HEARTWORM DISEASE IN DOGS AND CATS
BY DR. LEIGH CHISHOLM
Heartworm is a parasite that lives up to its name. The adult heartworms live in the large vessels in the lungs, and from there move into the heart. They cause inflammation in the lungs, and if several worms are present they can lead to heart failure either by obstructing the vessels in the lungs so that the heart cannot pump hard enough to get blood through, or sometimes by getting tangled in the valves of the heart. Microfilaria are the first stage of baby heartworms, and they are released by the adult worms into the blood of the affected animal.
Heartworm is a mosquito borne parasite. A mosquito bites an infected dog, fox or coyote, and sucks up some microfilaria (baby heartworms) along with the blood meal. After several days and two moults, the baby heartworms are now infectious L3 larvae. When their mosquito bites another animal, the L3 larvae in the mosquito’s saliva infect this new host, and the cycle begins again.
Winter puts a freeze on heartworm transmission here, so we recommend a heartworm prevention once monthly from June 1 through to and including November 1. The preventatives kill any baby heartworms the mosquitos dropped off in the previous month before these parasites con complete their migration to the lungs and heart.
TICK DISEASES IN DOGS AND CATS
There is no shortage of ticks in Manitoba, and although they are most common in leaf litter and long, uncut grass, they can show up almost anywhere. Tick season runs from about April – November. They freeze solid for the winter, and whenever it warms up above freezing they thaw out and start looking for a blood meal. Ixodes (black-legged or deer ticks) carry some diseases that can be challenging to treat (such as Lyme disease), so we are fortunate to have tick prevention options available for our pets.
PREVENTION FOR CATS: INTRODUCING NEXGARD COMBO!
New to the market of tick and heartworm prevention is a very thorough medication for cats! Nexgard Combo is a solution that is applied topically between a cat’s shoulder blades once monthly, and it protects against ticks, fleas, heartworms, intestinal roundworms, tapeworms, and ear mites. It is labeled to treat kittens and cats 8 weeks of age and older.
PREVENTIVE MEDICATIONS: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Nexgard: A chewable tablet that is given to dogs once per month to protect against ticks, fleas, and mites.
Heartgard: A chewable tablet that is given to dogs once per month to protect against heartworms and intestinal roundworms.
Nexgard Spectra: A chewable tablet that is given to dogs once a month to protect against ticks, fleas, heartworms, intestinal roundworms, and mites.
Nexgard Combo: A topical solution for cats that protects against ticks, fleas, heartworms, intestinal roundworms, tapeworms, and mites.
BREED OF THE MONTH:
DOMESTIC SHORTHAIR CATS
Back in the days of pioneer settlement in North America, domestic shorthair cats were seen as working
animals, due to their hunting instinct that kept them on a keen lookout for mice. Inexpensive to take care of and effective at keeping barns and food storage facilities clear of rodents and other pests, the domestic shorthair made for the perfect working companion. Nowadays, domestic shorthairs are still seen as great companions, sometimes still in working capacities as mousers on farms, or as family pets within the home. Domestic shorthairs are often very playful in nature, and their ability to climb, balance, and leap also comes from their natural tendency towards hunting. However, they are non-aggressive in nature, which makes them the perfect companion for families with young children.
Let’s hear now from last month’s trivia winner and their cat, Chester!
“Hello! My name is Chester. I am a 5 year old domestic shorthair cat and a Humane Society rescue. I’ve been living with my family for 6 months now. At first I was a little scared and kept to myself, but now I am very comfortable in my home. I am friendly, curious and I “talk” a lot. I especially like paper bags and boxes. They are fun to hide in! I also like to chase bugs in the grass. My family thinks it’s funny that I sometimes sleep on my back. The girls, (Penelope and Meredith), keep a lot of yarn in the house, but apparently it’s not for me. Penelope crocheted a hat for me, but I did not really like wearing it.
Although I am getting better at wearing a harness to go outdoors. During the day I mostly keep to myself, sleep, or watch the squirrels and birds from a window. Sometimes I try to get attention by sitting on computer keyboards, books or whatever my owners are using at the moment. At night, I love to snuggle and cozy up with my family members. “People food” looks and smells really good, especially butter! I’d like to get my paws on that, but my owners say it will make my tummy unhappy. I visit Seasons Veterinary Clinic to stay healthy. Dr. Vitalii Cherevko takes good care of me to make sure I eat the right food and have the right medicine.”