Ticks are common ectoparasites that can be found all the way from nearby urban neighborhoods to deep in the forest. How often ticks are found on a dog and how severe the infestation depends on the region that you live in, the time of year and the lifestyle of your dog. It was once thought that the risk of contracting Lyme disease was limited to Point Pelee and Fort Erie, near the U.S. border in southern Ontario. However, these pesky parasites can now be found almost everywhere along the border and have been seen in almost all of our Canadian provinces.
It is estimated that 700 million ticks are brought into Canada each year from migratory birds. Also every year, thousands of dogs become infected with serious diseases transmitted by ticks. Even dogs that only spend brief periods of time outside can pick up these parasites that carry such diseases as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. The tick attaches to your dog by inserting their mouthparts into your dog’s skin. After attachment, the tick begins to feed on your dog’s blood all while transmitting these diseases that are not only harmful to your pet but also to you.
Once found only in Ontario, Lyme-carrying ticks are now found in almost all the provinces. As they continue to spread, medical professionals are increasingly concerned about Canadians contracting the disease.
The Government currently has data for human Lyme disease cases reported between 2009 and 2015:
- 2009: 128 cases
- 2010: 132 cases
- 2011: 258 cases
- 2012: 315 cases
- 2013: 682 cases
- 2014: 522 cases
- 2015: 707 cases (preliminary data)
These numbers may change slightly should updated information come in from provincial or territorial public health organizations. However, the true number of cases is expected to be higher, as cases are captured only if acquired in known endemic areas.
Luckily, the risks that ticks pose to your dog can be minimized with preventive measures such as topical and oral medications. Performing annual blood parasite screening (tick diseases and heartworm) is also extremely important to ensure that you pet is not harboring diseases such as Lyme disease that are often vague and difficult to recognize.
If you haven’t already done so, please call, email or text us to book in your dog for their annual blood parasite screening and seasonal parasite preventive medication. We have your pet’s health in mind so you can do your best to help keep your best friend happy, healthy and tick-free.