Fleas and ticks are more than just a pesky annoyance to you and your pet. Fleas can infest not only your pet but also your house, multiplying at an alarming rate. If left untreated, flea bites can cause incessant itching and scratching for your pet, which can result in damage and scabbing of the skin, hair loss, and of course, discomfort. Fleas can carry nasty parasites like tapeworms. Ticks can carry dangerous diseases that can be passed to your dog with just one bite. The most talked-about disease is Lyme disease. It is the black-legged tick (or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis) that is the carrier of Lyme disease.
In Ontario, have a few different species of ticks to be concerned about. This is why we so highly promote and encourage tick prevention. Flea and Tick prevention comes in many convenient forms. An oral chew given once a month (that also prevents heartworm as well) or an oral chew that is given once every 12 weeks (fleas and ticks only), or a topical solution is given once a month (complete with heartworm protection).
What are the treatment options for dogs who have ticks?
If you find a tick on your dog and it has attached itself, please call us and let us have one of our Technicians safely and completely remove it for you. We highly recommend doing a quick blood test approximately 6 weeks later to be sure that nothing was passed during this bite. Unfortunately, doing a blood test immediately following a bite would not give accurate results.
“Tick season” used to mean spring/summer/fall, with a break over the winter – the colder weather meant that we could take a break from worrying about these pesky bugs and the diseases they can transmit. But in the last few years, we’ve seen a change creeping up on us, with the weather staying warm later into the season, and spring arriving earlier each year – and the bugs are loving it! You may have already heard us talking about how any day that the temperature is above the freezing point, ticks are potentially active. This past year, we had days above 0°C in all 12 months! Ticks aren’t killed by the cold, they simply go dormant, waiting until it’s warm enough to come back out – so last year, even January and February had days warm enough for ticks to be active! This means that we are now recommending that all dogs (and cats that go outdoors) take advantage of year-round flea and tick protection. There are several options, our first choice being an all-in-one that protects against fleas, ticks, and heartworm, as well as providing regular deworming against roundworms. One pill, once a month – what could be simpler? If your pet is already on a monthly preventative, all you need to do is pick up a refill and continue throughout the winter months. If your pet hasn’t yet started on comprehensive parasite prevention, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have and set you up with the best option for your pet.
What does this mean for testing?
The 4DX test that we recommend most commonly screens for heartworm disease, Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes (so every dog in Ontario is potentially at risk – at Westbridge we treat a few cases every year!), and the others are all transmitted via tick bites. We have seen an increase in Lyme-positive dogs in the last few years, one of the reasons we are recommending some of these changes. For better early detection and the safety of your pet, we are recommending annual 4DX testing for all dogs. This simple blood test can be done at any time, although the optimal time is in the spring. Catching disease early is key to successful treatment – and no matter how careful you are with preventative medications, there is always some risk of infection. As always, our veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians are available to answer any questions you may have about the best options for your pet. Email us at email@example.com, or call us at 905-285-0002
With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 19, 2020 some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.
1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!
2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE
Continue our "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us. We will take a history of your pet's health and discuss any concerns. A staff member will then meet you outside to bring your pet into the hospital for an examination. The Veterinarian will call you to discuss the recommended treatment plan. After your appointment, a staff member will return your pet to you outside, and take care of any needed medications and payment.
Continue the use of credit and debit cards as the preferred payment method.
Continue with curbside pickup of food and medication (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".
3. OPERATING HOURS
We are OPEN with the following hours:
- Monday to Friday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm - Saturday: 8:00 am - 1:00 pm - Sunday: CLOSED
4. NEW PET OWNERS
Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.
Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!
Your dedicated team at Westbridge Veterinary Hospital