The warmer weather usually results in you and your companion animals spending a lot more time outdoors; walks and hikes in wooded or grassy areas are a fun way to exercise yourself and your pet, but these activities leave us exposed to questing ticks. Ticks do not jump like fleas or fly like the botfly, they poise themselves, usually on plants, in a position known as questing and they will wait for their host to brush against them.
In Nova Scotia there are 16 known tick species, most will feed on furry mammals, a few will feed on human, but only one carries the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease is the Deer tick, a.k.a the Black Legged Tick. To protect your furry friends, we always recommend a preventative product like Bravecto but it is always a good idea to check your dog for Ticks after outings where ticks are present.
To check for ticks, run your fingers through your pet’s fur, apply enough pressure that you have contact with the body to feel a small bump. Ticks can range in size from as small as a pinhead or poppy seed to as large as a grape. Check the areas close to the ground, between the toes and under the tail. Don’t forget to look around the face, on the top of the head and around/inside the ears, some ticks will search out thin skinned areas before attaching.
If you find a tick, it can be easily removed using a tick twister, you can bring it to us for identification and we can do a blood test known as the SNAP 4DX test which detects Lyme, heartworm, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. If you are not comfortable with removing the tick, it’s okay, we will do it for you, stop in or give us a call to book a few minutes with an RVT who will remove and identify the tick for you, and even teach you how to use a tick twister for the next time your furry friend becomes a host.
Written by Melody Pentland, Site Coordinator