Living in Southern Ontario, we have easy access to campgrounds, trails, and parks to enjoy during the warmer months. For many dogs, this convenience brings many opportunities to explore nature with their beloved families! Unfortunately, while your dog is busy enjoying family time in the long summer grass, they become a target for dangerous parasites that are commonly found in this region.
Deer ticks, which can be carriers of Lyme Disease, wait on long grass to have access to a host. When an unknowing pet passes, they transfer onto its body and burrow in its skin to feed. If a tick carrying the disease is attached for more than two days, it can be transmitted to the host.
Dogs affected with the disease have been described to be “walking on eggshells” with generalized severe pain and reduced appetite. The symptoms can also come and go, making diagnosis difficult. While typically found in pets, ticks can also transmit the disease to humans. In 2015, pop singer Avril Lavigne was diagnosed with Lyme Disease after eight months of ongoing illness. The disease’s vague symptoms make it dangerous and difficult to diagnose in pets and humans, although it presents differently in human hosts.
If you have a dog or cat that goes outdoors, inspecting their skin and coat for unwanted hitch-hikers can keep these parasites from feeding on your furry friend. Should you find a tick, it is important to have it removed promptly, then monitor your pet for any changes in behaviour and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns. Removing the tick can be tricky because twisting or breaking the tick (leaving its “head” in the skin) can leave your pet prone to infection. Because of this, we advise against trying to remove the tick at home and encourage you to contact our team for assistance.
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to talk to your veterinarian about tick preventatives. Administering a preventative will keep ticks away from your pet, giving you the peace of mind of knowing your pet is protected. Your pet can then go off-road freely, enjoying all the sights, sounds, and smells that our beautiful Ontario summers have to offer!
Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at danielle@NeighbourhoodPetClinic.com. Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.