1. Climate change: Ticks become active in >4°C weather. Warmer and shorter winters allow for a longer tick season in Ontario.
2. Changes in migratory bird patterns: Associated with climate change, experts believe these changes in bird migration patterns allow for ticks to stay in our region for longer periods of time.
3. We're building outwards: As we continue to develop the areas surrounding us, we are essentially moving into the areas where ticks always resided, but we perhaps never noticed.
4. In Ontario, the limits on pesticide use causes increased tick survival.
Why should you protect your dog?
1. Ticks transmit many severe diseases that can cause irreversible effects and sometimes result in death.
2. Your dog could be a carrier for ticks entering your home
3. There are not vaccinations for all tick borne diseases
How can I protect my dog?
Avoiding long grassy areas and river fronts area key as these seem to be the most common locations for tick infestations on dogs living Kitchener - Waterloo Region. Trying to keep your dog on leash and don't let him or her wander will also help reduce your risk.
Regular tick checks are also a good idea. Keeping in mind that most tick infestation will occur in the facial/neck areas as well as the armpits, so pay close attention to those areas.
In Ontario, the 3 diseases that we most commonly encounter are: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.
How to remove a tick from dog?
When removing a tick, it is important you do not just pull it off. Doing so will likely cause remnants of tick within your dog that will increase risk of disease transmission and secondary infections. Most veterinary clinics will carry a special tool that allows for effective tick removal. They may have you come in or dispense the tool for your use. If you are not able to seek veterinary attention, simply rubbing the body of the tick in a circular motion may cause the tick to detach itself.
My dog was bit by a tick...now what?
If there is known tick exposure, it is especially important to have your pet tested against those diseases mentioned above. A simple, cost effective blood test will evaluate those diseases. It is best to perform the test 6 weeks after tick exposure to reduce chances of false negatives.
What does Kingsdale Animal Hospital recommend for tick prevention?
Fortunately, there are many effective tick preventatives available. The ones we use that are effective are Bravecto® and Revolution®. Bravecto® is a chewable tablet given every 3 months and Revolution® is a topical medication placed on the skin once monthly.
We do not recommend tick repellents (such as sprays/collars) as they will not control the tick population in your environment and generally are not as effective in preventing ticks on your dog compared to the products mentioned above.