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10 JULY/AUGUST 2018 help diminish the chances of pets being bitten by infected mosquitoes. Inform cat owners that Neem oil products should be used with caution in cats. BE TRANSPARENT ABOUT PREVENTIVE RISKS AND BENEFITS Now as never before in the history of veterinary medicine, owners are seeking transparency. They want to understand what is in the products that go on or into their pets' bodies, as well as any potential hazards associated with administering them. Veterinarians who want their clients to be compliant with administering heartworm preventives should prioritize education about the compounds contained in the products they prescribe, including safety information, and be candid about the risks versus benefits of administering the medication as recommended. Comprehensive information on product safety and potential side effects is readily available from manufacturers of heartworm preventives, so being transparent does not have to be difficult. It may be reassuring to concerned owners to know that the avermectin class of medications, to which all FDA- approved heartworm preventives belong, are naturally occurring compounds that are generated as fermentation products of a soil-dwelling bacterium. When explaining the risks and benefits of heartworm preventives, the key message to stress is that failing to give heartworm preventives—or administering "natural" preventives that are not FDA approved—can result in heartworm infection, a potentially deadly disease that requires treatment with arsenical medications in dogs whose use in cats and ferrets can be lethal. PREVENT ONLY WHAT'S NEEDED Overmedication is a common worry among pet owners. Veterinarians should be mindful of prescribing pets the protection they need without giving them more than they need, based on the individual animal's risk for other parasites. Because location and lifestyle can increase—or decrease—those risks, formulating a responsible recommendation for parasite prevention means taking the time to ask questions and avoiding assumptions. By tailoring recommendations to individual patients, respecting clients' desires to employ drug-free transmission-prevention strategies, and taking time to address owners' concerns about their pets' safety, veterinarians can inspire client trust and help increase adherence to parasite prevention programs. References 1. Holmes L. New lifestyles system data: 2016 Global Consumer Trends survey results. September 21, 2016. lecture-slides/new_lifestyles_system_data_2016_global_consumer_ trends_survey_results.ashx. (accessed May 23, 2018). Bianca Zaffarano Zaffarano is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Hixson-Lied Small Animal Center at the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine. There she serves as the primary clinician for all exotic companion animal pets and is the director of the Wildlife Care Clinic. Zaffarano has more than two decades of experience in exotic companion animal medicine, having owned her own clinic in Lexington, Kentucky, for many years. AVOID MOSQUITO EXPOSURE Because heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, advise owners to keep their pets indoors overnight and avoid pet walks at dusk or dawn when many mosquitoes are feeding. Chalabala.

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