IXODES SCAPULARIS, DERMACENTOR VARIABILIS, AMBLYOMMA AMERICANUM, RHIPICEPHALUS SANGUINEUS
HOW DOES MY DOG GET TICKS?
Ticks are most abundant from spring to autumn but can be active all year-round (whenever the temperature is above 0°C). With climate change, increasing deer populations (which host ticks), and travelling pets, tick numbers are increasing. They’re also remaining active for longer periods of time, and new tick species and tick-borne diseases are appearing where they were not previously present. The species most common in Canada are the Blacklegged (Deer) tick, American Dog tick and Lone Star tick.
Ticks are found on vegetation and latch on as dogs brush past, so it’s very difficult to prevent tick exposure. They’re commonly found in the countryside, parks and woods. There are many tick species, and different species can be found in different regions across the country and around the world. If you travel with your dog, it’s important to talk to your vet about specific tick risks within the areas you’re visiting.
HOW WILL TICKS AFFECT MY DOG?
Ticks pierce a dog’s skin and suck blood over several days. This can cause irritation, painful abscesses, and even anemia in small dogs. But ticks are especially dangerous because they can transmit infectious pathogens that cause diseases, some of which can be fatal:
Borreliosis (Lyme disease) is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The symptoms of Lyme disease include lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, arthritis and swollen lymph nodes.
Babesiosis is caused by Babesia species. These organisms are blood parasites that destroy red blood cells, which can lead to anemia or, in some cases, death.
Ehrlichiosis is caused by bacteria that infect white blood cells and induce fever. Some dogs recover completely, while others remain infected and develop problems with their immune and blood clotting systems.
Anaplasmosis is caused by a bacterium transmitted by ticks that have previously bitten host animals, such as deer and rodents. Symptoms are flu-like and may include lameness (i.e., abnormal stance/gait) and bleeding.
DID YOU KNOW?
Ticks can also transmit disease-causing pathogens to humans. One example is Lyme disease, which can cause flu-like symptoms in humans and lead to serious health complications if left undiagnosed.
HOW DOES MY DOG GET FLEAS?
Fleas are a year-round problem and the most common external parasite to affect dogs. The adult fleas found on dogs represent only a small portion of the flea population. The rest are lurking in the environment as eggs, larvae and pupae (cocoons containing pre-emerged fleas). They may be found outside in the yard, park and woods or inside in carpets, floorboards and furniture – specifically your dog’s bedding.
Fleas lay eggs in these environments that hatch to larvae, and then develop to pupae. Young adult fleas emerge from the pupae, and when your dog passes by, these fleas hop on to their new host.
Fleas are prolific breeders, and flea numbers can explode in the warm spring and summer months – one female flea can become 1,500 fleas in 2 to 3 months. But that’s not to say fleas are only a problem in warmer weather. Milder, wetter winters and heated homes allow these parasites to thrive all year long.
To really eliminate fleas, you have to disrupt their life cycle (i.e., adult fleas must be killed before they can start laying eggs). Regular treatment of your pet will help to control the reservoir of both adult fleas and immature fleas inside your home. But, if your house is heavily infested, it is recommended to use a home environmental spray.
HOW WILL FLEAS AFFECT MY DOG?
Fleas bite dogs to feed on their blood. These bites commonly cause itching and scratching amongst host dogs. Some dogs can develop Flea Allergy Dermatitis, an allergic reaction to flea saliva resulting in intense itching, scratching, hair loss and raised bumps.
Some puppies become anemic due to the amount of blood sucked out by feeding fleas, as their small bodies can’t handle the blood loss. Fleas also transmit the main tapeworm species that infects dogs.
DID YOU KNOW?
Humans can be affected by fleas too. For certain individuals, flea bites can cause irritation and in some cases, allergic reactions.
HOW DOES MY DOG GET HEARTWORM?
Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes. If an infected mosquito bites your dog, it can deposit heartworm larvae into your dog’s skin tissues, which then migrate to the heart. Although more prevalent in areas with warmer climates, heartworm is now an emerging risk for dogs throughout Canada – specifically in the southern halves of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec
HOW WILL HEARTWORM AFFECT MY DOG?
It takes about 6 to 7 months for the heartworm larvae to travel to the dog’s heart chambers and/or blood vessels supplying the lungs. Once matured, these worms can measure up to 30 cm in length and wreak havoc on your dog’s heart and lungs.
Clinical signs of heart or lung problems are commonly present in infected dogs. These symptoms develop and progress slowly over weeks or months. Initially your dog will tire easily, and exhibit shortness of breath or coughing after exercise. In later stages, coughing and fatigue will be observed at rest as well. If left untreated, heartworm disease can be fatal.
DID YOU KNOW?
If you are travelling with your dog it’s important to check whether you will be visiting a heartworm endemic area. Ask your vet about preventative parasite treatment before you travel anywhere with your dog.
TOXOCARA CANIS, TOXASCARIS LEONINA
HOW DOES MY DOG GET ROUNDWORM?
Roundworms are the most common type of parasitic worm found inside dogs. Studies have shown that virtually all puppies are born infected, as the mother can pass worms to them during pregnancy, and via her milk while nursing.
Roundworms are highly prolific breeders and females can lay hundreds of thousands of eggs per day. Infested dogs shed these microscopic eggs – via their droppings – into the environment, where they become infective after 1 to 4 weeks. The eggs are resistant to hot and cold temperatures (as well as disinfectants) so they can remain alive and infective for many years. Other dogs become infested when they sniff or lick grass, dirt, or anything soiled by feces. Dogs may also become infested when they eat rodents or other small mammals that can carry roundworm larvae.
HOW WILL ROUNDWORM AFFECT MY DOG?
Adult roundworms live in the dog’s intestines and many dogs do not show any sign of illness. However, dogs that have a major infestation, particularly puppies, can show digestive signs such as potbelly, diarrhea and vomiting. They may also have respiratory signs as the immature worms pass through their lungs, leading to coughing and pneumonia.
DID YOU KNOW?
Although roundworms cannot complete their life cycle (i.e., grow into adults) in human hosts, the immature larvae can still infest people, causing a variety of health problems – one of the worst being blindness. Children are particularly at risk as they often play in areas where worm eggs may be present, such as grass and dirt. Adults may also be exposed while gardening or doing yard work.
ANCYLOSTOMA CANINUM, UNCINARIA STENOCEPHALA
HOW DOES MY DOG GET HOOKWORM?
Similar to roundworms, hookworms are parasites that live in the dog’s digestive tract. Hookworms attach to the dog’s intestinal wall and feed on tissue and blood. Their eggs are laid in the dog’s gut and pass into the environment via the feces.
After a day or two, hookworm larvae hatch out of eggs and live in the soil, where they become infective after 1 to 3 weeks. If your dog is sniffing and licking in these contaminated areas, larvae can easily be swallowed and your dog can develop a hookworm infestation.
HOW WILL HOOKWORM AFFECT MY DOG?
Through their feeding activity, hookworms cause inflammation and internal blood loss. They are a serious threat to dogs, especially young puppies, as they can induce bloody diarrhea and severe anemia which sometimes leads to death.
DID YOU KNOW?
Humans can also become infested with hookworms after handling soil that contains the larvae. These larvae may penetrate the skin and cause a serious condition, producing itching, irritation, and visible skin tracks where the worm is burrowing.
HOW DOES MY DOG GET WHIPWORM?
Whipworms live in the dog’s intestines, where they attach themselves to the intestinal walls and feed on blood. Your dog may become infested with whipworms by swallowing infective eggs in soil or other substances contaminated by dog feces. Once deposited into the environment, whipworm eggs can survive for years. An infestation can happen any time your dog sniffs the ground, roots in the dirt, or plays with toys that have been in contact with contaminated soil.
HOW WILL WHIPWORM AFFECT MY DOG?
Dogs infested with a few whipworms may not show any signs. However, a severe whipworm infestation will cause bloody diarrhea and severe anemia, and – in the absence of treatment – can lead to death.
DID YOU KNOW?
Whipworms are named for their characteristic whip-shaped body, which is composed of a thin end (the lash of the whip) and a thick end (the handle).
DIPYLIDIUM CANINUM, ECHINOCOCCUS SPP., TAENIA SPP.
HOW DOES MY DOG GET TAPEWORM?
Tapeworms are an extremely rare threat to dogs in Canada. In fact, the most common species is the “flea tapeworm” which is – as its name suggests – transmitted via flea consumption. Echinococcus and Taenia are other species of tapeworm that are transmitted via raw tissue consumption, and rarely seen in Canada (although reports indicate incidence is rising).
HOW WILL TAPEWORM AFFECT MY DOG?
Because tapeworms feed on nutrients passing through the intestines, your dog may seem hungrier than usual. And if the infestation lasts for a long period of time, your dog may begin losing weight. But the most common way to identify a tapeworm infestation is to actually see segments of worm after they pass with your dog’s excrement. These rice- like segments may be visible on your dog’s fur, around the anus or right within the stool.
DID YOU KNOW?
The most effective way to reduce the risk of tapeworm infestation is to protect your dog against fleas and eliminate any possible consumption of raw tissue.