Interceptor For Dogs: What You Need to Know

Interceptor For Dogs

Interceptor For Dogs: Interceptor is a heartworm preventative for dogs that contains milbemycin oxime, which prevents heartworm disease caused by the parasite Dirofilaria immitis. It comes in chewable flavored tablets that you give your dog once a month.

Interceptor works by killing the larvae (immature heartworms) that infect your dog through mosquito bites before they develop into adult worms. By preventing heartworm disease, Interceptor promotes your dog’s health and longevity.

Some key things to know about Interceptor:

  • It only prevents heartworms, not other parasites. For full parasite protection, you’ll need to combine it with a dewormer that treats hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and tapeworms.
  • Puppies can start Interceptor as early as 4 weeks of age. For the best protection, puppies should start Interceptor within the first month of life.
  • Interceptor is very safe but may cause minor side effects like vomiting, diarrhea or lack of appetite in some dogs. Serious side effects are extremely rare but can include depression, dilated pupils, staggering, or muscle tremors. See a vet right away if you notice these.
  • You need a prescription from your vet to purchase Interceptor. They will test your dog for heartworms first before prescribing Interceptor for prevention.
  • If a dose is missed, give it as soon as possible, and resume a monthly schedule. Don’t double up doses.

How Does Interceptor Work to Prevent Heartworms?

Interceptor For Dogs

Interceptor is a heartworm prevention medication for dogs that contains milbemycin oxime, which works by paralyzing the nervous system of heartworm larvae (microfilariae) and adult heartworms.

When given monthly according to the recommended dosage for your dog’s weight, Interceptor effectively prevents heartworm disease by killing heartworm larvae before they can develop into adults.

  • Interceptor is absorbed into your dog’s bloodstream after being ingested.
  • It then circulates through the blood to reach tissues where heartworm larvae and adults reside.
  • The milbemycin oxime in Interceptor paralyzes the heartworms by blocking their nervous system and muscle function.
  • This causes the heartworms to die and be cleared from your dog’s body through the immune system.
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By preventing heartworm larvae from maturing into adults, Interceptor stops the life cycle of the heartworm parasite in its tracks. When used year-round, it provides continuous protection against heartworm disease for your pup.

Some tips for giving Interceptor:

  • Administer with food for maximum absorption. A full stomach helps the medication work better.
  • Never miss a dose. For the best protection, give Interceptor every 30 days.
  • See your vet for a heartworm test before starting Interceptor. It’s not safe for dogs with heartworm disease and will not eliminate existing adult heartworms.
  • Minor side effects like vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea are possible. Contact your vet if these persist or are severe.
  • Never use on sick dogs or those who haven’t eaten in a few days. Always follow your vet’s recommendations based on your dog’s medical history and current health.

By using Interceptor responsibly and as directed, you can safeguard your faithful companion from the dangers of heartworm disease. What a relief to have access to such an effective prevention!

Side Effects Of Interceptor For Dogs

Interceptor is generally a very safe medication for dogs, but like any drug, it can sometimes cause side effects in certain individuals. As the owner, it’s important to be aware of potential issues so you know what to monitor your pup for.

1. Gastrointestinal upset

The most common side effect is mild gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or decreased appetite. This typically only lasts for a day or two as your dog’s system adjusts to the medication. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water to avoid dehydration. If symptoms persist for more than a couple of days, contact your vet.

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2. Lethargy or hyperactivity

Some dogs may experience lethargy, drowsiness or even hyperactivity when first starting Interceptor. These effects are usually temporary, but let your vet know if your dog’s behavior seems off. They may want to adjust or switch the dosage or medication.

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3. Allergic reaction

Rarely, some dogs may have an allergic reaction to Interceptor. Signs of an allergic reaction include swelling of the face, hives, scratching, sudden onset of diarrhea or vomiting. Seek vet care immediately if your dog shows any symptoms of an allergic reaction. Your vet can give IV fluids and medicine to counter the reaction.

  • Itching and skin irritation. Some dogs may experience skin redness, rashes, welts or itching. Let your vet know if your dog seems uncomfortable or the skin issues persist. They may want to switch to a different heartworm prevention.
  • Liver or kidney damage. In very rare cases, Interceptor could potentially cause damage to a dog’s liver or kidneys, especially if overdosed. Your vet will run blood tests to monitor your dog’s organ function, especially when first starting the medication or if any symptoms develop.

By and large, Interceptor is a very safe option for protecting your dog from dangerous heartworm disease when used properly as prescribed by your vet. Carefully monitor your dog when first starting the medication and report any significant or persistent side effects to your vet right away. With regular blood testing and checkups, Interceptor can be used long-term to keep your best friend happy and healthy for life.


Interceptor is a popular heartworm preventative medication for dogs. As with any medication, it’s normal to have some questions about how it works and any potential side effects. Here are the most frequently asked questions about Interceptor to help put you at ease.

How does Interceptor work?

Interceptor contains milbemycin oxime, which is in a class of drugs known as macrocyclic lactones. It works by paralyzing the larvae of heartworms, known as microfilariae, preventing them from developing into adult worms. By stopping heartworms at an early stage, Interceptor effectively prevents the spread of heartworm disease in dogs.

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Is Interceptor safe for all dogs?

Interceptor is safe for most dogs, but some may experience side effects or allergic reactions. It should not be given to dogs less than 4 weeks of age or those with a history of neurologic disorders. Some herding breeds may be sensitive to higher doses. It’s best to consult your vet, especially when giving Interceptor to a dog for the first time.

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects are digestive upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea. Loss of appetite, lethargy, and skin irritation have also been reported. Serious side effects are rare but may include seizures, coma, or even death. While frightening to consider, the risk of a serious reaction is very small. However, contact your vet immediately if your dog shows any unusual symptoms after taking Interceptor.

How often is Interceptor given?

Interceptor is given once a month, year-round, to prevent heartworm disease. For the best protection, it’s important to give Interceptor tablets consistently on the same date each month. An occasional missed or late dose is unlikely to cause harm, but frequent lapses in treatment can allow heartworms to become established in a dog.

Do I need a prescription for Interceptor?

Yes, Interceptor is a prescription medication and must be obtained from a licensed veterinarian. Your vet will first test your dog for heartworms before prescribing Interceptor as a preventative treatment. Annual heartworm testing is also recommended to ensure Interceptor is effectively preventing infection.

By following your vet’s recommendations and dosage instructions carefully, Interceptor can provide safe and effective protection against heartworm disease for most dogs. Don’t hesitate to contact your vet with any other questions or concerns about Interceptor for your dog.

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