British Columbia

Pest prevention: how to keep your pets safe this summer

As B.C.’s summers continue to get warmer, a veterinarian in Vancouver is reminding the public that higher temperatures equal a higher risk of infectious diseases for your pet.

Local vet talks about preventing giardia, Lyme disease and parasites

Veterinarian Helene Childs is reminding pet owners that warmer B.C. temperatures can create a breeding ground for infectious diseases. (Helene Childs)

As B.C.'s summers continue to get warmer, a veterinarian in Vancouver is reminding the public that higher temperatures equal a higher risk of infectious diseases for your pet.

"Not only are people and their pets outside more often in the environment, but it's easier for microbes and parasites to exist," veterinarian Helene Childs told Gloria Macarenko, host of CBC's On The Coast.

Childs, who works at the West End Veterinary Clinic, pointed out the potential dangers of three of the most common pests for household pets.

Giardia, a.k.a. beaver fever

Childs says a big thing to be aware of this summer is giardia.

The infection is typically passed on orally through feces, which is why Childs reminds owners to pick up after their pets.

"Make sure if your pet is having diarrhea or vomiting or not eating properly that you get that looked at, because that can shed to people; and especially older people, little kids, they're very susceptible to things like giardia," Childs said.

Lyme disease

She says the next thing to watch out for are ticks, which can carry Lyme disease.

"Lyme disease is actually becoming more and more of an issue here, especially as things warm up. We get a different type of tick that's being found more often. It's in Vancouver, but also really prevalent on the Island," said Childs.

Ticks can be especially prevalent on Vancouver Island. (Facebook)

If you find a tick on your pet, Childs says to leave its removal to the professionals.

"If you snap it off and the head stays in the fur, not only is it really painful, but it can cause infections. That disease is still transmitting," said Childs.

She recommends monthly topical ointments and an annual Lyme disease vaccine, especially if you often head out into wooded areas.


Childs says the best way to ensure your pet is parasite free is through fecal testing, to see if there are any eggs or larvae present.

She says that in B.C., annual deworming is sufficient to clean out any kind of tapeworms, roundworms or hookworms.

As for heartworms, Childs warns communities outside of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland to be extra careful.

"We don't have as much of a problem with [heartworms] in Vancouver, but the Interior of B.C. has a big problem and we always insist that they are protected from that parasite."

Listen to the full interview with Helene Childs below:

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