Spring is here in Barrie, Ontario and with the warmer weather comes fleas, mosquitoes, ticks and intestinal parasites. So along with the good that spring brings, we also need to think about protecting our pets from certain springtime visitors.
Fleas, mosquitoes and ticks live by sucking blood from mammals. Dogs contract intestinal parasites when they come into contact with feces. Cat’s that hunt and eat mice and birds will get tapeworms. If you want your pet to have a bug-free season, please consider use of flea/heartworm & tick prevention from May to November.
Fleas occur not just on our pets but in our pet’s environments too. In the peak of flea season, one adult flea can lay up to 40 eggs a day! These eggs fall off our pets into our carpets and around the house and their environment. The flea egg undergoes different development stages off the pet before it then hatches into a adult flea again. This entire flea life cycle can last from 10-200 days depending on certain conditions. It is imperative to treat for fleas for more than just 1 month, because of this life cycle. With a monthly topical or oral preventive medication we can kill the fleas, and stop them from laying eggs.
Mosquitoes carry heartworm disease. The mosquito bites an infected dog and picks up the immature heartworm. Then the mosquito bites your dog, and injects the heartworm organism into your dog. The heartworm parasite goes through several stages until it becomes a worm that lodges in the heart and its vessels. It takes five to six months before heartworm can be detected in a blood test. Before starting heartworm prevention, we recommend a blood test to ensure that your dog doesn’t already have a Heartworm infection. Giving certain Heartworm medications to dogs that have already contracted Heartworm Disease can cause severe illness, and even death.
Ticks are now found in more areas than they have ever been before. While there are certain endemic areas in Ontario: Long Point Provincial Par, Turkey Point, Point Pelee, Prince Edward Point , Wainfleet and St. Lawrence Islands National Park, they are certainly expanding their territories every year. There are several types of ticks that may attach to the skin of dogs, cats and people. One of the biggest concerns is the Ixodes tick also know as the Deer tick that carries Lyme disease. To prevent tick problems there are several products available to prevent attachment or kill the tick after it has been taking it’s blood meal from your pet. For tick control, you should begin to protect your pet in the spring and continue through the summer months.
With the warmer months, we have our pets out in the parks more and they are more exposed to other dogs and other dog feces. Or they are splashing and drinking from the puddles or melted snow that is around. Cats that go outdoors and hunt for mice and birds. These are great ways for our pets to get intestinal parasites or worms. A regular deworming program is recommended to keep your pet healthy. Many of our heartworm and flea products are also monthly deworming products.
We know times are still tough out there and we want to make sure every pet gets the care they deserve. That is why Big Bay Animal Hospital is once again offering Wellness Testing in combination with your pet’s Heartworm test. A wellness test allow us to ensure your pet’s organs are staying in tip-top shape. Please ask a careteam member for more details on our various Wellness packages, and the best solution for your pet to keep them “BUG” free this season.
Happy Spring! And remember, the best program starts before these bugs cause a problem!