Expert Says These 3 Infectious Diseases Are of Major Concern For Your Pet

Dr. Ian Cameron, DVM, shares expert advice on some of the most common (and serious) health concerns for pets in Eastern Ontario.


Borellia burgdorferi

Passed by deer ticks which are abundant in Ontario and are active at as low as freezing point (0 degrees). Due to recent thaws in the middle of winter with climate change, this makes Lyme potentially a risk to both animals and humans year round. Dogs may be vaccinated as a preventive measure. Clinical signs of disease may include joint pain, kidney disease, and even seizures from meningitis. There are very effective medications to kill ticks or fleas for both dogs and cats, although as with any medication it is important to discuss this with your veterinarian before starting, and also to stop and immediately report any rare reactions as they occur.



Dirofilaria immitis

The prevalence of this mosquito borne parasite has progressively increased in Ontario. It is very important to prevent this disease with medication, for if present can be ultimately fatal to dogs and cats. Clinical signs include coughing, exercise intolerance, and acute cardiovascular collapse. Typically the treatment prevention period is June until November in Canada but should be extended if you take your pets further south where mosquitos are present year round.



Echinococcus multilocularis

Originating from Europe, and now an emerging concern in Ontario, this is a zoonotic disease (can affect humans) that is acquired from dogs ingesting rodents infected with it, or from ingesting fox or coyote feces. The dog may then pass it to humans when they groom themselves and then lick the owner’s face. This is very serious and can cause liver failure and even death. The mortality rate in humans is over 70% if left untreated! It is preventable by giving dogs at risk with a monthly dewormer that kills tapeworm. A very safe and effective treatment for most worms including fox tapeworm and heartworm is Interceptor Plus. Standard dewormers do not always cover tapeworm. Your veterinarian will be able to discuss this with you and any other concerning diseases that may affect you or your pets.

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