective against certain species of ticks?
NexGard is formulated to target a range of tick species, including the black-legged tick, American dog tick, and the lone star tick. However, efficacy may vary slightly between species, so it’s essential to be aware of the prevalent tick types in your area.
3. How often should I administer NexGard to my dog?
NexGard is typically a monthly treatment. It’s crucial to maintain a regular administration schedule to ensure continuous protection against ticks and fleas. Always consult the medication’s guidelines or your vet for the correct dosage and frequency.
4. My dog is still scratching even after I found a dead tick. Why?
Ticks inject an anesthetic into the skin when they bite. This, combined with their saliva, can cause itching and irritation. The scratching might not necessarily indicate a live infestation but could be a reaction to past bites or the tick’s saliva.
5. Are there any side effects associated with NexGard?
While most dogs tolerate NexGard well, some might experience side effects. These can range from vomiting, diarrhea, dry skin, or lethargy. If you notice any adverse reactions or behavioral changes in your dog after administering NexGard, contact your vet immediately.
6. Can I use NexGard all year round?
Absolutely. While ticks are more prevalent during certain seasons, they can be active all year round in some regions. Using NexGard monthly ensures that your dog remains protected regardless of the season.
7. Can NexGard be used in conjunction with other medications or treatments?
Many vets recommend a multi-faceted approach to parasite prevention. NexGard can often be safely combined with other treatments like heartworm or deworming medications. However, always consult your vet before combining treatments to ensure there are no potential interactions.
8. Does NexGard also protect against fleas?
Yes, NexGard is effective in killing both ticks and fleas. It targets the nervous system of these pests, ensuring they die shortly after biting and ingesting the drug.
9. Are there any age or weight restrictions for NexGard?
NexGard is typically prescribed for dogs 8 weeks of age or older, with a weight of 4 pounds or more. However, always adhere to vet recommendations and product guidelines when administering any medication.
10. I missed a dose of NexGard. What should I do?
If you miss a dose, administer NexGard as soon as you remember. Then, continue with the regular monthly schedule. It’s essential to maintain consistent protection, so try setting reminders or alarms to avoid missing future doses.
11. How does NexGard actually kill ticks?
NexGard contains the active ingredient afoxolaner, which interferes with the nervous system of ticks and fleas. When these pests bite a treated dog, they ingest the drug, leading to hyperexcitation, paralysis, and eventually, their death.
12. Can ticks develop resistance to NexGard?
While resistance to treatments can develop over time, there’s currently no widespread evidence suggesting ticks have developed resistance to afoxolaner, NexGard’s active ingredient. Regular and proper usage can help mitigate the risk of resistance.
13. If my dog has a tick allergy, is NexGard still effective?
NexGard will kill ticks that bite your dog, but it doesn’t prevent the bite itself. If your dog is allergic to tick bites (tick hypersensitivity), they might still show reactions to the bite. However, NexGard can reduce the overall number of ticks that attach, thereby decreasing the likelihood of allergic reactions.
14. Should I physically remove ticks even if my dog is on NexGard?
Yes, it’s a good practice. While NexGard will kill the tick, physically removing it ensures that the tick isn’t allowed to feed any longer than necessary. Use fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick close to the skin, and pull upward with steady, even pressure.
15. Are there natural alternatives that can complement NexGard’s efficacy?
While NexGard is a chemical-based treatment, some natural remedies like essential oils (e.g., cedarwood, lemon eucalyptus) may offer some repellent properties against ticks. However, they shouldn’t replace NexGard but can be used as supplementary protection after consulting with a vet.
16. Does NexGard provide any protection against other external parasites, like mites?
While primarily designed for ticks and fleas, NexGard has also shown effectiveness against certain types of mites, such as those causing mange. Consult with your vet if you suspect a mite infestation.
17. What’s the difference between repellents and treatments like NexGard?
Repellents deter ticks from attaching and biting. In contrast, treatments like NexGard kill ticks and fleas after they bite. Some products offer both repellent and treatment properties, so understanding the distinction helps in making informed decisions about your dog’s care.
18. Can I give NexGard to my pregnant or lactating dog?
It’s essential to consult with a veterinarian before administering any medication to pregnant or lactating dogs. While studies on NexGard’s safety in such situations are limited, your vet will provide guidance based on your dog’s specific needs.
19. If I see no ticks on my dog, can I stop using NexGard?
Even if you don’t observe ticks, it doesn’t mean the risk has vanished. Ticks can be active year-round, depending on the region. Discontinuing protection can leave your dog vulnerable to future infestations and related diseases.
20. What should I do if my dog shows severe side effects after taking NexGard?
If your dog exhibits signs of severe side effects, such as persistent vomiting, neurological symptoms, or any unusual behavior post-administration, seek veterinary care immediately. It’s crucial to report and document any adverse reactions.