Parasite Protocol for 2018-2019
2018-2019 Summer Season
Fleas, Ticks and Heartworms Oh My!
Happy Spring Everyone!
As you can imagine, with the mild winter, many parasites we were less concerned about previously, will be out sooner and in higher concentrations this year.
I thought I would take the opportunity to outline the various parasite programs available for our canine companions.
There are a number of parasitic diseases that are of concern in Southern Ontario. As we have previously been aware and treating diligintly: fleas, heartworm, roundworm, hookworms, whipworms and giardia have been our top concern. More recently ticks are becoming a more prominent parasite around and in Toronto. More specifically, the Black Legged tick/Deer tick may carry Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis.
Dogs that become infected with Lyme disease may at first show no signs but can later develop joint and kidney problems. Areas that have White –tailed eer are more of a concern for Lyme disease, however any area that the ticks intermediate hosts occupy, such as mice, rabbits, raccoons and coyotes are all at risk for ticks.
In the past we have been using several spot on formulations. As you recall, these may include “Revolution”, “Advantge Multi” and “Advantix”. Advantage Multi and Advantix have been a very good “Gold Standard” parasite program but have proven difficult for people to remember to apply, with some animals becoming irritated or not getting much into their haircoat.
I can provide a chart that helps show all the differences; however this year I will be recommending for most clients a different program. Please see the plans below:
For animals that go outside quite frequently and travel to cottage country:
Part A: Interceptor tabs- once a month during months where temperatures are over 4 C. This will take care of heartworm (transmitted by mosquitos), roundworms (especially raccoon rounrdworm and can infect humans), hookworms and whipworms.
Part B: Bravecto tabs- once every three months. This is an easy way to treat for fleas and ticks. This is an easy alternative to the mothly spot-on we use to use called “Advantix”. This also can be used in households with cats, however there may be some side effects and does mean the fleas and ticks need to bite your dog for them to die. We can still have your animal on “Advantix; if you prefer.
2. For animals that are virtually indoors all the time:
Part A: Sentinel or Revolution- This may be a good alternative if you truly aren’t worried about tick infested areas. I would say this would be ok for the regular sidewalk Toronto leash walk only animal. This will help with fleas, heartworm, roundworm. Sentinel also has the additional benefit to help with whipworms, wheras Revolution can help with one form of mange and ear mites. Revolution also helps with a 2 of the 4 types of ticks we have, but not the deer tick that transmits Lyme disease.
Optional Part B/C to both these programs is the Lyme Disease Vaccine. This is great if you want to make sure, as best possible that your animal wont get sick from Lyme disease. However there are no vaccines for the other tick-transmitted diseases, such as Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichia.
Gold Standard this year for parasite control in Ontario for Madden Mobile Clients:
A current physical exam, must be within the year to dispense product
Fecal analysis every year (or every other year or when any changes noticed in feces)
Remove tall grass/leaf piles to minimize tick environments
4DX blood test to yearly to test for tick borne disease and heartworm disease
Parasite program as described above (ticks and fleas must bite), or Advantage Multi/Advantix program as done last year (no bite)
What do you do if you find a tick on your dog!
Use tweezers to grasp the tick by its mouthparts closest to the skin and pull gently away from, and out of the dog.
Do not use your hands to remove tick since this may squish the body of the tick and encourage it to regurgitate its digestive contents into the animal, which would then increase the chance of disease transmission. Also many of the diseases transmitted from ticks can be passed to humans, so using a tweezer and plastic disposable gloves will minimize this risk. Also, do not stun the tick with alcohol first since this may encourage the tick to regurgitate into the animal and increases the potential risk of transmission of disease.
Once the tick is out, please dispose of it in a small jar of rubbing alcohol to kill it and the diseases it may contain. Squishing it to kill it can cause dispersal of diseases, so this is discouraged. You can also use regular alcohol like rum or scotch in a pinch.
Ideally a 4DX blood test should be performed on your dog 1 month after a tick bite, and 4 months after a tick bite. This will check for any transmission of disease. However, testing will depend on if your dog has been on a preventative tick medication and if your dog has been vaccinated against Lyme disease, so will be discussed with you to determine the best approach for your dog.
As you can imagine- it is difficult to carry all the products for every size dogJ If you can let me know ahead of time so I can have you dogs medicine on-hand that would be extremely helpful.
All the best for a Happy and Healthy Year!
Dr. Melissa Madden