This is the time of year your pets are most at risk for ticks, as ticks are typically more active between April and September. It’s important to know however, that ticks don’t mind a bit of cold and are active even at 4C. Ticks are more than just pesky; they can lead to some potentially serious consequences.
What Are Ticks and How Do My Pets Get Them?
Like spiders, Ticks are arachnids, which don’t fly or jump. But unlike spiders, they need a blood meal to survive. That’s why they latch onto your pet, hoping to sink into your pet’s skin and feed on their blood. They find a thin area of skin near a small blood vessel, where it’s easier to extract blood.
Whether it’s larvae, a nymph or an adult tick, they’re all on a quest to find a blood meal. In a process called questing. Ticks can transfer to hosts when animals (or humans) walk through long grass or bushes.
That said, pets can still get ticks even if they spend all or most of their time inside. A person (or even a rodent) may bring them inside, exposing your cat or dog to the same risks as pets who regularly venture outdoors.
The Prevalence of Ticks in Newfoundland
Ticks reported in Newfoundland include:
- American dog tick
- Blacklegged tick (also known as deer ticks)
- Brown dog tick
- Squirrel tick
- Mouse tick
- Vole tick
What Can Happen When My Pet Gets a Tick?
Approximately one week after a tick attaches to your pet, the site of the tick bite may become red. Your pet could potentially have an allergic reaction, become anemic or contract a disease carried by the tick.
The tick-borne disease most people are familiar with is Lyme disease, which is transmitted by blacklegged or deer ticks. Luckily, Newfoundland does not currently have a breeding population of blacklegged ticks but these ticks can be carried into the province by migratory birds. Lyme disease can cause arthritis, nervous system problems and painful swelling of your pet’s joints. It can also spread to other parts of the body for several months to years after infection.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia are other tick-borne diseases, although the list doesn’t end there.
You should be aware that ticks can also attach to humans too. Thankfully, humans aren’t ticks’ primary meals but the diseases discussed above can be very serious in people, as well as pets.
How Can I Help My Pet if They Get Ticks?
The best course of action is prevention. Ticks are preventable with tick control products, which we carry here at Kenmount Animal Hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland. We’re happy to talk to you about all types of parasites and answer all of your questions.
If your dog or cat does get a tick, please do not yank it out. This can inadvertently leave part of the tick’s body inside of your pet. Please call us for proper tick removal.
At Kenmount Animal Hospital, we want to help you keep your pets and your home parasite-free all year long. Ask us how! Visit Kenmount Road Animal Hospital at www.kenmountroadanimalhosptial.com or call us at 709-701-2030.