It’s nearly Tick Season…

It has been a record-breaking February!  What a deep freeze we have had.  It’s hard to believe that in a few short weeks, the temperature will be above the freezing mark and we will have to think about things like ticks.

Every spring there is a “bloom” or increase in tick numbers seen in Ontario. We saw an incredible number of ticks on dogs in the spring of 2013 and 2014, and expect to see more this year. Ticks arrive in Ontario on migrating birds, and some ticks overwinter and emerge to feed in the spring. There is also a fall bloom. Ticks can carry several diseases (including Lyme disease) that can be transmitted to people and pets. In Ontario Lyme disease is spread by the bite of blacklegged ticks (formerly called deer ticks). Blacklegged ticks can be found sporadically throughout the province. They are typically small when unfed (1 – 5 mm in length) and all active stages feed on blood. Ticks usually come in contact with people or animals by positioning themselves on tall grass and bushes. They may take several hours to find a suitable place on the host to feed. Most tick bites are painless so your pet will not feel the tick’s presence. The majority of bites will not result in disease because most ticks in Ontario are not infected with the agent of Lyme disease.

Adult Female Blacklegged Tick

Blacklegged tick female

There are several veterinary products that can prevent ticks (and other parasites) from transmitting disease to your pet. Please contact Golf Glen Veterinary Clinic at 905-727-3003 so that we can discuss the best options for you and your family.

Dogs at higher risk for contracting Lyme disease through travel to areas of high incidence may also be vaccinated. For more information about ticks in Ontario go to http://golfglenvet.ca/2012/09/30/tick-talk-ticks-in-ontario-2/ .

Tick Removal: – Using fine tipped tweezers carefully grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull it straight out, gently but firmly! (If you are uncomfortable removing the tick we can do it for you!)

- Don’t squeeze it. Squeezing the tick can cause the Lyme disease agent to be accidentally introduced into your pet.

- Don’t put anything on the tick (no alcohol, soap, etc.) or try to burn the tick off.

- The tick can be tested for Lyme disease. Place the tick in a small clean bottle and bring it to us.

- Thoroughly cleanse the bite site with soap and water.

- You can also view this video – Tick removal on a dog: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mN3HDzCpiU

As always, we are happy to help you with any questions you may have about ticks or any other pet health related matter.  Please don’t hesitate to call us at (905) 727-3003.

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