Ticks, Ticks, Ticks- update for spring 2016!

Tick Protection for your Pets

We are having a relatively warm winter in New Brunswick, which sure is a nice change from last year!  However, that does mean that parasites are going to be emerging and feasting on our pets even earlier this year. Ticks are always the first parasites to emerge – they start to be active as soon as the snow clears and the temperature is above 4 degrees Celsius!  The number of ticks in our area that are not only carrying Lyme disease but a few other diseases, including Anaplasmosis and Erlichiosis, have tripled in just a few years.

It’s important to educate yourself not only about how to prevent tick bites in your dog, but also to yourself! About 95 per cent of people bitten by a Lyme-infected tick will get sick, compared with only about 5 per cent of dogs. If you are out walking on the trails, wear long sleeves and long pants, and even make a true fashion statement by tucking your pants into your socks! Keep your pets on leash, and prevent them from frolicking in the heavy underbrush and long grass.

When you arrive home, check yourself and your dog for ticks.  It generally takes 36 to 48 hours for a tick to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. If you remove a tick ASAP then the chances of acquiring the disease is greatly decreased.

People can use a DEET pesticide to help prevent ticks, but we don’t recommend using this on your dogs, as it is toxic if ingested. Feel free to come talk to us about our tick prevention products. Over the last few years, we have some new preventative products available to us in Canada– including Bravecto – which is a chew you conveniently give once every 3 months! This year we are recommending starting your dog on a tick preventative product as early as March 1st, and continuing it until freezing temperatures are back (most likely until the middle to end of December).

On a side note, I haven’t mentioned cats yet in this blog.  So if you’re a cat owner- they can get ticks, but great news- it is believed at this time that they cannot get Lyme disease!

Please feel free to call or stop by Acadia Veterinary Hospital with any other questions or concerns.

By Dr. Beth Martin