Interceptor Plus is a widely used heartworm preventative medication that also targets other common parasites. But what happens if your dog gets more than the prescribed dose? Let’s dive deep into understanding the risks and responses to an Interceptor Plus overdose.
1. What is Interceptor Plus?
Interceptor Plus is a monthly chewable tablet that prevents heartworm disease and treats and controls adult roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and tapeworm infections in dogs. The active ingredients are Milbemycin Oxime and Praziquantel.
2. How Safe is Interceptor Plus?
For the prescribed doses, Interceptor Plus is considered very safe for dogs. The medication has been through rigorous testing and has a high margin of safety. In fact, as mentioned by many veterinarians, Interceptor Plus can often be used at several times the normal dose rate without causing adverse reactions.
3. Recognizing an Overdose
While Interceptor Plus is safe, it’s essential to recognize the signs of an overdose. Potential symptoms may include:
- Muscle weakness
- Fasciculations (muscle twitches)
- Loss of appetite
- Mild nausea
However, many anecdotal reports from veterinarians suggest that even double dosing rarely causes noticeable side effects in dogs.
4. What to Do in Case of Overdose
Immediate Response: If you’ve recently (within the last 20-30 minutes) discovered the overdose, inducing vomiting might be beneficial. However, always consult with your veterinarian before taking any action.
Consultation: Always reach out to your veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic if you suspect an overdose, even if your dog isn’t showing any immediate symptoms.
Observation: Monitor your dog closely for any signs of distress, unusual behavior, or the symptoms mentioned above.
5. Preventing Future Overdoses
Accidents happen, but there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of overdosing your dog in the future:
- Store medications out of your dog’s reach.
- Keep a medication log to avoid double dosing.
- Always read the label and ensure you’re giving the correct dose for your dog’s weight.
6. FAQs on Interceptor Plus Overdose
Is a double dose of Interceptor Plus harmful?
While it’s essential to adhere to prescribed doses, a one-time double dose typically doesn’t pose significant harm. Still, always consult with your vet after any dosing errors.
Why was Interceptor for dogs discontinued?
The original Interceptor was temporarily unavailable due to manufacturing issues, leading to the development of Interceptor Plus, which also targets tapeworms.
What are the main risks of Interceptor Plus?
In rare cases, dogs without a current heartworm test may have a reaction if they’re heartworm positive. Otherwise, side effects are uncommon and typically mild.
How long does Interceptor Plus stay in a dog’s system?
Interceptor Plus is designed to provide protection for a month. The active ingredients, Milbemycin Oxime and Praziquantel, start to work shortly after ingestion. Most of the drug’s components are excreted within days, but its protective effects against heartworms and other parasites persist for about 30 days.
Are there any breeds sensitive to Interceptor Plus?
Some herding breeds, like Collies and Australian Shepherds, have a mutation in the MDR1 gene, which can make them more sensitive to drugs like ivermectin, a common heartworm preventative. However, the active ingredients in Interceptor Plus, namely Milbemycin Oxime, have been shown to be safe even for breeds with this mutation when given at the recommended dosage.
How does Interceptor Plus compare to other heartworm preventatives?
Interceptor Plus offers protection against a broader range of parasites than some other preventatives, including tapeworms. However, like all medicines, the best choice depends on individual circumstances such as the dog’s health, age, and local parasite prevalence. Always discuss options with your veterinarian to choose the most appropriate preventative for your pet.
Can pregnant or lactating dogs take Interceptor Plus?
Interceptor Plus is labeled as safe for pregnant and lactating dogs. Studies have not shown any adverse effects when given to breeding females, but as always, consult with your veterinarian before administering any medication.
Does Interceptor Plus also repel fleas or ticks?
No, Interceptor Plus specifically targets heartworms and some intestinal parasites. If you’re concerned about fleas and ticks, discuss with your veterinarian about combining Interceptor Plus with a separate flea and tick preventative or consider using combination products that tackle a wider range of parasites.
How soon can puppies start on Interceptor Plus?
Interceptor Plus is approved for puppies as young as six weeks of age, provided they meet the minimum weight requirement of 2 pounds.
If my dog vomits after taking Interceptor Plus, should I give another dose?
If your dog vomits within an hour of taking the medication, it’s possible that the active ingredients weren’t fully absorbed. It’s advisable to consult with your veterinarian. They might recommend administering another dose or waiting until the next scheduled dose, depending on the specific circumstances.
Can Interceptor Plus be given with other medications?
Generally, Interceptor Plus can be administered alongside other medications without issues. However, always inform your veterinarian about all medications and supplements your dog is taking to ensure there are no potential interactions.
Why doesn’t Interceptor Plus kill adult heartworms?
Interceptor Plus is a preventative, meaning it stops heartworm larvae from maturing into adults. It’s not designed to kill adult heartworms. If you suspect your dog has an active heartworm infection, seek veterinary attention immediately. They will advise on the appropriate treatment protocol.
How often should my dog be tested for heartworms if on Interceptor Plus?
The American Heartworm Society recommends annual testing to ensure your dog hasn’t contracted heartworms. Even if you’ve been diligent with preventative measures, no medication is 100% foolproof, and early detection is critical to effective treatment.
Is there a specific time of day best for administering Interceptor Plus?
While Interceptor Plus can be given at any time of day, consistency is key. Administering the medication at the same time every month can help you remember the dose and maintain continuous protection against parasites. Ensure it’s given with or following a meal for optimal absorption.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you realize you’ve missed a dose, administer the pill as soon as possible and adjust your monthly schedule accordingly. Always maintain a 30-day interval between doses. Discuss with your veterinarian if you’ve missed more than one dose, as they may recommend a heartworm test before resuming medication.
Are there specific side effects to watch for after administration?
Some dogs may experience digestive issues like vomiting or diarrhea after taking Interceptor Plus. Other less common side effects include lethargy, hypersalivation, or ataxia (lack of muscle coordination). If any of these symptoms are persistent or severe, seek veterinary attention promptly.
Can older dogs be started on Interceptor Plus?
Yes, Interceptor Plus can be started on dogs of any age. However, if an older dog has never been on heartworm prevention or there’s a lapse in protection, a heartworm test is recommended before starting or resuming the medication.
How should I store Interceptor Plus?
Interceptor Plus should be stored at room temperature, away from moisture and direct sunlight. Ensure it’s kept in its original packaging and out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.
Does Interceptor Plus protect against all types of worms in dogs?
Interceptor Plus provides protection against heartworms, roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. However, it does not protect against all possible parasitic worms. Regular fecal tests can help identify any other worm infestations that might require targeted treatments.
What should I do if my cat ingests Interceptor Plus meant for my dog?
While Interceptor Plus is formulated specifically for dogs, the primary concern for cats is the dosage. Cats require a different dosage than dogs. If your cat ingests a tablet meant for a larger dog, monitor for symptoms like vomiting, drooling, or tremors, and consult your veterinarian immediately.
Can I break the chewable tablet if my dog refuses to eat it whole?
Yes, you can break the tablet into smaller pieces or mix it with food to make it more palatable for your dog. Ensure that the entire dose is consumed for effective protection.
Do natural remedies offer the same protection as Interceptor Plus?
While some natural remedies claim to prevent heartworms and other parasites, they haven’t undergone the same rigorous testing as FDA-approved products like Interceptor Plus. It’s essential to rely on evidence-based treatments to ensure your dog’s health and safety. Always discuss any alternative treatments with your veterinarian.