Ticks at This Time of Year?

You may think that since it is winter, you don’t need to worry about your dog getting a tick and that’s not the case. Ticks can come out when the temperature reaches above 4 degrees celsius, even for just one day. Although October is when we usually see the influx in ticks, we have had a run of ticks on our dogs in the last few weeks because of the fluctuation in the weather. Usually we see the brown dog tick but the last two we have removed from our furry friends have been the deer tick.   The deer tick is the species that can potentially carry lyme disease however we have sent them away for testing and thankfully there is no threat of lyme disease to these dogs!

At Briarwood vet clinic, we want to make sure not only our pets are protected but also the community so please spread the word to all of your dog friends out there. Check for ticks. Pet them, check through their coats, behind their ears, around their neck and even under their tail. A tick can be very small or significantly larger when they are feeding. If they are bigger, that means they have buried their head into the skin of your pet to get a blood meal.

The head of the tick should be removed with the help of a tick twister or through your vet’s office. Either way, please contact your veterinarian to help identify the type of tick as well as to let other pet owners know where in the Stoney Creek and Hamilton area these little monsters are lurking. Common places ticks have been spotted include Battlefield, the Bruce trail, the Red Hill area, Fifty Point and any trails that back onto the escarpment.

Some general rules to protect you and your pet are to wear long pants, stay out of tall brush, and always do a “once over” before you leave. Ticks are not just found in long grass however. Birds can drop them anywhere so it is very important to take caution. Thankfully tick prevention has come a long way in recent years. Owners now have a choice between a tablet as well as a topical prevention which helps limit the chance of tick attachment.

Go out and enjoy a walk and spend time with your four legged friends, just check for “hitchhikers” your pets may have picked up along the way.

Written by: Allison Stewart