Heartworm has threatened lives of umpteen pets. This dreaded disease is usually caused by a parasite named Dirofilaria immitis which is transmitted by a mosquito bite and dogs are the ultimate hosts of this worm. It causes severe organ dysfunction, respiratory disease and sudden heart failure in canine families and has spread as an epidemic. In US, the Gulf and Atlantic coast are the most vulnerable and affected belts. In fact, now the disease has ensconced itself well over 45 states. Because the disease is so widespread and life-threatening, most of the pet parents resort to branded heartwarmers which surges their expenditure exponentially. They find it hard to rely on the generic drugs because of the notion that these products must have been compromised on quality. Other than that, people go for brand value because of the belief entrusted by the brand over the years. This state of dilemma encouraged us to give people an insight on what generic drugs actually are, and how they can be a better and affordable alternative for treating heartworm disease.
What Are Generic Drugs?
Generic drugs are non-branded products that are manufactured using the same methods as of the patented branded products. They are cheaper not because their quality is compromised. The reason behind this is the branded counterpart is invented after the research of years. This credit for the time invested in inventing the drug is thus added to the pricing of a branded product which increases its overall cost. Whereas no such extra cost is applied to the generic drugs because they follow the already patented method of developing a similar drug.
A generic treatment for heartworm will thus give the same results, same side-effects will have exactly the same route of administration and dosage as the branded or original drug. The only thing that differs is the manufacturer.
Why Are Branded Drugs Expensive and Generic Cheap?
People who develop original drugs have a patent for it which is a kind of cost incurred to research and develop the treatment from scratch. However, generic drugs are made from the copied methods of the original ones which make them affordable. Moreover, pricing of a particular drug depends on several factors. The location from where the drug has been shipped accounts to the pricing of a product. For instance, more the excise duties and EPA charges on the drug, more will it be pricey. So you see, there are many factors that increase the prices of the drug. Other than that there is no difference in the use and result of the drug.
Then, Are These Drugs Similar?
Yes! The only difference sometimes can be of an extra ingredient, which provides additional protection to other worms or infections as well. For instance, the generic treatments for Heartworms are Heartgard for dogs and Valuheart for dogs. Both of them have the same ingredient – Ivermectin, which prevents heartworm larvae from maturing into its adult stage. When we compare it to Heartgard, there is completely no difference. It has the same ivermectin that acts against heartworms. If we consider Heartgard Plus, there is only a slight addition in the ingredient. Heartgard Plus has Pyrantel as an extra ingredient other than Ivermectin. Note that Pyrantel works against roundworms and hookworms which is only required if the dog is suffering from these two worms as well. Else you can purchase the generic drug for heartworm treatment and a separate drug for worms that would save you from spending extra bucks just for the brand name.
So, better be wise and choose NuHeart or Valuheart instead of Heartgard if you have financial constraints. They will work exactly like Heartgard, so shun your dilemmas and suspicion about generic drugs and maintain your budget besides saving your pet of Heartworms.
David joined CanadaVetCare in 2013 as a product analyst and veterinary assistant. Being a passionate pet lover and keen animal health researcher, David had always found ways and solutions to help pet parents to improve their pets’ health. He is always happy to answer pet health-related queries and recommending pet parents for the right pet product for their furry companions.