Make sure your pets are safe this spring
As Spring gets closer, we look forward to getting out and enjoying ourselves in local parks and favourite camping and hiking locations. While many of these destinations are fun, they also bring a higher risk of our pets contracting certain parasites and diseases. Donít leave Fido at home though - most parasites are easily controlled or prevented!
Also known as Beaver Fever, Giardia primarily lives in water, so most dogs get it by drinking or playing in contaminated water, such as streams, rivers and lakes. The major symptom is on-and-off diarrhea, but depending on how it affects your dog, symptoms may be as mild as weight loss and anorexia (not eating). Giardia can be transmitted to people, but luckily it is easily treated once diagnosed.
Dogs and cats can get many different kinds of intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms and roundworms. If a pet has worms in its stool, this actually means that the number of worms in the intestines is very high and the pet has likely had worms for a while.
Many worms can be transmitted to people. Unfortunately, most human cases are seen in children as they tend to put things (including their hands) into their mouths. If their hands contain an amount of infected stool, the children will develop worms too. If there are children in the house, monthly deworming is highly recommended.
This disease is extremely common in places such as the southern United States, interior of B.C., and Ontario. However, due to pets travelling or being adopted from these areas (ie Hurricane Katrina dogs), heartworm is becoming a concern in Alberta.
Ticks spread many diseases, so tick prevention is key. If you are in areas with tall grasses, or where wildlife such as deer frequent, it's a good idea to check your pet thoroughly for ticks. Do not try to remove the ticks yourself unless you have a tool for removing ticks. Sometimes the tickís head is left behind, imbedded in your petís skin and can cause an infection.
If you find a tick on your pet, bring it to a vet clinic so they can send it away to be tested for Lyme disease, which can affect both pets and people.
Christina Holland is an animal health technologist in Airdrie. To have your pet questions answered, contact email@example.com