Spring is in the air, and with this comes the return of parasite prevention.
All of the snow melting around us reveals a parasite haven! Dog feces that were not picked up can harbour infective eggs, such as roundworms and hookworms. Many dogs love to nibble on other dogs’ feces or the grass that the stools are lying on, thus perpetuating the parasitic cycle of infection. These same dogs love to lick their owners’ hands and faces, putting owners at risk for dangerous infections.
With the warmer weather, we also have increased dog to dog contact, such as going on walks or at off-leash parks. These dog to dog contact increases the potential for external parasites to spread.
Ticks also become active when the weather is 4 degrees Celsius or warmer. It is a concern for dogs and people who hike through tall grasses and forested areas. Our clinic has had several tick submissions over the past year from dogs who never left their back yards!
Echinococcus is an emerging parasite of significance, as it can be fatal in humans. It’s a tapeworm that can infect many species, including dogs and humans. Dogs pick up Echinococcus by eating infected rodents. It leads dogs to develop adult worms and pass infective eggs in their fecal matter. Humans pick up the infection by coming in contact with contaminated soil or eating fruits and vegetables contaminated with eggs, and by ingesting the eggs from an infected pet’s fur.
There are many dewormers on the market, and it can be confusing to decide which one suits your dog best. Take caution with over the counter dewormers, as they may not have the same efficacy as prescription ones, and they may be toxic to certain species (like cats).
We welcome all clients to call the clinic, or come in and speak with a staff member about a tailored parasite prevention program for your dog.
Written by: Dr. Katherine Takacs