View Full Version : Flea and Heartworm Preventives & Diabetes

03-23-2009, 10:55 PM
So seasoned advisers - let's talk about flea preventative and other maintenance meds, like heartworm preventative. Are there special considerations for a diabetic dog? Do any of the prescriptions effect blood glucose?

Bailey is sensitive to the topical flea meds. So if we choose to treat with a flea preventitive, it would have to be an oral med. We've never tried those before, so I have no idea if it's a good idea or not. :confused:

It's that time of the year again around here (we treat seasonally), so any advice, experiences, or feedback on various products that have worked well for you and your beloved furballs? :)

03-24-2009, 05:32 AM
My vet and I just discussed this and he said it will not effect them. I treat with revolution (topical) and it doesn't bother Forbin, but have no experience with internal

Soaphie & Sydney's Mom
03-24-2009, 05:54 AM
We use topical as well - Frontline Plus. I haven't seen any affect on the Soaphie-dog.

03-24-2009, 06:48 AM
Crissy continued on her normal heartworm tablets (Sentinel) and flea control (Advantix) for almost 5 years without problems.

We did cut back on her yearly shots. She only got a rabies shot every couple of years, but kept up with those against kennel cough, Parvo, etc.

Bonnie and Angel Criss

We Hope
03-24-2009, 07:50 AM
And now I have to be terrible and say it depends on the dog. :D

This had long been a topic when I was on another board. We had some people saying that the heartworm meds and/or flea prevention ones raised their dog's bg's as they saw the pattern with home testing.

We've never needed to use flea prevention with any of mine, so Lucky was on monthly oral heartworm meds only in season. (Only other med besides insulin.) He was regulated for a while and all seemed well--until the day he pulled a 500+ bg reading out of his hat.

We hadn't seem them since before pork insulin, so we started looking for what was different here. Lucky wasn't sick and there was nothing wrong with the insulin. What was different was that he'd taken his monthly heartworm tablet within 24 hours of having a blood test.

We went back on the records and found that he'd never taken a blood test that close to taking the monthly heartworm med before. We also went over the information on every heartworm med that was on the market at the time; none had any information about them possibly raising blood glucose levels for diabetics.

At a time like this, you don't want to instantly make a decision to raise the insulin because you don't know how long it will be until the levels of the heartworm med become low enough not to affect his bg's. So you stay where you are and step up your testing to every other day to try "tracking" the progress of the med against the bg readings.

It took about 5 days after the pill to get Lucky's bg's back to normal. We talked about the risks and for Lucky and his lifestyle, we decided he was more at risk to have his blood glucose raised by the drug every month than he was of contracting heartworm. We stopped the monthly preventive but continued to test him for heartworm exposure every spring.

We had someone post to that other board a long time ago whose dog would be regulated most of the month then suddenly go high for a few days and without any changes, "pop" right back into regulation again. The person had a family member who was a vet. He was treating this dog and was just out of answers for the problem.

Asked if they were in a "heartworm area" and were using meds and if the "disregulation" happened around the time he was given the monthly preventive. They checked their records and this dog was also "pulling a Lucky".

So when you say, "every dog is different", you really are saying a mouthful! ;)


03-24-2009, 10:44 AM
Interesting information...as I knew it would be!

Since Bailey became skin sensitive to all of the topicals we tried, we eventually just stopped treating him for fleas. We have tons of sun exposure everywhere he walks, plus our front and back lawn areas, so we don't seem to have a flea issue around here and he's never had a problem. Our last house was a different story - very shady back yard that the fleas loved!

My subdivision is loaded with dogs and most of them go to the same vet we do because it's so close you could walk. My vet seems very flexible on what and how we decide to treat him since he is an inside dog.

But my new concern is anything that he can pick up from mosquito bites. We had a VERY bad mosquito season last year. It gets incredibly hot and humid around here in the summer, so often Bailey wouldn't get walks for days or even a couple of weeks at a time because it was just too dang miserable out. With the diabetes, it's clearly become very important for him to have consistent walks and that means we will have to switch to early mornings and after dark - better times to avoid extreme heat, but mosquito party time around here. :rolleyes:

So looks like we will definitely be continuing heartworm, but now I know to check his BG surrounding the days he takes each pill to see if it effects him. Besides the flea topicals, is there anything safe to apply to a dog to help repel mosquitoes? I imagine not, since they are bound to lick off and ingest anything you apply. I'm concerned about West Nile which we have had in our area previous years. They fog our entire metro area all season long, but I swear nothing seems to get rid of them...especially those little black, super aggressive, Asian Tiger mosquitoes that will get you any time of day. I garden a lot and I hate those things!

Thank you for all the input!

03-24-2009, 12:43 PM
Glad this topic came up. I got Lucy some Advantage a couple weeks ago. I've been waiting till after her vaccines to apply it.

Heartworm has really got me worried. Not that I'm worried about heartworm, but the meds. HW is VERY rare here and the last few years have been VERY dry. Now we have had some rain and I am really considering putting all our dogs on preventative.

I'm just really undecided about whether the risk outweighs the benefits.


03-24-2009, 01:08 PM
Chris was on regular heartworm and flea preventive - Sentinel mostly. I didn't track it specifically but had the impression that the pill raised his blood sugar slightly for the day he got it but not in a big way or anything I felt like I had to deal with. I definitely have heard from others over the years who felt that it raised their dogs' blood sugar temporarily.

We have lots of mosquitos here and heartworm is very prevalent in the foothills so I treated Chris and now treat Jack year round.

With the cats being indoor only, Sentinel controls whatever minor flea problems we have for the dog and the cats.

We Hope
03-24-2009, 01:54 PM
Have a recipe for a natural repellent I'll post the link to. A friend in the San Diego area has been using it on her dog for a while; the issue with her has been fleas. She says it does keep the fleas off.


Natural Flea and Bug Repellent on page 3.

Living on a lake now, I see a lot more mosquitos than I did before--some are big enough to almost mistake for large moths. :eek: There's no way I would be able to NOT use heartworm meds with my current dog when it isn't the dead of winter and keep my sanity.

There's a lot of wooded, natural area where he likes to venture near. One night I had him out and there were 3 wolves playing on the beach.

Lucky's lifestyle was virtually always indoors after diagnosis; his lifestyle was a low-risk one because of that, thus our decision on the preventive.


03-24-2009, 02:45 PM
Glad to see this topic.

We have been using the internal flea preventative Comfortis since fleas got to be a big problem for us last year (after having it under control for a long time). Advantage and Frontline were no longer working and this works like a charm. Just worried about the possible long-term toxic effects, if any. Now with Milo being diabetic I had wondered if it will affect his BG.

He's due for a dose now and then for heartworm meds next week. I guess I'll ask the vet and do some research...and follow him to see if we get any spikes.

Is anyone else using Comfortis? We live in Florida and fleas and all manner of vermin are a problem here! :cool:


03-24-2009, 06:04 PM
I have never used Spinsad:


It looks to be similar to Capstar which is kind of a whenever needed short-term treatment that we used on a lost dog we had in our care for a few days - he was awash in fleas. Didn't bother him in the least and it was extremely effective at ridding him of his fleas, which were driving him crazy.


lab lover
03-24-2009, 06:16 PM
I was just reading the post about heartworm and frontline. I wondered if this was a problem with Baby and could it made her reading so low yeaterday I gave her the heart worm pill on Sunday and Monday is when she went down too 60. I asked the vet before about giving it to her and she said it would be no problem and hasn't had any with any dog in their clinic. Now I need to give her the Frontline next month because we are back up to a cattle farm huge land behind our house and we have wooded area too. We get ticks and fleas real bad here and she needs it because of being in the back yard. Boy, another worry. If anyone has had any side effects from frontline with a diabetic dog please let me know. I will talk with the vet again about this and the heartworm if this could have done something to make it go so low yesterday. Thanks, Ida

We Hope
03-24-2009, 06:26 PM

All those who have had issues with either heartworm or flea products have had the dog's bg's go very high. I've never seen anyone say their dog had a low from them--they were all unexpected highs.


03-24-2009, 08:03 PM
Have a recipe for a natural repellent I'll post the link to. A friend in the San Diego area has been using it on her dog for a while; the issue with her has been fleas. She says it does keep the fleas off.



Boy, that's smell nice too

03-24-2009, 08:19 PM
Well I went and looked to see if Niki bg went up after I gave her the heartworm med 2 wks ago, I can't say it was very noticeable, if it was maybe 30 points, I have never had trouble with heartworm meds.

I've been using Frontline Plus for years, but when I apply it I part the hair from the scruff down to the top of tail and apply the drops all along there and some drops by the shoulder blades.

For mosquitos get rid of any standing water outside.

Take your left over coffee and pour it on any damp areas of your yard.

I have a recipe I make that I use in a handheld sprayer and spray the dogs yard with this every month, I will post it later as its in my garden shed. All non harmful ingredients you can buy at the grocery store. Its similar to the spray Kathy mentioned but ingredients are different.

There is a spray for the yard made by Ortho or other Co., you can spray this (attach hose to it ) but pet cannot go into yard for so many hours, I used this years ago when I had all 3 dogs. It is for all bugs, not made particularly for pet areas, for bugs in general. it states to keep pets/children out of the area for so many hours. It does not kill grass etc. I'm sure I breathed it in while I was spraying ;)