Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Spring has Sprung - Are you ready?

SPRING IS HERE!  Along with the thaw and long awaited warm weather come the reality of Heartworm, Fleas and Parasites.  So in order to best protect our canine and feline friends we must first know what we are up against...  The next series of blogs will be dedicated to each specific threat beginning with Heartworm.

What is heartworm?
Basically, it is a parasite that lives in the heart and vessels of the chest cavity.  It is a "worm" in that it grows and develops within the cardiovascular system.

How would my pet get it?
Your precious pets can become infected with heartworm disease after being bitten by a mosquito which is carrying the infective larvae.  These mosquitoes are themselves infected by biting a heartworm positive dog.  The larvae are injected into the skin of the pet, where they migrate to the lungs and the right side of the heart.

My pet is not around other dogs is there a risk?
YES! We recommend heartworm preventatives for all dogs and outdoor cats.  The infection is transmitted by mosquitoes, and not by contact with other dogs.  Any pet that is outside is at risk.

How common is heartworm in Ontario?
In 2008, there were 676 pets who tested positive for heartworm disease.  That is an increase of 280% since 2005!   Keep in mind those are only the pets that get tested there are many who are not tested.

What is a "heartworm test"?
A blood test is used to screen pets for the presence of heartworm disease.  This is normally done in April or May. 

What can I do to ensure that my pet doesn't contract heartworm disease?
Use prevention every year from June through November.

I have more questions?
Ask us!  Phone - 905.257.7387 or email info@oakparkpethospital.com

Get ready for fleas next...