Wherever you and the pets are headed this year, be aware of ticks. Photo: Black Press

Wherever you and the pets are headed this year, be aware of ticks. Photo: Black Press

PET CARE: Tips for tick prevention

Pet columnist Nicolette Joosting shares her tips for keeping furry friends safe from tick bites

By Nicolette Joosting

March is National Tick Awareness Month.

One effect of changing environmental conditions has been the recent rapid expansion of black-legged ticks in Canada.

It is not just that these eight-legged bloodsuckers creep us out when we find an engorged tick with mouth parts firmly cemented into the skin, salivating blood thinners, allergens and toxins that cause paralysis or massive tissue necrosis.

Ticks carry serious diseases that affect humans, livestock and our pets.

Lyme disease, caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, is probably the one you heard about the most, but the range of diseases that ticks can transmit is impressive. There are over 900 species of ticks identified globally.

Climate change is not the only culprit — travellers and the domestic and exotic pet trades are introducing new species, along with some of these diseases, into our previously tick-complacent Canadian landscape.

RELATED: Raising awareness about Lyme disease, one pedal at a time

We all love being outdoors in B.C.

More of us than ever before will be camping, hiking and travelling as the weather warms up.

Ticks are everywhere.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control notes that most Lyme-disease carrying ticks are in southwestern B.C., including the Kootenays, Fraser Valley, the Lower Mainland and the Sunshine Coast.

But wherever you and the pets are headed this year, be aware of ticks.

The best way to prevent tick-transmitted diseases is to prevent tick bites. They are amazing creatures, capable of surviving extreme conditions for years.

You will find them under bushes, ready to crawl out from the sand in mitey droves at the whiff of your breath.

They are not jumpers, so to get onto your legs or your dog, they climb up stalks of long grass, and catch a ride on passersby brushing against the grass.

You may notice and brush them off, but mostly they will have finished their blood-meal and dropped off already, leaving you with an itchy bite or rash.

Finding a non-engorged tick in animal fur is incredibly difficult.

Although tick season is really all year round, they are generally more active from March to June.

RELATED: Tick season begins in Hope, says local veterinary clinic

It’s not really possible to avoid ticks on a hike but taking some simple precautions for you and your dogs will help.

Wear light-coloured clothing that covers your legs, tucking your pants into your socks. Stay on the pathways. Use a safe insect repellent.

Talk to your veterinarian about tick prevention products and make sure you are giving them regularly throughout spring, summer and fall.

There is a Lyme vaccine for dogs that your veterinarian may suggest.

Once back from your walk or hike, comb through your dog’s fur for ticks and remove any you find.

Put your clothing into the laundry and check yourself for bites – and call your doctor if you do experience any bug bite that does not heal within a day.

TickTalkCanada.com has informative videos and loads of tips for dealing with ticks on pets, including this one for safe removal of a tick: take a fine pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as closely to the skin as possible, and pull up gently and firmly until the tick releases itself.

Exposing a tick to a noxious substance or trying to burn it to make it let go will make it regurgitate and cling harder, increasing the risk of disease transmission, as well as possibly damaging it so that the mouth parts remain in the skin.

Call your veterinarian if you need assistance removing a tick from your pet.

Take TICK care and stay safe this spring!



news@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC HealthPets & People

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Edna Whiteley in 2016. “Her whole life has been happy and about helping others,” says her nephew Bob Steed. Photo: Submitted
Nelson’s ‘little firecracker’ Edna Whiteley turns 100

Whiteley is known as a welcoming ambassador for new arrivals in the city

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

An animal carrier full of bullet holes and containing a dead animal was found near Castlegar. Photo: Colleen Schwartz
Castlegar woman finds dead animal inside carrier riddled with bullet holes

The remains were discovered near Syringa Creek Provincial Park

For web
Advocates hold opioid crisis vigil in Trail and Rossland

A delegation offered a powerful presentation on the opioid crisis to Rossland council last month

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCGEU

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says union president Laird Cronk

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Most Read