**Positive case reported in Penticton April 2010

Preventatives keep your dog safe from heartworm and they also deworm against intestinal parasites like roundworm, whipworm, and hookworm.

Is Heartworm in this area?

Yes, areas with a warmer climate, like the Okanagan, have cases of heartworm. Preventative medicines have caused the number to drop in recent years. We see a decline in people giving the preventatives because of the low number of cases, which over time will cause the number to increase again. The preventatives also deworm for intestinal parasites which is very important as well, especially if children or elderly have contact with your dog. Mosquitos carry heartworm from one dog to another. Keep in mind that heartworm is mainly carried by the wild coyote population so exactly how many dog species that are affected is hard to tell. The main areas in Canada affected by heartworm are southern Manitoba, southern Quebec, and the Okanagan. All 50 states in the US now report cases of heartworm and it is now being reported in cats as well.

What signs would I see if my dog had heartworm?

Many dogs infected with heartworms may not show any evidence of infection in the early stages of the disease. Adult heartworms live in the heart and lungs. Initially, dogs tend to develop a cough and experience difficulty breathing. They may exhibit decreased tolerance to exercise, develop fainting episodes and suffer severe weight loss. The severity and onset of signs relate to three things: the number of heartworms present, the duration of the infection and the dog's response.

How often should I test my dog?

We recommend testing only every three years provided that you are diligent with the preventative. Puppies born after October, or new dogs that have just moved here from an unaffected area don't need to be tested their first spring. If you have missed a month or season of preventative, then it is best to test before starting preventative the following year.

Are the preventative medications safe?

Yes, veterinary medications have to undergo strict testing to be approved.

Here is a list of the preventatives we recommend, select the one that best suits your dog and your lifestyles:

Interceptor: chew tablet monthly. It prevents heartworm, controls hookworm, roundworm and whipworm (intestinal parasites). This is the most basic and least expensive.

Sentinel : chew tablet monthly. It does all that Interceptor does with the added protection of preventing fleas. If you and your pet are travelling to the coast, or other areas with fleas, this is a good choice.

Revolution: topical application monthly. It is absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. Revolution also kills fleas and prevents their eggs from hatching, and controls ear mites, sarcoptic mange, hookworm and roundworm. It does not prevent ticks but the tick will die in 1-3 days. It costs a little more than the Sentinel, but it has the broadest spectrum and is a good choice for dogs that live outdoors or go out in wooded areas frequently.


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