Ticks in Ontario

Ticks in Ontario


WHAT IS A TICK?

Ticks are eight legged parasites that have highly developed mouthparts that pierce through the skin of animals and feed on their blood. Ticks feed on a range of animals, from cats, dogs, horses, squirrels, various birds, to humans as well. 

unfed ricks are flat, in a tear drop shape. Adult ticks have 6 legs and an antenna on their head. Depending on the species of tick, life stage, and sex, they can differ in color. After taking in blood, ticks grow and become bloated. 

SPECIES IN ONTARIO

Ticks have not only been increasing in number, but have also expanded across the country in the past five years. this is due to an increase in warmer temperatures and the dispersion of ticks on animal hosts. Because of this expansion, there has also been an increase in cases of disease transmission in many animals.

Most common species of ticks in Canada include:

  • deer ticks
  • american dog ticks
  • brown dog ticks
  • lone star ticks

These ticks carry different transmittable diseases if they bite and feed long enough.


WHERE ARE THEY COMMONLY FOUND?

Ticks are most commonly found in the outdoors, specifically in bushes and shrubs, as well as non-wooded areas.

Ticks can be found around the home, such as on the bed, carpets, floors, or sofas. In this case, it is important to take a close examination of your pets' fur and skin.

 

DISEASES CAUSED BY TICKS

Lyme Disease

Transmission time: 24 hours

Tick Species: Deer Tick

Description: infection can lead to discomfort, fever, or more serious signs, such as kidney or heart disease.

Symptoms: leg injuries, unwillingness to move, and fatigue.

 

Ehrlichiosis

Transmission Time: 3 hours

Tick Species: Brown dog tick, lone star tick, and american dog tick.

Description: infection of the blood leads to illness.

Symptoms: fever, weight loss, bleeding disorders, anemia, and immune disorders.

 

Anaplasmosis

Transmission time: 4 hours 

Tick Species: deer tick, and brown dog tick.

Description: infection of the blood leads to changed ion blood compositions.

Symptoms: fever, anemia, and periods of weakness.

 

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Transmission time: 4 hours 

Tick species: American dog tick, lone star tick, and brown dog tick.

Description: infection causes severe illness. If left untreated it can cause death.

Symptoms: severe fever, periods of weakness, stiffness, and bleeding disorders.


HOW TO IDENTIFY AND REMOVE TICKS 

Symptoms

  • Excessive head shaking
  • Pets can experience fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, or fatigue
  • If a tick has been detached by your pet licking or scratching, a scab may form
  • be sure to visit your vet if you notice any other unusual symptoms

Removal of Ticks

  1. Be sure to wear gloves to avoid any direct skin contact with the tick before proceeding.
  2. Use tweezers to detach the tick by pulling straight upwards (be sure not to twist the tweezers to avoid leaving any tick inside your pet).
  3. After removal, kill the tick by placing it inside a container filled with rubbing alcohol.
  4. Store the tick in a sealed container for your vet to identify if you wish so.
  5. Keep an eye on your pet for ant unusual symptoms for the following days. If these symptoms occur once again, make sure to make an appointment with your vet for a professional care.

PREVENTION

It is common that tick diseases may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a bite, so watch closely for changes in behavior or appetite

Talk to your veterinarian about:

  • The best tick prevention products for your pet
  • Tick diseases in your area

To reduce the chances of further illness:

  • Check your pet(s) for ticks daily, especially after time outdoors
  • If you find a tick, remove it immediately
  • Reduce tick habitat in your yard by:
    • Applying pesticides outdoors (do not rely on spraying to reduce risk of infection)
    • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at edge of lawns
    • Mow the lawn frequently

FACTS

  • Ticks in cats are very low in Canada right now
  • Don't fly- they "quest" by stretching out their four legs to attach onto animals (they do this by jumping onto host).
  • Like to attach to moist environments, commonly found around the ears 
  • People cannot catch the Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever of ticks directly from their pet, but they can become ill if the same tick bites the person.
  • 2 types:
    •  Hard - found in the woods
    •  Soft - found in caves, cabins and on birds and have tough, leathery skin

COMMON ASKED QUESTIONS

Do ticks die in the winter?-

Ticks have adapted to the Northeast climate; therefore, they can survive cold temperatures allowing them to survive adverse conditions. Most ticks do survive best in moist, shaded environments, which is why it is very important to always watch for tick infection at any time.

Do ticks burrow under the skin?

Ticks do not usually burrow under the skin. When ticks feed, they insert only their mouth parts into the skin. No other body parts enter the skin.

Does a tick bite hurt my pet?

Tick bites usually do not hurt when they bite as they generally go unnoticed. Pets can have an allergic reaction to a bite, causing itchiness and or sensitivity at the site of the bite, but this is very rare.

What products should I use fort tick prevention?

Best results and answers to this question arise after discussing with your veterinarian. Because of the many products in the market for tick prevention, your veterinarian is the best option to help guide you to a product that is safe for your pet. Additionally, your veterinarian can provide several different options for pest prevention helping you determine which method works best for you and your pet.

 

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