What is a Tick?
Ticks are eight legged creatures, also known as an arachnid. They are an ectoparasite which means they are found on the body of mammals, birds, and sometimes even amphibians or reptiles. There are four stages in a tick’s life: egg, larvae, nymph and adult. Ticks wait in wooded areas on the tips of long grasses, shrubs, or bushes in a position known as questing. When a host brushes by, the tick let’s go and latches onto the host to begin it’s feeding process. While ticks start off their life cycle being quite small in size, they feed off of the blood of their host and become engorged, growing in size until they eventually fall off to advance through their life cycle stages or mate and lay eggs. Fun fact: an adult female can lay up to 3000 eggs or more!
Why should I be worried?
Ticks are carriers of a lot of diseases. Some of the most common include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis. Furthermore, these diseases (especially Lyme disease) can be transferred to humans as well.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is of high concern in the Southern Ontario area. It is transmitted by blacklegged ticks (or deer ticks) that carry the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. At least 24 hours of feeding time is required before the disease-causing bacteria is transmitted from tick to host. In pets, Lyme disease is difficult to detect since there are few signs and symptoms of the disease. A few indications may include lameness and fatigue. However, Lyme disease can be dangerous and deadly for you and your pet. It can cause joint damage, complications of the heart, kidney failure, and neurological problems. According to petdiseasereport.com, there have already been 570 reported cases of Lyme disease in pets for this year (2017). Two of those cases were found in Mississauga with even more positive cases in Toronto.
What can I do?
Luckily, there are preventative options for your pets against ticks. Both cats and dogs can be prescribed tick and flea prevention to kill the tick coming into contact with your pet. In addition, dog owners can have their pet vaccinated against Lyme disease. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine against Lyme for cats yet.
Be proactive and protect your pet against ticks! Since these creatures are able to spread and multiply quickly, purchasing prevention for your pet not only protects them but you and your family as well.
Call us at 905-567-4677 to book your appointment for the Lyme vaccine, and tick and flea prevention for your fur baby today!