PARASITE SEASON NEWSLETTER
Dear Pet Owner, Once again, parasite season has arrived in Saskatoon. It is time to talk about protecting your dog against intestinal worms (and heartworms – rare) and external parasites such as ticks, lice and fleas. Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite we see in dogs living in Saskatoon. Tapeworms can also be found in dogs that eat dead animals (rodents, birds etc.). Heartworms are not currently considered a problem in Saskatoon. Ticks and lice are the most commonly seen external parasites seen in Saskatoon. Fleas are diagnosed from time to time but less frequently than ticks and lice. Ticks are especially abundant in moist areas with tall grasses. Lice can be acquired by close contact with infested dogs. In this newsletter, I will summarize my recommendations on prevention against common parasites seen in dogs living in Saskatoon. My recommendations are drawn from guidelines outlined by CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Council) and CPEP (Canadian Parasitology Expert Panel). For more detail information on parasite control, please visit their websites: www.capcvet.org. and www.wormsandgermsblog.com/uploads/file/CPEP%20guidelines%20ENGLISH.pdf
Intestinal worms in dogs are best prevented by regular deworming. There is no medication to prevent your dog from developing worms if they are exposed to contaminated soil. You can only treat your dogs for worms with a dewormer after the worms mature in their intestines. Therefore, frequent deworming will be required with frequent exposures. Intestinal worms are MOST COMMONLY seen in puppies and young dogs, therefore more aggressive and frequent deworming protocol is required. In adult and older dogs, deworming frequency should reflect the lifestyle of the animal because the level of exposure to infectious larvae varies from dog to dog. Please refer to the enclosed information card to determine the frequency of deworming appropriate for your dog.
I am surprised by the high number of dogs with lice presented at the clinic in the past year. I suspect that this may be related to the increased popularity of Doggy Daycare and Doggy Sports. Since lice are transmitted by close contact with infested dogs, I expect to see more of this parasite when many dogs are gathered in a small space. I am a great supporter of Doggy Daycare and Doggy Sports and encourage dog owners to engage their pets in these activities. There are many products that are effective in preventing lice. Please ask us which product will be best suited for your dog!
It is fortunate that fleas are not a big problem in Saskatoon. I most commonly see fleas in farm / acreage dogs. Many products are effective in preventing your dogs from fleas. Please ask us which one will be best suited for your dog.
To date, there has not been a confirmed case of heartworm (HW) disease in Saskatchewan dogs that have never traveled to endemic areas outside of the province. However, endemic areas have been identified in our neighboring western provinces, specifically in southern Manitoba and the Southern Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Due to warming climate trends and movement of dogs through international rescue adoption programs and families with pets relocating to Saskatchewan, the emergence of HW disease in local dogs is anticipated in the foreseeable future. It will require vigilance in surveillance (HW testing) and proactive prevention measures to protect our pet dog population from potential outbreak of this life-threatening parasite. Please refer to the enclosed leaflet for more information and my recommendations on testing and prevention protocols.
The most common ticks found in dogs in Saskatchewan are the American Dog Ticks. Although a nuisance, this species of tick is not known to transmit disease. However, the Deer Tick, responsible for the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, has been found in our province in recent years. In addition, cases of Lyme disease have been reported in 2011 in dogs that have only resided in Saskatchewan. Please ask us about the best way to protect your dog from ticks depending on his / her size, coat and lifestyle.
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