Ticks can be found year-round in NS. Although there are several different species of ticks present in our province, only the deer (also known as black-legged) tick carries the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The risk of contracting Lyme disease is greatest when a tick has been attached for more than 24 hours. During extended attachment periods the appearance of the tick’s body changes from small, brownish and flattish to grey and swollen. We refer to a tick that has this appearance as being ‘engorged.’’ After a few days, when a tick is fully engorged, it will drop off.
How can you protect yourself and your pet from ticks? Do tick checks on yourself and dog or cat after being outdoors with them. Yes, cats can pick up ticks too! You can purchase tick removal devices from most vet clinics or pet supply stores. Use a lever motion to remove ticks, not a twisting motion. It is wise to use tick prevention medication for your pet year-round as ticks can live up to 2 years and usually overwinter very well in our province. They become active anytime the temperature is at 4 degrees Celsius or higher. That temperature is reached at least for a few days in each month of the year in our province. That is why it is said that ticks are not a problem every day of the year but can be a problem in every month of the year.
Once removed, kill the tick by flushing it or drowning it in alcohol. Clean the area of attachment well and monitor for any signs of infection. A characteristic ‘bullseye’ rash can be present in human Lyme infections, but you will not see that in pets. If your dog develops lameness or lethargy, please contact us for further testing and treatment
Call us today to book an appointment or if you have any questions.
Written by: Brittany Bond, CCS