5 Springtime Dog Diseases and How to Avoid Them

Spring is here! With it comes warmer weather and more opportunities for you and your furry best friend to stay outside longer. If you want to take advantage of outdoor time, make sure that you are avoiding potential health risks this spring. Here are five potential dog diseases and how to avoid them.

1. Rabies
In Ontario, the rabies vaccination is mandatory. If your pet is exposed to a rabid animal, they will be quarantined for 6 months or worse if they are not up to date with their rabies vaccination.

Rabies Vaccines are only valid for 1 to 3 years depending on the vaccination you have given your pet. Don’t let your pet get behind, and check in with your vet during the spring time to find out when your next booster is required.

2. Parvo and Distemper
Many sick raccoons in Ontario have tested positive for parvo and/or distemper viruses which are transmissible to dogs. Raccoons are almost unavoidable in neighbourhoods, and their urine can carry bacteria that causes severe kidney and liver infections in dogs (and people). Puppies and unvaccinated dogs can be put at risk by this.

3. Ticks
It’s tick season and they have been catching a ride north on migrating birds. This means that four degrees, ticks are active. By checking your pet daily, you can help remove ticks before they start feeding and transmitting disease. It is best to remove them within the first 24 hours.
Lyme disease has even been confirmed in the Rouge Valley in Toronto. Your dog doesn’t have to leave the city to get blood parasites!

Ask your vet today about tick preventives. These can kill ticks as quickly as 24 hours. Also ask your vet if your dog is a candidate for Lyme vaccination.

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4. Fleas
Fleas are an itchy nuisance but preventive medications are available to combat them. Some medications provide a combination of tick and heartworm control, making it even easier to keep your pet safe from these health concerns. Fleas are active between 4 to 35 degrees with 50% humidity, which means that they are around well into the nice summer weather.

If you have a cat, make sure that you are avoiding or using extreme caution with dog products containing Pyrethrin. This compound is very toxic when a dose is accidentally applied to a cat or the cat licks the dog.

5. Heartworm
Heartworm is another stubborn problem: An infant heartworm can spread and grow up to 12 inches in the bloodstream! It is transmitted in mosquitos in the springtime once the temperature goes above 14 degrees. Heartworm is easily preventable using a number of different veterinary formulations like chewables, tablets, topicals and a six month injectable. Choose the prevention most suitable for your dog. If you think your dog will lick the topical off, try the chewable. If they are a picky eater, try putting a tablet in a pill pocket. If an injection works better with your family’s schedule, it might be the best option to keep your fur buddy safe from heartworm.

Take your dog in for a blood test during spring to determine if your pet has been infected with heartworm. Although infected pets can be treated, the treatment takes a long time to take effect. The good news is, heartworm is preventable with updated immunization records!

Now is the time to spend with your dog outdoors. Make the most of your time together and keep them safe this this season.