Ticks! Yuck!

If you’ve ever found a revolting grayish pink insect sucking blood out of your dog’s neck, it won’t likely help much to know that, here in Quinte West (Trenton), ticks don’t often carry disease. The “yuck” factor associated with these ugly bugs is enough to send most pet owners scrambling for help.

Ticks are a growing problem in this area as climate changes and host distribution influences their populations. For several years, we have been seeing a rise in the number of pets presenting with ticks.

Mainly a spring and fall problem, tick infestations vary from a single engorged insect well-embedded in the skin to dozens of tiny ones just starting to feed. Most of the ticks in this area are “American Dog Ticks” which are not commonly known to carry disease in this part of the world. However, we also have fairly large populations of “deer ticks”. In the Brighton area, particularly in Presqu’ile Provincial Park, deer ticks have been identified that carry Lyme disease. Prince Edward Point in the county is another area known to be infected.

Lyme disease is a complicated condition usually causing lameness in dogs, but it can have more severe consequences for both dogs and people. Information about ticks and lyme disease is available from many sources, including this public health website: Health Canada. It also provides information on how to submit ticks to the appropriate place for identification and testing.

If you are concerned about (yuck) ticks on your own dogs or cats, please contact Hillcrest. We will be glad to help with prevention, testing or just simple removal of these unwanted hitchhikers. There is a vaccine available for lyme disease and a topical that helps to kill ticks of all types.

Detailed (but American) information about lyme disease in dogs can be found at Veterinary Partner. Many “anti-tick” products available in the U.S. cannot be purchased in Canada, unfortunately.