Home > News and Events > Current News > Be On the Lookout For Ticks

Dog tick

In the past few years, the tick population in Southwestern Ontario has risen dramatically due to the widespread dispersal from migratory birds. White-tailed deer also play a very important role in the establishment of deer ticks as they are the source of the majority of blood meals for adult female ticks.

The Deer Tick (also known as the black-legged tick) is a growing concern as it can transmit Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is a debilitating illness that infects blood cells in humans and dogs and can cause symptoms such as headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and bleeding disorders.

By 2020, it is predicted that 80% of the population in eastern Canada will live in an area with an established deer tick population. Currently in Ontario, deer ticks make up 54% of the tick population and the American dog tick makes up just over 35%. It is important to note that even in areas where white-tailed deer are absent, and where it is unlikely that large populations of deer will be established, there can still be a risk of exposure to ticks brought in by birds.

On average, 1 in 6 ticks of deer ticks will carry the organism that causes Lyme Disease. This percentage increases with areas of a longer-established tick populations such as: areas around Kingston, Prince Edward County, Long Point Provincial Park, Turkey Point Provincial Park, Point Pelee National Park, Thousand Islands National Park, Rouge Valley region of Eastern Toronto.

It is important to know that ticks are active when temperatures reach 4°C and over – as was the case, for example, this past December or late February, in most parts of Canada.

If you and your pet travel to the areas mentioned above or are frequently in wooded, brushy, or tall grass areas, check yourself and your pet regularly for ticks. Ticks cannot fly or jump, so they crawl on low shrubs, bushes, and long grass and wait for a host to come along. Anyone engaged in outdoor activities in wooded, brushy, or tall grass areas should take measures to prevent tick bites.

To prevent tick bites on yourself, wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants if travelling into these areas. Tucking your shirt into your pants and your pant legs into socks will help keep ticks away from bare skin. Wear shoes that cover your entire foot. To reduce your pet’s exposure to ticks and their tick-borne diseases, keep long grass and brush around your property trim. You may also ask your veterinarian about topical and chewable tick protection products and the Lyme vaccine.

For more information on ticks please click on the links below:

Lyme Disease - https://www.ontario.ca/page/lyme-disease

Video of the tick lifecycle- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g_lt0FcQag

Dogs and Ticks - http://www.dogsandticks.com/

This information was provided by the Oakville Animal Clinic – 218 Kerr Street Oakville, ON – (905) 845-1234 – www.oakvilleanimalclinic.com