As we start to enjoy the first few warm days of spring, we need to think about our pets. Parasites, such as fleas, ticks and worms can infect our pets during our trips to parks and sports fields. Prevention is the best way to protect your dog and cat from these parasites and the time to take action is now!

A simple mosquito bite can give the life-threatening heartworm parasite to your dog. This parasite is transferred when a heartworm-infected mosquito bites a dog. It can take up to six months for the parasite to grow and incubate into an adult heartworm, at which time it can be detected by an antigen blood test. Because the incubation period is so long, what we veterinarians like to call “heartworm season” begins in the spring months every year. Each spring, we like to do a simple blood test to determine if your dog is infected with adult heartworms from last year’s mosquito bites.

If the blood test is negative and your dog is not infected, we recommend starting your dog on a monthly heartworm preventive medication. In Waterloo Region, the prevention part of heartworm season typically runs through the months of June to November.

When dogs test positive for heartworm, they can have a significantly reduced quality of life and decreased lifespan. The medical treatment for heartworm is dangerous and far more costly than the monthly heartworm medication. By putting your dog on a heartworm preventive every summer you avoid the possibility of your dog getting a buildup of worms in its heart and lungs.

The good news is that many of the heartworm preventives available also control and treat several other parasites. Fleas, ticks and intestinal worms are the parasites that most commonly infect our pets and are easily prevented with the same heartworm medication.

Please call us to book you pet’s heartworm test at 519-696-3102

Other resources for pet owners:

American Heartworm Society:

Veterinary Partner:

To see what heartworm looks like in an infected animal, visit: