It's time to talk about the dreaded ticks. Most of you have probably heard of ticks and some may have picked a tick off of your dog or even yourself. They used to mainly live in Turkey Point and Long Point, but now they can be found along the lakeshore, the beautiful trails and forests in our area and anywhere there is long grass.
For those of you who don't know what a tick is, it's a small parasite that attaches itself to any warm-blooded host (a.k.a you and your pet!) to receive a blood meal. As they feed, they become engorged (swollen) and detach themselves once they are full. There's one tick fact that just gives me the shivers - they can go a full year without a meal! Yuck! In the past, ticks were usually seen in the spring and fall, but we have received reports of owners finding ticks year-round, even during the winter!
So what's the big deal with ticks? They feed and they go on their way, right? No! Ticks can transmit a variety of diseases when they feed, such as lyme, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. The ticks in our area can transmit those diseases and we've had positives in our own clinic. In one summer, we had 22 dogs test positive for lyme disease.
Lyme disease is transmitted by the deer tick in our area (pictured in this blog). It affects humans and dogs differently - while 90% of humans will show symptoms, only 10% of dogs will. In dogs showing symptoms, they will become lame, lethargic and will have swollen lymph nodes. It is easily treatable, but can cause severe complications in some cases. Lyme can only be transmitted through an infected tick, so you cannot get it from your dog.
Ehrlichiosis can result in anemia, as the bacterium destroys red blood cells, and some dogs show signs of neurological damage. Anaplasmosis has the same effects as ehrlichiosis since the bacteria is in the same family.
As mentioned in a previous post, all these diseases are tested for using a blood sample. To make things easier, the test we use for heartworm detection also tests for these 3 tick-borne diseases.
There are ways to protect your family, both human and furry, from ticks. You can use one of the many prevention medications we have available (more on that in the next edition!), which kills ticks if they try to take a meal from your pet. There is a lyme vaccine available for dogs and is recommended for any dog at risk.
I know that was a lot of information to throw at you at once, but our area is known as a tick hot-spot, so it's important everyone knows about them! Like always, if you have any questions or concerns, give us a call.
Monday 8:00am to 6:00pm
Tuesday 8:00am to 6:00pm
Wednesday 8:00am to 6:00pm
Thursday 8:00am to 6:00pm
Friday 8:00am to 6:00pm
Saturday 8:00am to 1:00pm
Simcoe Animal Hospital
P.O. Box 24
16 Decou Road
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