10 Things to Know About Ticks & Your Dog

1: Ticks are 8 legged parasites that belong to the spider family arachnids. They live off of the blood of other animals.

2: Ticks go through several stages in their life cycle – larva, nymph, and adult. Each stage has a host animal that they feed off of. Species such as the Deer Tick can transmit diseases in their larval and nymph stages. They pick up the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis from their small mammal hosts (chipmunk and mice).

3: Ticks can’t jump. They wait dormant in their environment and are stimulated by smell, vibration, moisture and heat. They climb to the highest point and hang by their back legs ready to grab on to whomever brushes by.

4: Ticks can be found in every state and province of North America!

5: “Tick Season” in southern Ontario lasts 10 months of the year – March to December, OR anytime that the weather is above 4 degrees Celsius.

6: There are 3 bacterial diseases we are concerned about here in Southern Ontario that are spread by ticks. Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis. They can be spread through the tick’s saliva to you or your dog in as little as 4 hours.

  Lyme Disease Anaplasmosis Ehrlichiosis

Deer Tick aka Black Legged Tick (Ixodes spp.)

Deer Tick aka Black Legged Tick (Ixodes spp.)

Lone Star Tick

(Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

Brown Dog Tick (Amblyomma americanum)

Signs and Symptoms of infection:

(for your dog)

“just not themselves”

lameness, fever, swollen joints, kidney failure, anorexia

If left untreated: damaged joints, kidney disease

“just not themselves”, lack of energy, fever, swollen painful joints, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea

If left untreated: decreased white blood cells and platelets, chronic pain in the joints

Decreased appetite, painful joints, nose bleeds, fever, pale gums.

If left untreated: blindness, bleeding complications and death

Transit time from tick to pet 24-48hr 4-48hr 4-48hr

7: Dogs have a 50% greater chance of contracting Lyme disease than humans!

8: If infected, your dog can not pass Lyme Disease, Ehrlichisosis or Anaplasmosis directly on to you, BUT: ticks can take up to 2 hours to latch on to their host, therefore they can be carried home to your family and other pets. Prevention for your dog is a form of prevention for everyone! Ask your veterinarian about what products are best suited for your dog. If caught early enough dogs can be treated with antibiotics such as Doxycycline and Tetracycline. They may never be cured of the disease but symptoms can be controlled. Annual testing can be done by your veterinarian and it is highly recommended.

9: Ticks can be removed slowly and steadily by grasping them firmly and as close to the skin as possible. With firm and steady pressure slide the tick out. Clean the area well with soap and water. NEVER squish them, use fire or heat, or smother them with petroleum jelly. It is very important that the mouthparts and head don’t get left behind in your dog’s skin where they will continue to transmit bacteria filled saliva. Here’s a great video

10: Here are some great websites for more information:

By Michelle Walsh, RVT