Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network


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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Quick, name five amazing things that you love about spring; warmer weather, tulips, cherry blossoms in High Park, afternoon strolls through Bloor West village and later sunsets for lovely evening walks with my dog.

What are your fave five? Spring really is a great time of year in Toronto. But while you and your pet stop to smell the flowers remember the season isn’t all roses. This is also, of course, the time of year your pet is most susceptible to acquiring fleas and heartworm.

As we have mentioned before fleas, heartworm and parasites can be a threat anytime of the year but the risk becomes heightened in the warmer seasons. The increased risk is largely due to two factors. The warmer temperatures are a signal to the fleas that it is time to start hatching. On top of this your pet also enjoys the warmer weather and begins to spend more time outside, thus making them more susceptible to both. Heartworm is spread via mosquitoes and we all know that mosquito season is just around the corner. I can hear the buzzing already. At Bloor Animal Hospital we recommend coming in for heartworm testing anytime after April 15th and right now is actually the ideal time!

So what can you do to prevent heartworm and these nasty critters from irritating your cat or dog and infesting your home? Start flea and parasite control as soon as possible. Trust me on this one, if you haven’t been keeping up with the maintenance all year, spring is your signal to start pest control. Remember it is much easier and much more cost effective to prevent a parasite issue than it is to fix one. There are plenty of helpful medications that your veterinarian can recommend for you including drops, collars, and shampoos. Sentinel is a great oral treatment, the tablets prevent heartworm and fleas and dogs love the beef flavour! There are also topical treatments available such as Revolution brand, which prevents both fleas and other parasites.

If you haven’t started treatment or have lapsed and you think your pet might already have caught something there are signs and symptoms you can look out for. Fleas move fast so they can be hard to see, look on your pet’s tummy, and around their tail and necks for signs of biting or nesting fleas. You can also check for ‘flea dirt’ in your pet’s bedding. Flea dirt is fecal matter left from the flea and when placed on a damp white tissue it dissolves leaving a reddish brown stain.

The signs of heartworm can depend on the degree of damage that has been done to your dog’s heart.  Most dogs are completely asymptomatic until the worms overwhelm their hearts resulting in congestive heart failure. At the end of sunny spring day remember, an ounce prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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