By Sébastien Lacroix, journalist
Interview with veterinarian Marie-Claude Lavallée
There are some risks to bringing your pet along when you’re camping. Since you’ll be taking him out of his comfort zone, a trip to the veterinarian is strongly recommended, so that he can get all the appropriate vaccinations.
There are the basic vaccines to protect your pet from diseases like distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and parainfluenza, but also a number of others to protect him from different dangers lurking outdoors.
For instance, a vaccination against leptospirosis, bacteria transmitted in skunk urine or by raccoons. It can cause kidney and liver disorders in dogs, but can also be transmitted to humans.
There is also a vaccine against kennel cough, a highly contagious disease that can be caught from other dogs and give your pet tracheobronchitis. And it’s essential to have your pet vaccinated against rabies, which can be caught from a bite or saliva from an infected animal, before a camping trip.
It’s also important to have your pet vaccinated against Lyme disease, transmitted by ticks that hide under leaves, in high grass and hedges. A topical or oral treatment is also important to prevent ticks and fleas. “Some parts of Quebec are now considered endemic for ticks, as are a number of American states, so it’s a good idea to evaluate the risks in the areas where you’re planning to travel. Ticks are active when temperatures rise above 4 degrees,” explains veterinarian Marie-Claude Lavallée, owner of the Hôpital Vétérinaire du Bas-Richelieu.
There is also heartworm, which can be transmitted by mosquitoes. For pet owners in Quebec, the time to protect your pet is from June 1 to November 1. “There are around fifty cases a year in Quebec,” says Ms. Lavallée. “Last year, there were about forty cases in the Hemmingford region.”