National Tick Awareness!
What do you really know about ticks & Lyme Disease and how they can affect your pet?
● Lyme-carrying ticks can be found across the country, yet eastern Canada consistently reports the highest rate of infection. There are several contributing factors, but a major one is eastern Canada’s large population of White-Tailed Deer – the deer tick’s preferred host. Eastern and central Canadian provinces also share borders with Lyme “hotspots’ in the United States and are within flight distance for ticks catching rides on migratory birds.
● Bird migration, climate change (warmer winters) and deer population (particularly White tailed deer) are all big drivers in the rapid tick population increase. Public Health Agency of Canada estimates somewhere between 50-175 million ticks come into Canada every year on the backs of birds and have been able to establish.
● Over 80% of population in Eastern & Central Canada could be living in risk areas for lyme disease by 2020. Despite the frequency of infection, Lyme disease awareness is still relatively low in the east. Tick population is moving North at an estimated 40-45km per year. (Public Health Ontario, 2015)
● Lyme disease, a bacteria called Borrelia, an infection of humans, dogs and some other animals such as horses. If a tick is infected with lyme disease or the Borrelia bacteria, there is a slight possibility that it can transfer to humans through cuts or open wounds if a tick is squished between fingers. A tick has to be attached to the body for at least 24 to 36 hours, according to public health officials. That’s enough time for the bacteria in the insect’s gut to make its way into its host.Ticks can become infected if they feed on animals such as mice and other mammals that are infected. Once a tick is infested with Borrelia bacteria, it remains a carrier of lyme disease until it dies.
● 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, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and tick paralysis. Dogs often don’t show signs of lyme disease immediately and lyme disease is rare in cats. Contact us immediately if your pet starts coughing or has joint pain, trouble breathing, fever, weakness, or loss of appetite, weight, energy, or coordination.
● Regular tick prevention and lyme testing is the best way to combat both ticks and lyme disease in dogs. Treating your pet with a preventative, such as Bravecto, will help control ticks which can attach themselves to your pets and be carried indoors, putting you and your family at risk of being bitten. Even indoor-only pets are at risk because ticks can hitch a ride inside on your clothing or shoes. Tick preventives are safe and highly effective at controlling ticks and the diseases they carry. Preventatives, if your pet is treated regularly, will quickly kill ticks that have latched themselves to your pet. Don’t panic if you find a tick on your dog or cat. Ticks can hide easily 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. Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you might have. Contact us today if your pet needs a tick removed, needs preventatives or testing for lyme disease! 613-345-3401.
● Ticks need blood to survive so they choose to live in habitats frequented by potential mammal hosts. The conventional tick hangs onto grass and waits for its next victim to approach them — whether it’s a human, dog or wildlife. Deer ticks do not jump or fly; but instead they crawl upward.
● Keeping grass mowed short, trimming bushes and tree branches to let sunlight in can help reduce ticks in an area. ticks tend to avoid hot, dry locations. Hiking, horse riding, hunting, on-shore fishing & wood gathering are all higher risk activities associated with ticks and lyme disease.
● Most American dog ticks and lone star ticks are usually not common during the fall season, nor the wintertime; but Black-legged [deer] ticks remain active. The winter tick, commonly found on moose in the Northeastern region of the country, remain active, as well. Young ticks are most active during the spring.
● Along with the deer tick, the Lone Star Tick is rapidly making it’s way north and into Canada from Southern states. It’s bite is found to be causing allergic reaction to red meat in some humans.
● Tick paralysis has been seen in dogs and humans. Once the tick is found and removed, the paralysis tends to subside.
● Deer ticks come in small, medium and large sizes. They have a shell-like exterior and bury their heads into hosts. Deer ticks may look like freckles, or a mole developing on your dogs skin. Take a closer look and if you’re unsure see your veterinarian.
Dr. Scott Weese at the University of Guelph, is tracking the presence and spread of ticks on pets. Information will be used for tick surveillance activities by the University of Guelph and may also be used by public health agencies for the same purpose. No personal information will be asked of you. Thank you for participating in the Pet Tick Tracker study.