Flea, Tick, Heartworm Prevention



Ticks, Fleas, and Heartworm Preventive Programs

Your pets are an important part of your family. They play with your kids, cuddle in our laps for comfort, kiss our faces with affection. They share your home, and it is important to make sure they have all the protection you can give them. Internal and external parasites are more than pests. Heartworms, fleas, ticks, and others can cause severe life-threatening conditions in your pet, and can also pose a great risk to the health of your family as well.  Some parasites and diseases can be transferred from an infected animal to humans.
A preventative program, recommended by our veterinarians, is the best way to ensure the health and safety of your entire family. They will also discuss recommended annual tests, such as Heartworm Testing, and explain their importance to the health and safety of your pet.
There are some basic tips that will help minimize the chance of a parasite infestation, and help keep your pet happy and healthy:
• Good personal hygiene- Keep your four-legged friend clean!. Some long furred dogs require what is called a sanitary trim to keep their private parts clean after going to the bathroom. Pay attention to the eyes, ears, teeth, breathe, nails, and coat.
• Clean environment- clean up pet feces regularly, remove any standing water in the yard. Refilling your pet’s bowl often with fresh water. Wash pet bedding and cloth toys weekly.

Flea Prevention and Control

Fleas can cause anything from minor itchy irritations, to serious life-threatening issues. Severe itching, allergies, anemia, tape worms, and other diseases can all be as a result of a flea infestation. Some animals even develop an additional irritation to the animal in the form of Flea Allergy Dermatitis, which is a developed allergy to a flea’s saliva.
Fleas are blood-sucking parasites, any animal with fur are susceptible to an infestation, and these pests often jump from their animal hosts and bite people. This is why protecting your pet from the multiple dangers of fleas is the best way for you to keep your family safe as well. There are a variety of preventatives to choose from, including topical or oral medication. Our veterinarian will speak to you to help you decide on the best preventative program for your pet, and the best treatment for an existing infestation. For more information, see our flea article.

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm disease is a devastating condition for any animal. Caused by Dirofilaria immitis and transmitted through mosquito bites, it poses a significant threat due to its ease of spread. Both cats and dogs are susceptible to heartworms, but treatment protocols differ between the two species. In rare cases, heartworms have been known to infect humans when an infected animal is bitten by a mosquito that then moves on to a human host.

Despite its severity, heartworm disease can manifest with a wide range of symptoms, with some animals showing no visible signs until they suddenly collapse. Each case varies, with numerous factors influencing the disease’s severity. In dogs, symptoms can include coughing, fatigue, weight loss, difficulty breathing, and a swollen abdomen due to fluid accumulation from heart failure. Additionally, dogs with heartworms may develop a life-threatening condition known as “caval syndrome,” which is a form of liver failure that usually results in death without prompt surgical intervention.

While cats are less susceptible to heartworms, they are still at risk. Heartworms in cats can lead to a syndrome called Heartworm-Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD), characterized by subtle symptoms that mimic those of asthma or allergic bronchitis. Other common signs in cats include respiratory distress, fast or difficult breathing, panting, wheezing, coughing, vomiting (usually unrelated to eating), weight loss, and loss of appetite.

Diagnosing heartworm in cats is more challenging than in dogs. Also Heartworm treatment for both species can be costly and potentially hazardous. Depending on the animal’s condition, dogs may not survive heartworm treatment, and there is currently no approved treatment for cats. The standard therapy for Feline Heartworm involves veterinary care, possibly requiring hospitalization, to stabilize the animal’s condition and address secondary complications caused by the parasites.


How to protect against heartworms

Even if your pet is on a monthly preventative, it is still important to get the testing done. Heartworm infection can take up to 7 months before they will show up positive on the test. Something as simple as being a few days late with the next month’s treatment, and you may not find out until next year’s test. Speak to our veterinarian in newmarket about any questions you have about heartworm.

Ticks and Tick Prevention

Ticks are becoming more widespread in North America. In the recent years, areas safe from tick encounters in the past are suffering increasing infestations. Ticks can carry serious, sometimes deadly diseases, some which include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick paralysis. Even your indoor pet is at risk, as these parasites often catch a ride on someone’s clothing or body. Contact your vet immediately if you pet begins coughing, has joint pain, trouble breathing, fever, weakness, loss of weight and appetite, less energy, and problems with coordination.
Even while on the preventative, you may still find the occasional tick on your dog or cat. Some preventative treatments kill the ticks after they bite the animal. Others may be killed through contact with the skin of a protected pet, but hide under the fur. As an added measure of protection, it is recommended that you check your pets for ticks every time they come in from outside. Should you find a tick, it needs to be removed immediately. The longer it stays attached to the host, the greater the chance of spreading disease. Speak to our vet in Newmarket if you see  any ticks to properly remove them. Do not crush, burn, or suffocate the tick, as this may help spread bacteria. Read more about Ticks

What tests are available for parasites?

Our veterinarian will be able to discuss any testing that is available to help diagnose or detect parasites. There are annual blood tests for heartworm and other blood born parasites, as well as fecal testing for internal parasites. Skin scrapings and swabs can be taken to determine external parasites like fleas or mites.
Brooker Ridge Animal Hospital
Veterinary Hospital Newmarket and Aurora
107-525 Brooker Ridge
Newmarket, ON L3X-2M2

T: 905-898-1010

E: vetsnewmarket@gmail.comHours:

Mon-Fri 9:30 am – 7:30 pm
Sat 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Sun Closed