By Rustie Dean | Discover Weyburn

As we approach a busy summer of lake days, vacation time, and road trips we can’t forget about the safety of our furry friends that we pack along for the ride. Our pets enjoy the new sites, sounds, and smells of a vacation destination, but we don’t want them to pick up harmful diseases along the way, like rabies or heartworm. 

Though we haven’t heard of many rabies cases in our Province as of late, it doesn’t mean that rabies isn’t around shares Dr. Andrea Clark of Prairie Animal Health Center, “Rabies is endemic in our Province, so what that means is it will always be there and they don’t have to be a country dog to be exposed, you know we have it in skunks and bats, possibly other creatures as well. Rabies is a vaccine that should be done consistently, even if you have a little dog in the house, we’ve had incidents where bats have been in the house and confirmed positive for rabies.” 

If you plan to be out hiking and running, be aware of where your pets explore. “Especially if you are out hiking, in bushy areas, and even in new communities, rabies is important because the risk is always there” shares Clark. 

This summer will be the first summer that many will travel from province to province visiting families they haven’t seen since before the pandemic. The risks for different diseases vary in every province explains Clark, “You don’t have to go too far if you were to travel east into Manitoba, they actually have heartworm, it’s quite prevalent there as well as lime disease, and another disease called anaplasmosis. Heartworm is contracted through mosquito bites and the other diseases through tick bites. You have to be aware of the potential for disease exposure in other areas. We always recommend flea and tick prevention-type products. You want to kill ticks before they have a chance to give your dogs any of those diseases. “ 

If you are looking ahead to your travel dates, it is worth checking in with your local vet about your vaccines and any other preventative measures you can receive for your pet. “People who travel to the United States or British Columbia, there are other conditions that can be picked up by your pet. I will often ask where you are traveling to and make recommendations based on the geography of that area and what’s prevalent for parasites and such” explains Clark. 

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