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Heartworm and Lyme Disease Prevention
If your pet ever sets foot outdoors, the risks of parasitic infestation and disease transmission are never far away. Two of the most devastating diseases can be contracted of two of the most common kinds of parasites -- mosquitos and ticks. Mosquitos can transfer the larvae that grow into heartworms, while ticks carry the dreaded bacterial infection known as Lyme disease. That's why annual Lyme disease and heartworm testing are so important for your beloved menagerie and its why we're happy to provide that service here at Southglen Veterinary Hospital.
Heartworms are long, slender worms that develop from larvae deposited by a mosquito's bite. The worms take up residence in the blood vessels serving the heart and lungs, causing gradual development of respiratory and cardiovascular problems that can eventually prove fatal. Lyme disease is more common in dogs than in cats, although both animals can get it. Tick bites introduce the bacterium that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) into the bloodstream. Lyme disease causes swollen, painful joints and slong with generalized body pain and fevers, all of which may disappear and recur intermittently. Some dogs can also develop serious kidney problems.
If you need a skilled, experienced veterinarian in Winnipeg to help you keep your pet healthy and safe against the perils of Lyme disease and heartworm, turn to Southglen Veterinary Hospital. We urge annual testing and ongoing prevention as the easiest and most effective strategies. Treating heartworm in an infected dog can be an extremely involved and possibly dangerous process, while there is no safe heartworm treatment procedure for cats at all -- the expulsion of the killed worms can set off a fatally toxic response in the body. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, but the treatment isn't always effective which may result in your pet being unprotected from the disease. Animals who have suffered kidney failure will need serious additional care.
Our veterinarian in Winnipeg will recommend that your pet receive preventative heartworm medication via oral, topical or injectable doses but annual testing is a critical step that must occur beforehand. If your pet already has heartworm, the use of these preventative medications could be hazardous, in which we will focus on treating the existing infestation first.
Annual testing for Lyme disease also makes a great deal of sense. Testing allows us to catch an infection in its early stages, up to a year before the first obvious symptoms appear. Common Lyme disease tests include the C6 test, which identifies a specific antibody found in infected animals' bloodstreams, and the Quant C6 test for measuring the amount of that antibody. Lyme disease vaccination is an option for many dogs; we may recommend vaccination if your pet lives in a high-risk zone, along with a flea and tick preventative medication regimen.
Call Southglen Veterinary Hospital at (204) 452-0077 to schedule annual testing for these two serious diseases!