Ticks are becoming more prevalent in the Ottawa region, carrying with them potentially serious conditions such as Lyme disease. Due to increasing numbers of ticks, oral or topical prevention for all dogs has become one of our core recommendations. At minimum in Ottawa, dogs should be protected from ticks from early March to late December, but based on our increasingly milder winters some specialists are now recommending tick prevention year round, as ticks are active any time temperatures are around freezing. Preventing ticks protects not only our pets, but ourselves – ticks brought in the house on the dog will eventually drop off and hide in the house until they find their next victim!
Oral options for dogs are Bravecto (one tablet every 12 weeks) and Nexgard (one tablet once monthly). The only topical option is K9 Advantix II (one tube applied monthly, also has repellant activity to keep ticks and ALL biting insects off the dog). All products protect against ticks and fleas. We have a reminder system in place to track the medication one uses and when it is next due so that no doses are delayed or missed – owners can be contacted by phone or email.
Routine screening for Lyme and other tick borne diseases is strongly recommended. The “4Dx” blood test screens for Lyme and 2 other tick borne pathogens, as well as heartworm. Depending on a particular dog’s risk factors or known tick exposure, testing may be recommended every 1-2 years.
Currently there are no tick protection products available in Canada for cats. However, a monthly topical feline version of Bravecto will be coming in 2017 – we will keep cat owners updated on its arrival and availability.
Please do not hesitate to call or email with any questions or concerns, or chat with one of our friendly and knowledgeable veterinarians at your next visit.