Quite recently ticks have been spreading across Canada. In Nova Scotia, one of our neighboring provinces ticks have become quite prevalent. Ticks have been spotted in Newfoundland as early as 2001, and in 2010 the CBC published an article that identified cases of ticks, specifically the female deer tick, carrying Lyme disease in Newfoundland.
1)Avoid heavily wooded or tall grassy areas.
Ticks find their way to your pet by climbing to the top of tall grass, leaves or short trees and latch onto your furry companion (or yourself) when you walk by them.
2)Use Tick prevention.
Revolution, K9 Advantix and Bravecto are three veterinary recommended options to pursue. For those of you who have your dogs on Sentinel, K9 Advantix or Bravecto would work best in conjunction with the Sentinel. Please note that Revolution, K9 Advantix, Bravecto and Sentinel are all prescription medications that require an annual examination of your pet by a veterinarian before they can be purchased.
3)Identify and remove the ticks safely.
The Deer Tick is small and only about the size of a pinhead in its juvenile stage, but a little more obvious in adult phase and after feeding. If you find a tick moving on your pet, the tick has not fed. Remove the tick and place it in a jar or a small resealable bag with moist cotton or paper towel and bring the tick to the veterinary clinic. If you find a tick attached to your pet, grasp the tick with a tick remover, which can be picked up in clinic, and firmly pull it straight out. If you are concerned please contact your local veterinarian before attempting to remove the tick as improper removal can lead to part of the tick being lodged in your dog’s skin which can possibly cause an infection. Please note: If you crush the tick, make sure to not get its remains on your fingers as you can be infected with Lyme disease through any open cuts in your skin.
4)Do a tick check
After coming home from a daily walk. Ticks need time to attach themselves properly to your pet and it is best to remove them within 24-36 hours of spotting an attached tick. When checking your dog, make sure to check between the toes, inside the ears, and in less obvious locations such as the groin and armpits.
5)Know the symptoms of Lyme disease.
Infected pets lose their appetite and energy, and can develop a fever. In the long run, these symptoms can lead to an inflammation of the joints and in more severe cases cause kidney failure. Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose as it shares similar symptoms to a wide variety of other diseases and so prevention is key.
Updated June 25 2015.