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Parasite Awareness & Prevention Month

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

Hello Newsy Readers! In light of these unprecedented times, I hope this month’s edition finds you well and enjoying some additional time at home with your four-legged family members. Hopefully, you’ve been able to get out for a few more walks and make the best of the forced slow down of our daily lives. (I know my dog Stella LOVES all the extra walks, treats and attention she is getting from her people.) With spring upon us, now is a good time to start thinking about your pets’ parasite prevention needs. Conveniently, April is “Parasite Awareness & Prevention Month” at the Animal Care Centre of Strathmore! Parasites can be found both internally (intestinal parasites and heartworm) and externally (fleas, ticks, lice and mites). Luckily, parasites are preventable! There are a number of highly efficacious products available through your veterinarian for both cats and dogs (not to mention horses, cows and other farm animals too!). A bit about the bugs: Internal Parasites: Intestinal Parasites: Some common intestinal parasites are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Some of these parasites can be observed with the eye, while others can only be identified in a lab with a microscope. They are readily transmissible among pets through infected feces, making prompt poop-scooping an important element of prevention, in addition to regular deworming. Heartworm Disease: Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and it occurs throughout the U.S. and in some Canadian provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and parts of British Columbia). After an infected mosquito bite, heartworms take up residence in the pet’s bloodstream, lungs, and heart. A single heartworm can grow to be up to one foot in length and if left untreated, heartworm disease is ultimately fatal. Heartworm testing is recommended if your pet has entered an endemic area without adequate preventative medication.

External Parasites:

Ticks: Found with varying frequency in most Canadian regions and the USA, ticks can carry Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis (USA) and Erlichiosis (USA). These secondary infections can affect both pets and humans, making tick prevention a no-brainer! If you find a tick attached to your pet, please contact your veterinarian to discuss how to properly remove it. Leaving a portion of the tick attached can lead to a nasty localized infection. Your veterinarian can also identify the type of tick to determine if it is a Lyme disease transmitter. Fleas: Transmitted among animals, fleas can lead to skin allergies and also transmit other parasites like tapeworms. Lice: Lice can affect dogs and cats, but are species specific, meaning that dog lice will not infest cats (or visa versa) or to their human family members. Mites: Dogs and cats can both get a variety of different types of mites, but we most commonly deal with earmites in cats. These irritating external pests lead your kitty to excessive scratching at their ears and are highly transmissible to other cats. Luckily they are easily treated! Depending on your pet’s internal parasite exposure risk, we recommend deworming your pet as frequently as monthly (though many pets require only annual or biannual treatment). We recommend monthly Tick & Flea prevention from May-October. Fleas and Lice are treated on an as needed basis. If you intend to travel with your pet to a heartworm endemic area, heartworm prevention must be given monthly while at risk of exposure. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Animal Care Centre of Strathmore to discuss parasite prevention for your pet(s) today! Wishing you a happy, healthy and parasite-free spring! Dr. Kate Mueller, DVM Animal Care Centre of Strathmore


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