Ticks have become a growing concern in Ontario in the past decade. A lot like very tiny spiders, these little pests feed on blood of mammals – that includes dogs and cats, rodents, deer, and humans.
Ticks are active when it is above 4°C. That means in Chatham ticks were active throughout most of February. Although March has been a little colder, we have still had temperatures above 4°C this month.
There are two main types of ticks in Chatham-Kent: the dog tick (Dermacenter variabilis) and the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). The dog tick is larger, although still very small! The deer tick is much smaller, and the more concerning tick in our area. Both ticks can be found in wooded areas, or areas with tall grass. There are very large numbers of deer ticks in areas on the northern border of Lake Erie such as Rondeau Park or Point Pelee.
Of these two ticks, only the deer tick carries the bacteria that causes Lyme disease in both dogs and people. Once the tick attaches to its host (dog or human), it starts to feed on blood. As the tick feeds, the body gets larger and becomes engorged. The tick may stay attached and feed for many days. In this time it is able to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi – the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
At your pet’s annual exam or yearly in the springtime it is recommended to run a parasite screen. This parasite screen is a blood test that tests for Borelia burgdorferi (which causes Lyme disease), heartworm disease and two other tick borne diseases.
If you and your dog travel to areas with significant tick populations, make sure to tell your veterinarian so we can make sure they are on the appropriate prevention this year.
Weekends, Holidays and After-hours we are available 24 hours daily 365 days a year at our location for local service by your veterinary team. Please call our office in case of emergency.
Please note - Weekend, Holiday and After-hour service is offered only to current clientele who have not transferred their files to another facility and whose animals are a patient of our practice that has been examined by one of our doctors in the past 24 months.
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Egan Fife Animal Hospital