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Vet Blogger Swears Never Again to Complain About Spelling of Heartgard — After Today

As every regular reader knows, Merial's intentional misspelling of guard in Heartgard annoys me. Did the company do it to be cute? (Why would any...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Sep 22nd 2011


As every regular reader knows, Merial’s intentional misspelling of guard in Heartgard annoys me. Did the company do it to be cute? (Why would any company want to be “cute” about the deadly serious matter of heartworm prevention?) Did some people at a focus group pick the name? Why would a company that wants to promote a serious product intentionally misspell the name of the product?

One reader has suggested that “guard” is misspelled because it would not be possible to trademark the name if it were spelled correctly. This is the explanation that makes Merial look best, but I have never bought into it. Consider this: Heartgard’s most direct competitor is a product called Interceptor. Interceptor is a trademarked name. It also is a correctly spelled word (good work, Novartis!). Advantage and Frontline also are trademarked and correctly spelled.

My final revelation on the matter came the other day when I took a chef’s knife to the hardware store for sharpening. I purchased an edge guard to protect myself and anyone else handling the knife. The edge guard is an “EDGE-GUARD (TM)” brand. “Guard” is properly spelled, and the name is trademarked (although I concede that it contains a superfluous dash). In my mind, this closes the matter.

Speaking of closing the matter, this post will be the last time I ever discuss the spelling of Heartgard. Sometimes you have to let things go.