DEAR LABBY: My furless family is planning a trip Osoyoos this summer. I’m a bit concerned because I’ve heard that heartworm can be a problem in the interior of BC. I’m not exactly sure what it is or if I should really be worried about it but something doesn’t feel right in my gut when I think about it. –UNSURE GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER
DEAR UNSURE: Your gut feeling was right. Heartworm is a serious parasitic disease that can cause issues for your lungs and even lead to death. Any place that stays consistently warm and humid for at least 2 weeks straight (such as areas in BC’s interior in the summer) can be heartworm endemic. It is definitely something to be worried about but luckily there are preventive options to help keep you safe from this nasty mosquito-spread disease. Talk to your people about heartworm prevention, they can ask your vet.
DEAR LABBY: I enjoy a life of leisure. I spend my days lazing in the sunny window sill, grooming my glorious fur and bossing the staff around. I never set foot outside. Even so, my neighbour says there’s still a chance I could get those little itchy creatures my slobbering, tail wagging house mate got a couple months ago. I need to know: There’s no possible way I could fleas (ick!), right? –BEAUTIFUL AND I KNOW IT
DEAR BEAUTIFUL: Unfortunately, your neighbour was right. Even an indoor gal such as yourself isn’t immune to getting fleas. Lower risk than your outdoor counterparts? Well, sort of but not really. The problem is, once fleas find their way into the home, they don’t care if you go inside, outside or to the moon (well, maybe that’s exaggerating a bit but you get the point). Our humans can bring in what I like to call “hitch hiker” fleas after walking through the grass for example. Or, in your situation, your housemate brought them in. That’s all it takes and BAM! You’ve got your flea problem. You should really talk to your people about year-round flea prevention, especially in the Lower Mainland aka “Flea capitol of the world” so you can stay beautiful and itch-free.
DEAR LABBY: I looooove going for walks. Around the neighbourhood, at the park, in the trails – it doesn’t matter, I love it all! My best human friend puts something he got from the vet on the back of my neck every month and he tells me it will keep me safe from all sorts of creepy crawlies. I don’t mind it as long as I keep getting to go out and run but I was wondering, is it really necessary? –RUNNING RETRIEVER
DEAR RUNNING: You’ve got a great human friend. Sounds like you’re being protected from fleas, heartworm and even some intestinal parasites (to name a few). While it’s a great idea for any pet to have this sort or protection year-round, with your lifestyle it is especially important. Other animals or even wildlife can be a source of parasites for you when you’re enjoying your adventures. Something as simple as walking through the grass, sniffing the ground, etc and you could end up with fleas or roundworm pretty easily, my friend. You should thank your human with a nice big lick for helping to keep you healthy and parasite free so you can keep having all that fun.