Due to the increased prevalence of ticks, and particularly deer ticks carrying Lyme disease in Southern Ontario, Scott Veterinary Clinic has made the decision to move towards mandatory external parasite testing at least once every other year.
Traditionally this test was used to check for the presence of heartworm disease before starting on preventatives that could be life threatening if given to a heartworm positive dog. As such, if a dog had had a negative test, was on preventatives, and did not miss a dose, then we were comfortable allowing our clients to waive the test as the risk of complications remained very low. Testing for heartworm disease remains a concern; however the risk of a pet contracting Lyme disease from an undetected tick is now higher than the risk of heartworm disease.
Although dogs are less susceptible to the severe symptoms commonly associated with Lyme disease in humans, they can still become quite ill if the disease is left undetected and therefore untreated. It is for this reason that we are moving to a mandatory every other year testing protocol.
Threats of disease from these ticks are a danger for humans as well.
Please reach out if you have any questions and to book your dog’s appointment. Heartworm prevention should be started on June 1st and flea & tick prevention is now recommended year round due to the fact that ticks are active anytime the temperature is above freezing. We are seeing warmer winters now so that means that ticks can bite in January!