We are all anticipating the warmer weather, enjoying the sun and the outdoors. With the summer season upon us, so are the bugs, especially those that can cause harm to us and our pets. Yes, we are talking about ticks. Ticks are a growing concern in Ontario.
There are approximately 900 species of ticks in the world and about 40 species have been found in Canada. There are four main species of ticks found in Ontario and currently the deer tick (also known as black legged tick) makes up about 54% of the tick population, while the American dog tick is about 35%. Deer ticks are mainly dispersed by migratory birds and become established in areas due to the large population of their preferred host, the white-tailed deer. Over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the deer tick population, and thereby the deer tick which is of concern as they are the primary carrier of Lyme disease.
Ticks are active when temperatures are above 4 degrees Celsius, which means they can be around very early in the year. It’s important to note that they become active at temperatures as low as 4C, meaning that there is some risk in all 12 months of the year. Ticks do not jump or fly but climb up on long grass or bushes and sit with arms extended waiting to grab on to a passing mammal, bird or human.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to pets and humans through the bite of infected deer ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
So what can you do to reduce exposure?
Keep long grass and brush around your property trimmed down. Be sure to check your pet’s skin (and yourself) after your outdoor adventures. If you are going to walk your pet in wooded areas, talk to us about what preventive medication is safe and available for your pet.
What is Bravecto?
Bravecto come in an oral chew or topical treatment for dogs or topical treatment for cats. It provides up to 12 weeks of protection against fleas and ticks. One chew provides broad-spectrum and long-lasting protection that starts to kill fleas within 2 hours and controls 4 tick species (black-legged tick, American dog tick, brown dog tick, and lone star tick). Bravecto eliminates current flea infestations and prevents new ones from developing for 12 weeks. Tick preventives are safe and effective at controlling ticks and the diseases they carry. Call us to get your pet protected today! Please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you might have.
Keep ticks off your dogs and cats with continued use of Bravecto all year round. Even indoor-only pets are at risk because ticks can hitch a ride inside on your clothing or shoes.
Where ticks infected with Lyme Disease are found?
Infected ticks can be anywhere but are more commonly found in these areas:
- Long Point Provincial Park on the northwest shore of Lake Erie
- Turkey Point Provincial Park on the northwest shore of Lake Erie
- Rondeau Provincial Park on the north shore of Lake Erie
- Point Pelee National Park on north shore of Lake Erie
- Pinery Provincial Park on the southeast shore of Lake Huron
- Rouge Valley/Rouge Park on east side of Greater Toronto Area
- Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area on northeast shore of Lake Ontario
- Wainfleet Bog Conservation Area on the Niagara Peninsula