Ticks – FAQ’s
Where can my dog pick up a tick?
Ticks are most commonly found in areas with long grass as well as forested areas with foliage covering the ground. Ticks thrive in dark, moist covered areas provided by layers of dead, damp leaves. Unlike fleas, ticks do not jump onto your pets. Instead, they attach by very close contact when passing through these areas.
What does a tick look like on my dog?
If the tick as been attached and fed on your dog it becomes engorged. See attached video of an engorged tick Dr. Todd recently removed from a dog.
When should tick prevention start?
At Streetsville Animal Hospital we recommend starting tick prevention on May 1st. However, as long as the temperature is above 4 degrees ticks can become active, so you may administer prevention during months where temperatures reach this level.
Why should I be concerned about a tick biting my pet?
Ticks can transfer disease to our pets. The most common disease that can be contracted by your pet is called Lyme disease. Lyme disease can cause several symptoms in your pet which can range from lameness, lethargy, fever, diarrhea, decrease in appetite and swollen joints. It takes anywhere from 2 to 5 months for these signs to become obvious. Besides the risk of disease, we want to decrease the risk of preventable pain and inflammation from ticks biting and attaching to our pets!
Are there any areas in Ontario that are hot beds for Lyme disease?
Areas confirmed to be endemic or “hot spots” for Lyme disease in Ontario include:
- Point Pelee National Park
- Rondeau and Turkey Point Provinical Parks
- Long Point Peninsula
- Wainfleet Bog (Niagara)
- Prince Edward County (Sandbanks Provinical Park)
- Thousands Islands National Park
Areas of risk in Ontario include:
- The area from west of Belleville, along the north shore of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, stretching east of Montreal and north to Ottawa
- Pinery Provincial Park
- Northwestern Ontario (Lake of the Woods)
- Rouge Valley (Toronto/York/Dunham)
If you are travelling to these areas, please let us know so we can be sure that you are adequately protecting your pet from contracting Lyme disease.
Do I need to worry about Lyme disease in Mississauga?
Mississauga is not endemic for Lyme disease, meaning it is not commonly found here. The chance of your pet contracting Lyme disease from a tick in Mississauga is low, but is still possible, which is why we want our clients to be informed about the disease and help you make an informed decision about tick prevention.
What kind of tick prevention do you recommend?
The tick prevention we recommend at Streetsville Animal Hospital is called Nexgard. It is a monthly beef flavoured chew that will protect your pet against fleas and ticks. There are other preventions available that we can discuss with you, however, Nexgard is an effective, easy to administer prevention.
What happens when I find a tick on my pet?
If you find a tick on your pet, the faster it is removed the risk of disease transmission is lessened. The most efficient way to remove a tick from your pet is with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull up gently but firmly. It is important to make sure that you have removed the tick’s head and mouth parts as well as the body – leaving behind any parts of the tick may develop into a localized infection. If you are unable to remove the tick or would prefer that we remove the tick for you, we would be happy to do that.
Does my pet need to be tested after the tick has been removed?
Dr. Todd recommends testing your pet 6 weeks after discovering a tick on your pet with a blood test. This test screens for several diseases can be transmitted by ticks:
- Lyme disease
We will collect a small blood sample from your pet and determine whether or not treatment is necessary. If it is negative, we have the peace of mind that there was no transmission and if we have not already, discuss a tick prevention moving forward to avoid future tick bites. If the test is positive, we will discuss a treatment plan and other recommended diagnostics.
What is the treatment for Lyme disease?
The treatment for Lyme disease is a 4 week course of antibiotics.
Should I bring the tick I pull off of my pet in to the clinic?
No. The type of tick that you remove from your pet will not change the Doctor’s recommendations or provide us with any additional information that will help us treat your pet.
Should I consider the Lyme disease vaccination for my pet?
At Streetsville Animal Hospital, we recommend taking the proactive approach by preventing exposure to the disease instead of vaccinating. If your pet travels to endemic areas of Lyme disease (as listed above), we recommend vaccination against Lyme disease.
If you have any additional questions or would like to add tick prevention to your pet’s routine care, please call us! We would be more than happy to answer any questions and help with providing peace of mind that your pet is as protected as they can be!