Sentinel for Dogs is a prescription medication that is given once a month to prevent heartworm disease, control flea infestations, and kill roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms.
How to use Sentinel
Sentinel is given once a month in association with eating a full meal. The pills are chewable and flavored, and most dogs will eat them as if they were a treat. Sentinel needs to be prescribed by a veterinarian. Dogs should be tested for heartworms before beginning a Sentinel program because it will not kill adult heartworms; it just kills immature heartworms and prevents adult heartworms from developing.
In addition to preventing heartworm infestations, Sentinel also kills intestinal parasites such as roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms. It has an agent in it that kills immature fleas, disrupting the cycle of flea infestations. It does not affect adult fleas.
How Sentinel works
Sentinel contains two active ingredients, milbemycin oxime and lufenuron. The milbemycin oxime immediately kills any immature heartworms in the dog's bloodstream and also kills parasitic worms in the intestinal tract.
Mosquitoes transmit heartworm. When an infected mosquito bites a dog, immature heartworms enter the dog's bloodstream. It takes around seven months for the worms to achieve full maturity; during this period, giving the dog Sentinel once a month will eradicate the immature worms and prevent them from maturing. If they manage to mature, they will begin reproducing and over the next few years, large numbers of adult heartworms can accumulate within the dog's body. The worms will damage the dog's heart, lungs, and kidneys, and can prove to be fatal.
It is vital to prevent a mature heartworm infestation because although there is a treatment for heartworm disease, it is very hard on the dog's body and the treatment can kill some dogs.
The lufenuron stays in the dog's body for up to 30 days, and whenever an adult flea bites the dog, the flea ingests lufenuron, which disrupts the development of any new fleas. The adult flea is not affected by the compound. If a heavy flea infestation is present in the home, Sentinel may need to be combined with some form of adult flea control to accelerate the disruption of the infestation.
Safety of Sentinel
Sentinel is generally regarded as safe for dogs and puppies as young as four weeks of age. It can be used on dogs that weigh at least two pounds and is safe for use during pregnancy and lactation.
Rare adverse events include vomiting, lethargy, itchy skin, ataxia, and seizures.