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Ticks are Active in the Fall Too!
Monday, September 23, 2019
  By: Kingsdale Animal Hospital  In: Pet Health

Ticks are Active in the Fall Too

Many pet owners associate the summertime with parasite season for their pets. However, some people do not realize that the fall is also a time when parasites are active! The major parasite of concern in Ontario in the fall is ticks. Ticks are active as long as the weather is above 4°C. Ticks actually prefer the cooler fall days over the hot and humid days of July and August! This means that when we 

have mild winters, ticks can be active on those mild winter days too! If you and your pets are going outdoors frequently in the

winter or are hiking, camping, walking through the trails, or going to a cottage in the fall or winter please call us and come by

to pick up tick prevention medication (if you don't have enough).


The Canadian Parasitology Expert Panel in Companion Animals recommends

that dogs be treated with a parasite preventative for the high-risk transmission 

period in Ontario (spring, summer, and fall). Tick prevention medication for both dogs and cats is available through the clinic.


Ticks are a growing concern in Ontario and we are seeing more and more of them each year. In previous years, ticks used to be more prevalent along the St. Lawrence river. However, due to climate change, tick populations have moved and greatly expanded and now ticks are found all across the province! Ticks have been found in most parks, forests, and trails in York Region. Ticks have also been reported in the parks of Toronto, including High Park, The Toronto Islands, and the Rouge Valley! In Ontario we have a number of endemic tick species. The biggest concern is with Ixodes scapularis, the Deer Tick (Blacklegged Tick), which transmits Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease affects both people and dogs. In dogs it can cause joint pain, fever, and kidney disease. A Deer Tick must bite and remain attached for approximately 24-48 hours in order to transmit Lyme Disease.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c0/Tick_before_and_after_feeding.jpgThe best defense against ticks and Lyme Disease is a parasite preventative administered during the spring, summer, and fall as well as regular tick-checks of your dog. Tick prevention for dogs comes in a variety of oral and topical products. Please call us at (905) 833-5401 to discuss tick prevention medication and pick up medication! Tick prevention is also important for outdoor cats to prevent your cat from bringing these pests into your home! If you are concerned about the risk of ticks in your cat please give us a call to discuss! Never apply a dog tick prevention product to cats as many of them are actually toxic to cats!



How do I check my pet for ticks?


Tick checks involve carefully combing through your pet's fur while looking and feeling for any bumps. Ticks commonly attach and feed around the face, armpits, and between the toes, but can also be found elsewhere on the body. Nymphs may be as small as a sesame seed, while adult ticks that have been feeding for a while can be as big as a blueberry! When you find a tick, carefully remove it with a tick-remover or a pair of tweezers. Make sure you remove the head as well to prevent the area from developing an infection from a retained head.


 

What is the life cycle of the Deer Tick?

Eggs lie dormant over the winter and mature in the spring into larvae. Larvae prefer to feed on mice and birds and can pick up the Lyme Disease bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, through these hosts. After feeding from the spring to the fall, larvae lie dormant over the winter on the ground. Nymphs bloom the following spring and can begin transmitting disease at that time. Nymphs molt into adult ticks in the fall. Both nymph and adult Deer Ticks feed on a variety of animals (including deer, mice, humans, and domestic animals) can transmit Lyme Disease to people and dogs.    



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