The Toronto Humane Society reminds everyone that it is never ok to leave an animal in a car unattended.
Every spring and summer, the warm weather brings with it a life-threatening, catastrophic danger for some animals: balcony falls from condos and apartment buildings. Windows and doors are opened, animals find their way outside - and sometimes they fall, five, six, ten stories to the ground.
Injured animals are regularly rushed to the Humane Society for emergency care after such falls at this time of year. The injuries are often severe, and internal injuries like lung damage or internal bleeding can be fatal.
These accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Please supervise your animals and "pet-proof" your home the way you would for small children. Help spread the message by letting your friends and family know that unsecured windows and balconies are a serious danger that can cause severe pain and sometimes death. These brutal falls can be avoided through awareness and vigilance.
Heartworm is a particularly unpleasant worm that lives in the heart and lungs. The immature worms, called larvae, circulate in the blood. Heartworm disease involves the heart and lungs, and can result in severe illness and death. The worm affects mainly dogs, but occasionally cats as well.
Heartworm is easily prevented. By contrast, treatment of established disease is expensive, lengthy, unpleasant and risky. This makes it a disease where prevention is a no-brainer.
The heartworm season in Ontario coincides with the warmer weather. That's because the larvae in the bloodstream are spread from one dog to another by mosquitoes: Mosquito season equals heartworm season.
Your veterinarian will want to test your dog before putting him or her on heartworm preventives for the first time. This is because if a heartworm-positive animal is treated with certain preventives, the dying larvae can cause a severe reaction. It's also to identify animals that need treatment. Thereafter, annual testing prior to heartworm season, is usually recommended.
Preventive treatment is needed for as long as the dog is exposed to mosquitoes – five to six months (May or June to October) if restricted to Ontario, potentially year-round if the dog travels to warmer areas. The preventive is a liquid that is applied to the skin between the shoulders, or a pill, given once a month. It's not expensive and it really couldn't be easier to administer. The preventive has the added advantage of treating for fleas and other internal parasites.
We advise dog owners, if you haven't done so already, to call their veterinarian without delay to arrange an appointment. Vets are very busy at this time of year! Preventive medication should start in May or June.
For more information see the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association information page at http://www.ovma.org/pet_owners/dogs/heartworm.html