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What you need to know about ticks and heartworm

The warm weather is approaching once again and Mount Joy Animal Clinic is preparing for our seasonal testing and prevention program against ticks and heartworm.


In part due to climate change and the warmer weather, we have seen an increase in the tick population and duration of their season for the past two years. It is becoming increasingly more common to find ticks attached to our pets. Ticks can transmit dangerous diseases such as Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis. When we are looking for heartworm in your dog’s annual blood sample, we will also be testing your dog for these tick-borne diseases. These are a very real threat in Markham as last year, in the Rouge River Valley, 50% of black-legged ticks (also known as deer ticks) tested positive for Lyme disease. In one lab alone, over 1300 cases of Lyme positive dogs were reported in 2016. Ticks start looking to feed as soon as the temperature reaches 4°C. We highly recommend putting your dog on tick and flea preventative during the high risk months (March – December) especially if your dog’s lifestyle involves going outdoors such as hiking in forests, parks, or long grass areas where ticks are mostly found (or if you live along the Rouge River or visit the Rouge Valley Park).


Heartworm is a parasite transmitted to dogs by the bite of a mosquito, allowing the infective larvae to travel to the heart and develop into adult worms. In one lab alone, 77 cases of heartworm positive dogs were reported in 2016. We advise you to bring your dog in for a blood test to ensure that he/she is not already infected with the parasite. Once the test has been confirmed negative, your dog will be placed on preventative medication for the high risk months (May - October).

This year, we are recommending your pet to be put on an oral chewable tablet (Bravecto – once every 3 months or Nexgard – once every month) as flea and tick preventative, and will need to be given in conjunction with Heartgard (for Heartworm season – May to October). Together, we hope to ensure that your pet and you both can safely enjoy the warmer weather outdoors free of these annoying pests!

Please call for an appointment to have the blood test performed and/or to pick the preventative medication(s) appropriate for your pet.

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