Veterinarians are warning dog owners that the mild winter and early spring could put dogs at greater risk of diseases such as heartworm and Lyme disease. To avoid the risk of infections, vets are advising dog owners to start their preventative regimines earlier and to regularly inspect and groom their dogs.
Although ticks, mosquitos, fleas and other pests are around every year, this year they are out in greater force. The warmer temperatures have brought about an increase activity and population of mosquitos and ticks. These pests are carriers of parasitic diseases which can adversely affect a dog's health and can be expensive to medically treat.
- Mosquito bites can transmit heartworm. To learn more about prevention and treatment of heartworm read in our article: Heartworm: How one mosquito bite can kill your dog.
- Tick bites can lead to a host of different tick-borne illnesses. Lyme disease is one of the more serious conditions, so it is important that dogs be checked regularly for ticks, especially when they go into long grass and wooded areas where ticks live. To learn more about symptoms, treatment and prevention of Lyme disease read our article: Canine Lyme Disease: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention.
- Fleas are not only annoying, if they infest a dog they can cause anemia and skin rashes.
Talk to your vet about the best preventative treatment options for your dog. All flea and tick products are considered pesticides and should always be used as instructed.
The video below from Health Canada outlines usage of preventative products, ways to prevent misuse and how to report any potential adverse side effects that may come from using these products.
No matter where you live, if you notice your pet reacting badly just after you apply a tick and/or flea medication, contact your veterinarian right away as your dog may be having a reaction to the product. You can also report the incident to your vet and the manufacturer, who are obligated to file a report.
It's important to note that adverse drug reactions will not occur the majority of times they are used. Therefore, their potential benefits in preventing serious illnesses in your dog outweigh the risks of not using them.
A recent report shows many pets have experienced problems with spot-on flea and tick treatment sold in pet stores and veterinary clinics across the country. Watch the video and find out about the importance of using these products safely. For information call the Health Canada Pest Management Information Service Line, 1-800-267-6315.
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