You probably recently heard in the media of Lyme disease or the increased presence of ticks in some areas. In fact, ticks are increasingly present in Canada and Quebec, most of them come from the United States and according to the climatic changes.
Ticks are mostly found in areas covered with grass (including your lawn!), bushes, shrubs and woodlands, particularly along trails. They mainly stand in wet locations. So even if sometimes you feel safe, it is often wrong. Just walking in the tall grass in shorts can allow a tick to attaching to our skin, or simple cedar shrubs along our backyard can let your animal come home accompanied by these parasites! Even animals from very little time outdoors may be infested by ticks.
Note that it is possible to be bitten by a single tick, but also by several simultaneously. When they bind to human or animal, they completely fit their mouthpiece in the skin, making them difficult to remove. The skin may become red and irritated where the tick is attached. Once fixed, it feeds on the blood of its host and his body swells. It is often only when the tick gets inflated that people remark it on their animal, often thinking that their pet has a new growth (see photo). There are also different colors of ticks.
Although it is rare, if the animal is infested with ticks, sometimes these could consume enough blood for the animal to suffers from anemia. Moreover, somes ticks species may cause rare paralysis in dogs.
There are several ways to prevent these parasites in dogs. It is possible to apply topical products, monthly during the summer to prevent ticks from attach themselves to our animal. Cats can also be the host of ticks, but most preventive products are highly toxic to them. There is therefore some anti-parasitic collar that can be used safely in cats, sold only in veterinary clinic.
When you find a tick on your pet, you can remove it yourself by making sure to remove the tick completely. Alternatively you can call us to make an appointment with a veterinary technician, who will handle the removal of (the) tick (s).
Several other tests may be done to see if the tick was a carrier of a communicable disease to humans, animals or if your pet has now contracted one of its diseases. An article about Lyme disease will soon be posted on our website.
Finally, the cycle of the tick is very long (up to 2 years), the tick found on your pet can not lay eggs that will infest your home.
Do not hesitate to consult the staff of the Veterinary Hospital Ste-Rose, for more information, and do not forget to wear long pants while hiking in the woods!
Catherine Lapierre, Certified Veterinary Technician