Preventive Services

You can help keep your pet healthy by protecting him or her against certain diseases, parasites, heartworm, fleas, ticks, other internal and external parasites. These parasites are more than just pests, they can cause life-threatening conditions in your pet and potential health problems for you and your family. We will recommend a preventive regimen for your pet based on lifestyle and risk factors. We can also provide advice on keeping your whole household safe from parasitic infection. Set up an appointment with us to discuss disease and parasite prevention, or call us to refill your pet’s medication. Protect your pet and your family today!



Just as in humans, infectious diseases occur in dogs when they come into contact with harmful viruses or bacteria. These diseases can be debilitating, and many of them are fatal. Many infectious diseases can be prevented through a good vaccination program. Vaccines work the same way in dogs as they do in people. When a safely altered virus or bacteria is given to an animal, the immune system responds by producing protective antibodies. These circulate in the blood and protect against the actual disease.

While it is true that many canine infectious diseases occur in puppies, dogs of all ages are candidates for infection. As soon as you introduce a new dog into your home, contact your veterinarian to determine the best schedule for their vaccinations. Most diseases we vaccinate for are specific to dogs and cats, there are some that are zoonotic (can be transmitted from dogs to humans). For example, Rabies and Leptospirosis.

Puppies receive vaccinations at regular intervals to ensure adequate immunity. If the vaccinations are not administered at the proper intervals or age, (i.e., intervals longer than recommended or too young when administered) then immunity cannot be reasonably assured. Generally, puppies and kittens begin their vaccination regime between 6-8 weeks of age and the interval time is 21-28 days between boosters until the appropriate age and number of booster vaccinations has been reached.

We recommend that you do not bring your pet for walks, to parks or expose them to animals with unknown vaccine history until their vaccination schedule has been completed. (For puppies, this is generally after the 16-18 week mark).

After their initial vaccinations series, dogs and cats require yearly physical examinations and vaccinations to continue protection against these diseases.

It is not unusual to detect some lethargy in the 12-24 hours following vaccinations.

More severe reactions to vaccinations can occur. These are extremely rare and usually manifest as vomiting, diarrhea or severe lethargy in the hour after vaccinations.

Occasionally, a thickening or lump formation may occur at the vaccination site. If this is painful or persists for more than a week or so with no decrease in size, please do not hesitate to give us a call. In rare instances, a few dogs will develop more severe reactions that are forms of hypersensitivity or allergic reactions. These will usually occur within minutes but may be delayed for a few hours. The dog may have swelling, difficulty breathing, salivate, vomit or have diarrhea. In these situations, call us immediately. With the rarity of these instances, the protection offered by vaccinating your pet far outweighs the potential risks associated with it. If your pet has had a reaction, we will take steps to ensure this will not happen again. If you have concerns or questions regarding vaccinating your pet, please give us a call so we can discuss them with you.

At the South Windsor Animal Hospital our canine patients receive the following vaccinations:

DA2PP: Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus




At the South Windsor Animal Hospital our feline patients receive the following vaccinations:

FVRCP: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calici, Panleukopenia, Chlamydia Psittaci






Nearly every dog is exposed to this disease in their lifetime and when infection occurs, it is often fatal.

Distemper attacks many organs in the body including the nervous system. Symptoms include: listlessness, fever, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, discharge from the eyes and nose, convulsions and paralysis.


This disease is highly contagious and fatal if left untreated. The virus, which is particularly resistant, is spread mainly through feces. Symptoms include: high fever, listlessness, vomiting and diarrhea which will lead to shock and be fatal. Vaccination is highly effective and is the best way to protect your dog.


This is a bacterial disease that attacks the dog’s kidneys and liver. Infection occurs through contact with the urine of infected dogs, rats and wildlife, for example, puddles, marshes, ditches, etc., that have been contaminated by wildlife. It is particularly prevalent in the raccoon population in South Western Ontario.

Symptoms can be severe and include: loss of appetite, fever, jaundice, internal bleeding, lethargy.

Protection against this disease is important because it can also be spread to humans


This highly contagious disase can cause inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. It can be caused by different airborne viruses and bacteria. The most common among these are canine Parainfluenza virus, Canine Adenovirus and Bordetella Bronchiseptica. The disease is characterized by a dry cough. Dogs do not have to be in direct contact with each other in order to transmit this disease. This vaccine is recommended for any patient who goes to a grooming facility, goes to pet stores frequently or the dog park and is mandatory for most kennels and boarding facilities.



This is a contagious viral disease that primarily affects kittens, but any age is susceptible. Mortality rate of cats with this disease can be as high as 90-100%

Panleukopenia virus is generally widespread and natural exposure is common. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, depression, diarrhea, dehydration and other complications that can result in fatalities.


This is the most severe and widespread upper respiratory virus to which cats are susceptible. It is very serious is young kittens, but all ages are at risk.

Symtoms include moderate fever, tearing, discharge from the eyes and nose, mouth breathing, sneezing, coughing and salivation. Treatment is difficult and limited to treating the symptoms of the disease. Recovered cats can be carriers for life and can shed the virus intermittently, especially when stressed.


This is another major upper respiratory virus. It is widespread, highly contagious and accounts for about 40% of respiratory disease in cats. Symptoms include moderate fever, pneumonia, ulcers or blisters on the tongue. Treatment is difficult and limited to treating the symptoms of the disease. Recovered cats can be carriers for life and can shed the virus intermittently, especially when stressed.


This is directly responsible for 15-20% of all feline respiratory disease. It is extremely contagious, especially in kittens, and the morbidity rate is extremely high. This causes infection in the conjunctival membrane of the eyes. Symptoms include mild to severe conjunctivitis, excessive tearing, sneezing, heavy salivation and coughing.


This disease can be transmitted from a mother to her offspring before birth as well as through milk while kittens are nursing. It is primarily transmitted through cats that are in close contact, groom each other, share food and water bowls for prolonged periods of time. This virus can be present with non-specific signs such as appetence, lethargy and weight loss.

The virus can induce an immune deficiency similar to HIV in humans, where the cat has difficulty fighting off other bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic diseases. This is common and can easily go unnoticed for years as the cat experiences an unusual number of severe, seemingly unrelated conditions such as respiratory infections, tooth and gum disease, fever of unknown origin, diarrhea, abscesses, urinary tract infections and enlarged lymph nodes. They can cause anemia (low red blood cell numbers) as well as cancers of the lymphoid tissues and bone marrow. It is recommended that all kittens, as well as cats who go outside or cats that live with cats that go outside be vaccinated against this disease.



The rabies virus attacks the nervous system resulting in a fatal disease. Rabies is transmitted through bites or scratches from other animals, the most common being bats, foxes, and skunks. All mammals are susceptible to the infection, including humans. Rabies is a major health hazard, so it is required, by law to have your cat or dog vaccinated against this disease.

Flea Prevention and Control


Fleas can cause problems for pets ranging from minor to life-threatening. Not only can these parasites cause severe itching, irritation, and allergies, but they can also transmit tapeworms and diseases. Fleas can infest dogs, cats, ferrets, mice, and rats. And fleas don’t just stay on pets; they can bite people, too. For more information, contact us or see the flea article in the Pet Health Library on our site.

You don’t want these blood-sucking parasites on your pet or in your home. We can help keep them away or help you get rid of them if they’ve already found their way inside. Call us to find out how to eliminate and control fleas or to start your pet on a preventive today.

Heartworm Prevention


When they bite, mosquitoes can transmit heartworm infection. And those heartworms can wreak havoc on your dog or cat. These parasites can severely and sometimes fatally damage the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Some pets may not show any signs of infection; in those that do, symptoms can vary widely.

In dogs, signs of heartworm disease can range from coughing, fatigue, and weight loss to difficulty breathing and a swollen abdomen (caused by fluid accumulation from heart failure). Canine heartworm infection can also lead to a life-threatening complication called “caval syndrome” (a form of liver failure); without prompt surgical intervention, this condition usually causes death.

Although often thought to not be susceptible to heartworm infection, cats can indeed get heartworms. Cats can suffer from a syndrome referred to as heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD); the symptoms can be subtle and may mimic those of asthma or allergic bronchitis. Signs of respiratory distress, such as rapid or difficulty breathing, wheezing, and panting, are common. Other symptoms include coughing, vomiting (typically unrelated to eating), and loss of appetite or weight. Heartworm infection is more difficult to diagnose in cats than it is in dogs.

Treatment for heartworm infection is far more expensive than prevention—and it can actually kill your dog. There is no approved treatment for cats. Some cats spontaneously rid themselves of the infection; others might not survive it. And even one or two adult heartworms in a cat can cause serious problems.

Fortunately, there’s a way to keep your dog or cat safe: by administering monthly heartworm preventives. Most heartworm medications also protect your pet against other parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, ear mites, fleas, and ticks.  Once per year, we recommend our dogs be tested for heartworm disease.  This is a blood test where we use a very small amount of blood to determine if the dog has microscopic heartworm larvae living inside the blood stream.  Once the dog has been confirmed negative for heartworm disease (they don’t have any heartworms living in their bloodstream), then we can recommend a regimen of prevention for your pet.  With our warm climate, we typically recommend year round heartworm prevention in dogs.  Also, any dogs who are travelling south of the border, especially warmer areas such as the Southern USA be treated for heartworm disease throughout and after their trip because of  the increased risk of heartworm disease in even warmer climates than our own.

Tick Prevention


Ticks are becoming more and more prevalent in North America, and they’re now being found in areas where people and pets didn’t previously encounter ticks. These parasites aren’t just a nuisance, they can cause serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. These include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis.

Generally in our area of Windsor, Lyme disease carrying ticks (Ixodes scapularis) numbers have been rising in the last few years.  If you find a tick on your pet, you can call us to discuss the next step.  We recommend that you bring the tick in with you for us to help identify the tick species, and determine your dog’s risk.  Contact us immediately if your pet starts coughing, has joint pain, trouble breathing, fever, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, decreased energy or coordination.

You can keep ticks off your pet by keeping your dog on a tick preventive. Tick preventives are safe and effective at controlling ticks and the diseases they carry. Call us to get your pet protected today!

Don’t panic if you find a tick on your dog or cat, even if your pet is on preventive medication. Some preventives kill ticks after they’ve come in contact with your pet. Ticks can hide under your pet’s fur, so as an added measure of protection, we recommend checking your pet for ticks every time your pet comes in from outside.

Ticks can easily be removed, although the important thing to keep in mind is to ensure removal of all the tick, including the buried mouth parts. There are special tools that can be purchased called tick twisters. These tick twisters assist in complete removal of these pests.

There is also a Lyme vaccination available for dogs, to allow for the dog to have antibody protection to the Lyme organisms in case of exposure.  Please don’t hesitate to call at 519-969-7390 with any questions you may have.