Ticks are a pain for us and our pets. They are also well known as carriers of disease. The most prevalent tick borne diseases in Canada are Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. There are other tick-borne diseases in different regions of the world, if you are traveling be sure to visit your veterinarian and plan to take precautions for the area you will be in.
In Ontario, the most common tick borne disease is Lyme disease. It is caused by a bacteria named Borrelia burgdorferi, which is only carried by a certain species of tick ie. the black legged tick (deer tick). For more information about these ticks please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website or Dogs and Ticks.com. If you find a tick on your dog and are unsure what species it is, we can send it away for classification to ensure it is not the variety that carries Lyme Disease.
The characteristic “bull’s eye” rash seen in humans is not seen in our canine counterparts, dogs can be infected without any signs of illness. They may develop lameness that seems to change legs and only lasts a few days, loss of appetite, depression and fatigue. It takes 4 weeks before an infected animal will test positive to the disease. Treatment with antibiotics is effective.
Great news! Tick infestations can also be prevented with topical therapies prescribed by your veterinarian.
If your dog has a tick, remove the tick and contact your veterinarian for tick identification and analysis. It is the best way to determine if your dog was exposed and will need to be tested, and subsequently treated. It is important when removing the tick that you also get the mouth parts which are holding the tick to your pet, tweezers or commercial tick removers are the best tools to use. We have a limited supply of tick removers to give out at the clinic for free. Contact us if you would like to pick one up.
If you are not comfortable removing the tick yourself or wish to learn more about preventing ticks, please contact us at Lockerby Animal Hospital, we would be happy to assist you.
Dr. Courtney Andrews