Fleas, Ticks and Heartworm

Spring is finally here, and with the warmer temperatures and sunny days comes many parasites, both external and internal, that will pose a risk to both cats and dogs alike. Luckily at McLean’s, we have an informed veterinary team and effective yet exceptionally safe products to keep your loved pets safe.


The parasite you may hear the most about is heartworm.  These worms enter into the blood stream through a mosquito bite and eventually travel to and live in the heart of your beloved pet.  It should not be a surprise to hear that these pose a serious risk to life, and treatment is both complex and very expensive. Prevention really couldn’t be easier though; a simple once monthly medication given either topically or orally from June 1st to November 1st is all that is needed to prevent this life threatening infection.


Of all the parasites out there, we probably see fleas the most frequently. The height of “flea season” tends to be in the spring and summer, and any pet that goes outdoors (or even on decks or balconies) is at risk. Beyond being an itchy pest, fleas can cause a severe allergic response and lead to skin infections. Severe infections can even cause anemia from the parasites taking their blood meals from your pet! Thankfully, as with heartworm, prevention is identical and simple, with once monthly medication throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons (six months).


We are seeing more and more ticks with each year here at McLean’s, and they’re probably the ones that disgust and frighten concerned pet owners the most. As many people know, certain species of ticks can cause Lyme disease, which can become a lifelong issue with your dog, with a small subset of infected dogs developing life-threatening kidney disease. It should be noted that Lyme disease infection is usually even more serious with humans, so protecting yourself is worth remembering as well. There is no single 100% way to avoid tick bites and the potential for Lyme disease, however using a number of strategies and products can make this risk exceedingly lower.

If your pet is spending time outdoors this spring, summer or fall, our Scarborough veterinary medical team look forward to discussing options to keep your pet safe from internal and external parasites.

by Dr. Eva Chung