Heartworm and Lyme Prevention

Annual Lyme Disease and Heartworm Testing

If your pet ever sets foot outdoors, the risks of parasitic infestation and disease transmission are never far away. Two of the most devastating diseases can be contracted from two of the most common kinds of parasites — mosquitoes and ticks. Mosquitoes can transfer the larvae that grow into heartworms, while ticks carry the dreaded bacterial infection known as Lyme disease. That’s why annual Lyme disease and heartworm testing are so important for your beloved pet and why we’re happy to provide that service here at Silver Heights Veterinary Hospital. We urge annual testing and ongoing prevention as the easiest and most effective strategies. Our veterinarians recommend that your pet receive preventative heartworm and tick prevention via oral or topical doses.  Annual testing is a critical step that must occur beforehand. Call Silver Heights Veterinary Hospital at 204-504-5600 to schedule annual testing for these two serious diseases!


Heartworms are long, slender worms that develop from larvae deposited by a mosquito’s bite. The worms take up residence in the blood vessels serving the heart and lungs, causing gradual development of respiratory and cardiovascular problems that can eventually prove fatal. Treating heartworm in an infected dog can be an extremely involved and possibly dangerous process, while there is no safe heartworm treatment procedure for cats at all — the expulsion of the killed worms can set off a fatally toxic response in the body.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is more common in dogs than in cats, although both animals can get it. Tick bites introduce the bacterium that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) into the bloodstream. Lyme disease causes swollen, painful joints along with generalized body pain and fevers, all of which may disappear and recur intermittently. Some dogs can also develop serious kidney problems. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, but the treatment isn’t always effective which may result in your pet being unprotected from the disease. Animals who have suffered kidney failure will need serious additional care. Annual testing for Lyme disease allows us to catch an infection in its early stages, up to a year before the first obvious symptoms appear. Lyme disease vaccination is an option for many dogs; we recommend vaccination if your pet lives in a high-risk zone, along with a flea and tick preventative medication regimen.

Heartworm, Tick and Flea Prevention

It is best to prevent your animal from heartworm by using one of the available products.  It is important to test yearly, as many of the preventative products are harmful if given to an infested animal.  Also, some companies that produce heartworm preventatives will pay for any treatment if you animal happens to become infected with heartworm while on their product, providing that the animal has been tested yearly.  

Both fleas and ticks pose health risks to pets and their owners. They also often bring significant discomfort when they reside on your pet. Fortunately, preventative measures today are quite effective. With the right products and regular exams, it is usually possible to avoid serious infestations on your pet. When fleas or ticks do become a problem, modern veterinary medicine usually allows us to take care of them quickly and completely. As your veterinarian, we are your resource for flea and tick prevention!

Preventative pet care is ideal for owners and pets. By being proactive and choosing a flea and tick preventative now, you can avoid major discomfort for your pet and the need for expensive treatments to eliminate pests throughout your home. Fleas, in particular, are capable of multiplying rapidly in the right conditions. Using a veterinarian prescribed flea preventative puts a stop to the problem before it ever gets out of hand.

Using the right preventative treatment not only helps avoid the itching and scratching brought on by fleas and ticks, it can also help prevent heartworms and Lyme disease. Many flea and tick preventatives also include heartworm protection, and tick preventatives help ensure that ticks are killed before they have the chance to transmit Lyme disease.

At our veterinary hospital, we will conduct a thorough exam of your pet and ask questions to learn about your pet’s lifestyle to determine which flea and tick preventative is right for you. Different treatments offer different advantages.