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Tick Talk

Small white dog holding a blue leash in its mouth standing on a rock in a grassy field.

It is minus 15 degrees on this 5th day of March, so why am I talking about ticks?

​In the last 5 years we have seen an explosion of these creatures in southern Ontario. At Abbotsford we have gone from seeing 1-2 cases each summer to a dozen or more. Ticks start to actively feed when the temperature goes above 4 degrees celsius. As spring is around the corner (we hope) I want to help keep these critters off our pet friends, preventing disease in them as well as ourselves.

Ticks are related to spiders and mites. They survive by feeding on blood. There are 40 species of ticks in Canada with the most common being the Dermacentor (American dog tick) and Ixodes (the Deer tick).

Ticks like to live in wooded areas, tall grass and under leaf debris. Therefore they can be found in the woods, parks and in most people’s yards.

The primary tick disease that we are concerned about is Lyme disease. This is transmissible to both our pets and us.

Can I use “natural” products to control ticks? The simplest answer is there is no natural product available that works better than “placebo/nothing” at preventing ticks. Having said that, a natural method of tick control is using a lint roller to go over our pets after they have been out and about. The ticks that have not attached yet will stick to the roller and can be removed. Thoroughly go over your pet from head to toe to see if there have been any ticks that have attached. Please wear gloves when trying this. For tick prevention that actually work, please contact the Abbotsford Team.

If you find a tick on your pet that has already attached and can’t bring them in for us to remove it, you can try the following method:

  • Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible with a “tick removing device” or blunt tweezers.

  • Turning in a counter clockwise direction, unscrew the tick without pulling the head off.

It takes 36-48 hours while ticks are feeding to transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Therefore checking your pet daily goes a long way to preventing disease.

When you remove a tick. Place it in a sealed container and bring it in to the clinic. We will forward this information to the “Pet Tick Tracker” that monitors the spread of ticks in Canada.

​At Abbotsford Animal Hospital we stress disease prevention. Practicing pro-active methods of tick control will go a long way to keeping everyone in the family healthy and happy.

Abbotsford Animal Hospital - Caring for Pets for People in York Region, Aurora, Newmarket, King City, Richmond Hill and the GTA.

Jory Bocknek D.V.M  

Dr. Bocknek joined Abbotsford in 1994 and became a partner in 1996. Special interests include ophthalmology, ultrasound, behaviour, and physical rehabilitation.