What Are the Safest Heartworm Preventatives for Collie Breeds?

You love your dogs, especially your Collie. They are not only a loyal companion but a part of your family. Just as you take steps to protect your family’s health, it’s crucial to do the same for your furry friend. One of the threats lurking out there is heartworm disease, a potentially fatal condition spread by mosquitoes. But when it comes to Collies, prevention is not as straightforward as simply administering a heartworm preventative medication.

Understanding the Heartworm Threat

Heartworm is a serious disease that can cause lasting damage to your dog’s heart, lungs, and other organs. It’s spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Once an infected mosquito bites your dog, the heartworm larvae are deposited on your dog’s skin and enter the body through the bite wound.

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Over the next six months or so, the larvae mature into adult heartworms. These worms can live for up to seven years in dogs and, if untreated, can lead to severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs.

The MDR1 Mutation in Collie Breeds

Collies, like other herding breeds such as the Sheepdog, are more susceptible to certain drugs because of a genetic mutation known as the MDR1, or Multi-Drug Resistance 1 mutation. This mutation makes them more sensitive to certain drugs, including Ivermectin, a common ingredient in many heartworm preventative medications.

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The MDR1 mutation affects the way a dog’s body can process certain medications. Dogs with this mutation lack a protein that helps to pump drugs and other toxins out of the brain. When a dog with this mutation is given a drug like Ivermectin, it can accumulate in the brain, leading to neurological symptoms such as tremors, anorexia, and even death in severe cases.

Safe Heartworm Preventatives for Collie Breeds

Given the MDR1 mutation, it’s imperative to find a heartworm preventive product that is safe for Collies. While many products contain Ivermectin, there are several medications on the market that are deemed safe for dogs with the MDR1 mutation.

Milbemycin is one such drug. It’s an active ingredient in several heartworm preventatives, including Interceptor and Sentinel. Milbemycin is effective in preventing heartworm disease and is safe for Collies, even those with the MDR1 mutation.

Another safe alternative is Selamectin, the active ingredient found in Revolution. This topical medication is not only effective against heartworms but also fleas, another common threat to your dog’s health.

The Best Preventative Measures

Preventing heartworm disease in your Collie is more than just administering medication. It also involves regular testing and limiting your dog’s exposure to mosquitoes.

Regular testing for heartworms is an important part of prevention. Even if your dog is on preventative medication, it’s important to have your dog tested for heartworms annually. This is because no medication is 100% effective, and heartworm disease can be hard to detect in the early stages.

Limiting your dog’s exposure to mosquitoes can also help reduce the risk of heartworm disease. This can include things like not letting your dog outside during peak mosquito times (dawn and dusk), using mosquito repellents approved for dogs, and eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed.

While there is no 100% guaranteed way to prevent heartworm disease, using a combination of safe preventative medication, regular testing, and mosquito control can significantly reduce your Collie’s risk. Remember, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best heartworm prevention strategy for your individual dog.

Incorporating Milbemycin Oxime in Heartworm Prevention

Among the heartworm preventatives safe for Collies, Milbemycin Oxime is a notable one. This active ingredient is found in heartworm preventatives such as Interceptor and Sentinel Spectrum. Milbemycin Oxime works by eliminating the tissue stage of heartworm larvae for a month after infection. Additionally, it controls the intestinal parasites including hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.

Collies, including the Rough Collie and Shetland Sheepdog, with the MDR1 gene mutation can safely take heartworm preventatives containing Milbemycin Oxime. Although some dogs may experience side effects like vomiting, depression, lethargy, or ataxia, these are generally rare and mild when the medication is given at the recommended dose. It’s essential to follow the prescribed dosage to avoid any potential complications.

Milbemycin Oxime does not only help in heartworm prevention but also aids in the management of other parasites, enhancing the overall health of your Collie. By preventing heartworm disease and controlling other parasites, this medication helps to ensure a long, healthy life for your dog.

Advantage Multi: A Safe Topical Solution

Another safe heartworm preventative for Collies is Advantage Multi, which has the active ingredient moxidectin. This topical medication is not only effective against heartworms but also treats and controls roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and adult fleas.

The active ingredient in Advantage Multi, moxidectin, works efficiently to kill the heartworm larvae that your pet might have picked up in the previous month. The medication also kills adult fleas and is effective in preventing flea infestations. When applied monthly, it provides broad-spectrum protection against many parasites.

Like Milbemycin Oxime, Moxidectin is also safe for dogs with the MDR1 mutation. However, just like any medication, it can cause side effects in some dogs. These may include temporary hair loss at the application site, lethargy, or gastrointestinal issues. If your dog shows any severe reaction, consult with your vet immediately.


Finding the best heartworm preventative for your Collie can be challenging due to the breed’s MDR1 gene mutation. However, with drugs like Milbemycin Oxime and Advantage Multi, heartworm prevention becomes much safer and easier.

Remember, apart from administering heartworm preventatives, also invest time in dog training to instill good habits in your dog. This includes teaching them not to eat from the ground or drink from stagnant water bodies to avoid any potential exposure to heartworm disease or other parasites.

Furthermore, limit their exposure to mosquitoes and provide them with a clean living environment. Regular vet check-ups and heartworm tests are also crucial. After all, prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to your dear furry companion.

Still, consult with your vet to determine the best heartworm prevention strategy for your individual dog, considering its health history and lifestyle. Each dog is unique, and what works best for one may not necessarily be the best for another. Ultimately, your dog’s well-being and comfort should be the primary factors guiding your decisions. With careful attention and preventative measures, you can ensure your Collie lives a long, healthy, and heartworm-free life.