Believe it or not, spring is coming this week ! We think we can all agree : FINALLY ! Unfortunately, during the awakening of nature, that is spring, everything wakes up. Our pets are coming out of a serious downtime called winter. No fleas , no ticks, no heartworms and less intestinal parasites. Putting nature in neutral for winter for the better part of four months is good. But now that the weather is on our doorstep , it’s a different story .
Does your pet go outside?
A renowned American organization called Companion Animal Parasite Council ( CAPC ) has issued a list of recommendations aimed at promoting optimal control of the internal and external parasites that threaten the health of people and pets. Indeed, some parasites that affect our pets can also affect the bipeds that we are. If your pet is an indoor pet only and has been declared free of all parasites by your veterinarian , you should not worry and can breath easy. But if your pet goes outside , even for a few minutes and even if it is exclusively in your yard, this column is for you .
Regarding the prevention of intestinal parasites , CAPC recommends treating your pets preventively, monthly and yearly . It is clear that during our tough Quebec winters , presence of fleas and heartworm are almost at zero. However, because ,unfortunately ,not all dog owners pick up their dog’s feces , it is still possible (almost a sure bet) that your dog will become infected from another dog’s duty. In addition, if your cat goes outside and continues to hunt during winter , he’s a prime candidate for contamination.
Since the universal drug that eliminates all parasites does not exist, CAPC also recommends testing the stool of your pet regularly . Four times the first year of life , then twice a year thereafter.
The three endemic areas for this disease in Canada are Manitoba, southern Ontario and southern Quebec . Although the incidence of the disease is not dramatic, a recent study by Dr. Slocombe of the University of Guelph demonstrates that the disease has doubled in numbers of cases since 2002 .
During the summer , mosquitoes can transmit the larvae of the heartworm to dogs and cats . This disease, a cardiovascular heartworm ,can have very serious consequences on the health of your pet . The best way to deal with this disease is prevention.
Although the disease is not always fatal , treatment is very expensive and the risk of major side effects are possible. A way better alternative is to make sure your dogs, cats and ferrets stay protected from it altogether.
After performing a blood test , veterinarians will prescribe your pet a preventive medicine for their specific needs, which will keep it safe from heartworm disease . There are a variety of products available on the market. Some of these products have the advantage of preventing common intestinal parasites, heartworms and fleas. A three in one . What more can we ask for ?
The type of tick responsible for the transmission of Lyme disease (and other diseases) is now present in Quebec and more dogs and cats are admitted in consultation ,because of ticks.
The tick feeds on the blood of his victims (mammals, birds, reptiles …). It stings his victim and remains hooked for a long period. Especially females who need a lot of blood in order to lay their 3,000 eggs ,on average. The mouthparts that are inserted into the skin of the victim to firmly hold the mite in place do not fall easily.
There are now , new and safer tablets that prevent tick infestations and fleas on dogs. If ever you live in an environment where ticks are present ,we strongly recommend you administer some to your dog during tick season, ie from June to the end of November. But be careful! Products with permethrin (a solution that is directly applied to the skin) which are still sold by the way, are very toxic to cats and should not be used in a home where dogs and cats live together. This is not the case for the new anti-protection products and oral chips mentioned above.
Lyme disease is surging in Quebec and veterinarians of the Lachine Veterinary Clinic recommend that you have your dog tested for the disease. This can be done at the same time your dog comes in for its heart worm test.
In conclusion, veterinarians of Lachine veterinary clinic recommend treating dogs preventively against heart worm, intestinal parasites, fleas and ticks, and outdoor cats against heart worm, intestinal parasites and fleas, at least once a month from June to November inclusively.
Let’s now continue and talk about fleas . All animals that go outside should receive monthly medication to prevent flea infestations . Our animals get fleas by frequenting places that are contaminated with flea eggs . Your yard, under your balcony … In short, any place in which a stray cat , a skunk or a raccoon can go or get into , may be contaminated with flea eggs . In addition to being a major nuisance , fleas can transmit to your pets and mainly to cats , the infamous tapeworm …yikes!
In conclusion, veterinarians from veterinary clinic Lachine strongly suggest treating your dogs and outdoor cats , preventively, against heartworm , intestinal parasites and fleas , at least once a month from the month of June to November inclusively. And ideally, all year round.
If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a member of the medical team at the Clinic (514-634-4190) who will be happy to assist you.