Ticks & Lyme Disease
Ticks are parasites that feed on blood. They like to wait in long grass and wooded areas waiting for you or your pet to walk by. When a host gets close enough the tick grabs on to the fur and begins her task of finding the perfect spot to feed. Ticks often choose the face, ears or between the pads of the paws.
- The tick needs to feed from 24 to 48 hours before passing the (bacteria that causes Lyme Disease on to your dog.
- Ticks are most active in the spring and fall. The ideal temperature for a tick is 4 – 10 degrees. They are out in the summer but tend to stay in shaded areas.
- If your dog is at risk of Lyme Disease, so are you. Be aware when out for a walk in wooded areas.
We recommend putting your dog on a Flea/Tick prevention 9 – 12 months of the year (depending on the weather). There are many products available, your veterinarian will make a recommendation as to what will work best for your pet’s lifestyle.
Dogs affected with Lyme Disease may have shifting lameness that is often accompanied by a fever. Shifting lameness means painful joints that may be a front leg this week, then switch to a back leg the following week. It can also, in rare cases cause kidney failure so we recommend watching for an increase in drinking and peeing.
I found a tick on my dog!
1. Call us
We can teach you how to safely remove the tick.
2. Test for Lyme Disease
If the tick was on for more than 24 hours and your pet is not on prevention, we should do a test for Lyme disease. This needs to be performed 6 weeks after you found the tick.
Other Common Parasites
Fleas will live on your dog and feed every 5 minutes. As you can imagine being bitten so very often is quite uncomfortable for your pet. Signs of fleas can be itching, skin issues, poor coat, and in young pets we have seen anemia (not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen).
Intestinal worms live in the bowel or intestines of the pet. Some worms will take the nourishment your pet is supposed to be getting from their food and others will feed on blood from your pet. Puppies are often born with worms, as they are passed in their mothers’ milk. Dogs can also get intestinal worms from sniffing other dogs stool on the ground, eating rodents and soil that has been contaminated by other infected animals. Your puppy will be dewormed multiple times to ensure they are clear of parasites.
Heartworms are large worms that live in a dog’s heart, impeding the blood flow. When the dog has these parasites the heart has to work much harder to do its job, thereby causing heart failure over time. Heartworms are spread when a mosquito bites an infected dog, takes a blood meal and then bites another dog spreading the parasite.
Some think heartworms are not in this area but sadly this is untrue. We will never be able to eradicate heartworm as wild Canines such as coyotes, foxes and wolves can also be carriers.
Heartworm is much more prevalent in the southern states such as Florida. Further concern comes when unprotected dogs are travelling out of cold Canada for the winter and bringing it back. We also worry about rescue dogs that are brought to Canada as they do not need to be tested before import.
All these parasites are treatable, but even better, we can prevent them with a simple once a month medication that we will discuss and recommend over your next few puppy appointments.