YEAH it’s spring, but spring brings lots of bugs! The main concerns for our fluffy family members are mosquitoes, ticks and fleas.
Heartworm is a serious and potentially deadly disease that is passed to dogs from a single mosquito bite. Annual testing helps to ensure that pets are treated early before the disease has progressed, which can cause irreversible damage to the internal organs.
A Canada-wide study by the Ovma showed that 564 dogs tested positive for heartworm in Canada in 2010; 431 of those dogs were located in Ontario (that’s over 75 per cent of the total). Also of concern is that eighty per cent of animals that were found to have heartworm had not been on a heartworm preventive medication. In a few cases, pets that had been receiving heartworm preventive medication also tested positive for the disease; the most common reason for this was that the pet owners indicated they had forgotten to give their pet the preventive medication at the prescribed intervals.
For more information visit the OVMA Website
Certain ticks carry Lyme Disease and this is one of the most commonly reported vector-borne zoonosis. With positives in our hospital alone last year we know that ticks and Lyme disease is a concern where we live. Is your dog at risk?
Flea bites are mainly harmless and the main complaint is severe itchiness but can be a huge downfall to the human pet bond. Fleas are insects that feed off dog and cat blood but will turn to a human host if needed.
The life-cycle of a flea has four stages:
- Eggs, which fall from the host into the environment
- Larvae, which live off of the fallen fecal matter of adult fleas found in carpets and in lawns.
- Pupal stage, which is the cocoon. They do not emerge until a host is detected (via warmth / vibration)
- Adult stage, which feasts on blood.
If you do have a flea-infestation, it is important to treat the pet’s environment as well, to eliminate flea eggs and larvae. Prescription products such as Revolution can treat your pet and home during an infestation and be used monthly as a preventive.