FDA Approves Generic Version of Heartworm Preventive

January 12, 2019
Amanda Carrozza

Amanda Carrozza is a freelance writer and editor in New Jersey.

The launch of MilbeGuard signifies the first generic heartworm preventive with milbemycin oxime as the active ingredient.

Yesterday, Ceva Animal Health announced the launch of MilbeGuard (milbemycin oxime) Flavored Tablets, the first FDA-approved generic version of milbemycin oxime in the United States. According to the Kansas-based company, MilbeGuard provides veterinary clinics with an effective heartworm preventive for dogs and cats at a more affordable price.

“The launch of MilbeGuard reinforces Ceva’s commitment to veterinarians by ensuring access to effective, affordable and trusted heartworm preventives,” said Chuck Johnson, DVM, MBA, senior director of veterinary services and pharmacovigilance at Ceva. “Every dog and cat should be protected against heartworm disease. Cost should not be a barrier to protection.”

In addition to preventing heartworm disease, the monthly beef-flavored tablet treats and controls whipworms (dogs only), hookworms, and roundworms. MilbeGuard can be purchased by pet owners only with a prescription from a licensed veterinarian.

Although most veterinarians promote the use of year-round preventive medications to control heartworm, client compliance remains one of the biggest barriers to eradicating the mosquito-borne disease. According to the American Heartworm Society, more than 1 million dogs were heartworm-positive in 2016. The disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states and infection in dogs is considered at least regionally endemic in every state except Alaska. Furthermore, the average number of dogs diagnosed with heartworm per clinic in 2016 was nearly 22% higher than in 2013.

And dogs aren’t the only pets at risk. A 2017 JAVMA study found that hundreds of thousands of cats in the United States are likely infected with heartworms—and that may be a low estimate. Unfortunately, current heartworm treatments are available for dogs only.

Even with these data available, the American Heartworm Society estimates that roughly half of dogs and just 10% of cats are on preventives.

“There are trusted and effective molecules available that can prevent the increased rates of heartworm disease,” said Ceva Veterinary Services Manager Edward M. Wakem, DVM. “With the launch of MilbeGuard, more dogs and cats should be protected so we can reduce heartworm incidence.”