Spring & summer in Ontario is parasite season in the pet and veterinary world. This includes external parasites, like fleas and ticks, and internal parasites, like heartworm and intestinal parasites (more often referred to as “worms”)
What are Parasites?
Parasites are small organisms that may live in the stomach, intestines, and other internal organs of your pet. Even though they may not be easily seen, they can pose a threat to your pet AND your family.
How can my pet avoid getting parasites?
You can help reduce the risk of infection by following your veterinarian’s recommendations for testing and de-worming your pet. Also, practice good hygiene when handling pets and when engaging in outdoor activities. Remember to always to pick up your dog’s poop and clean your cat’s litter tray on a regular basis.
When should my pet be tested?
It’s important to be proactive when it comes to testing your pets. The summer months are when heartworm and parasite season is at its peak. Often we will test for heartworm based on factors that influence your pet’s life, including their lifestyle, health status, geographic location, and any household considerations that may be relevant. We will professionally advise you regarding the recommended frequency of testing for your dog and/or cat.
What about ticks and fleas?
Tick and Flea prevention is important to stop the spread of debilitating diseases such as Lyme disease and tapeworm infections. Many of these diseases can also affect humans. Fleas and ticks can be present year round, but are more common during the warm spring/summer/fall months. Ticks can be very small and difficult to see even on close examination, therefore prevention during these months is always recommended, even if it appears that your dog ‘never’ gets ticks. Fleas are usually not detected until after an infestation has been established and cannot be eliminated overnight. While adult fleas are the most noticeable part of an infestation, they are only about 5% of the total fleas present in the home.
It is important for pet owners to reduce the risk of infection by following the Canadian Parasitology Panel’s Guidelines for Treatment of Parasites.
1. Washing hands, particularly children’s hands, after outdoor activities, handling pets, pet feces disposal and before meals.
2. Wearing gloves while gardening.
3. Prompt removal and proper disposal of pet feces.
4. Limiting pet defecation areas.
5. Reducing pet interaction with stray and wild animals.
6. Covering sand boxes when not in use.
7. Regular pet fecal monitoring for signs of parasite infestations (worms or eggs visible in feces).
8. Appropriate parasite control programs suited to each pet based on their age, location, health status and lifestyle factors
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