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Photo of an older dog walking on a leash


Parasites are not only a nuisance, but they can also transmit dangerous diseases.  Brant County has typically been a hot bed for Heartworm and now Lyme and tick borne diseases.  We have observed a steady increase in the number of positive test results in presumably healthy pets for both heartworm and Lyme disease.  We have the knowledge and tools to help protect your pets so you can enjoy a healthy, active and long life with them.

What is heartworm?


Heartworm is a serious and potentially life threatening parasitic disease. Adult heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) are thin, spaghetti-like worms that live in the heart and the major blood vessels connecting the heart to the lungs. Undetected and untreated they can grow up to 14 inches long and a single dog can have as many as 300 worms! Heartworm is more common in dogs but can also infest cats.

Infection with heartworm can cause serious disease involving the heart, lungs, liver, and other organs. Affected dogs may have coughing, weakness, exercise intolerance, weight loss and poor appetite. Laboured breathing, collapse, and even sudden death are also possible. However the majority of pets infected with heartworm do not have any outward signs of illness until the disease has progressed to a dangerous point.

How does my pet become infected?


From mosquitos!  When an infected mosquito bites a dog (or a cat) it injects the immature heartworm parasite into that animal. The larvae develop into the adult worms in a process that takes approximately 6 months. Once mature the adult heartworms can produce thousands of microfilaria that other mosquitos will pick up by feeding on that infected pet, and the cycle continues. Even pets that spend most of their time indoors can be infected since it only takes a single bite!


Fortunately heartworm disease is easily preventable. An application of a topical product (a liquid medication applied to the skin) or oral tablets can be given just once a month to prevent this deadly disease. Since giving preventive medications to dogs already infected with heartworm can pose risks, a simple blood test is done to ensure your pet has not already been infected prior to starting prevention. Prevention is much better than treatment.



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