News » Reminder it’s flea and tick season!

Reminder it’s flea and tick season!

It’s flea and tick season. As we love to spend our time in the woods, we thought it was time to talk ticks.

What are ticks?
Ticks are small (very small) biting arachnids that feed on blood. They come in various shapes, sizes and colours. The picture below is of an adult female black legged tick in various stages of feeding. Ticks hide in shrubs, bushes and tall grass until their host brushes up against them and they latch on. They do not jump on you from treetops. They’re more common in heavily wooded areas.

Why are ticks bad?
In addition to being an irritant, ticks can carry Lyme disease. Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi.

Ticks pass Lyme diseases to their hosts when they secrete saliva into their host while feeding. Lyme disease is treatable, especially if diagnosed early.

Are there ticks in the Vancouver area?
Yes. Ticks have been found in the lower mainland and on Vancouver island. Ticks are also found in the southern portion of several other provinces and on the east coast of Canada.

How can I protect my dog?
There are a number of products available depending on your dog’s needs. There are tick repellents and insecticides, natural and pharmaceutical options. There is also dog vaccinations for Lyme disease. Your best bet is to talk to your vet and discuss the various options available.

Regular tick checks are important! The sooner a tick is found and removed, the less likely it is to pass on any diseases.

I found a tick, now how do I remove a tick?
Grab a pair of tweezers or a tick tool. I found this handy tool at Village Pet Food in Caufeild.

Place the tool or tweezer as close to the skin as possible. You want to get the head out intact. Don’t squeeze the tick (you might force it’s stomach contents into the host). Although the tool says to twist, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends pulling the tick out with a smooth motion to get all of the tick out.

Don’t fling the tick across the room or squish it. Keep it alive if possible. You can store it in a rigid plastic container with some paper towel or a double ziploc bag. Take the tick with you to the vet if your dog displays abnormal behaviour, has skin lesions, a rash or other unexplained symptoms.

Once you’ve stored the tick, rinse the bite site with soap and water. Then monitor the bite. Some redness and swelling at the bite site is normal, but if you notice any pus or a “bullseye” pattern around the bite, go to the vet to get it checked out.

For more information check out the Lyme Disease Fact Sheet courtesy of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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