...Let's talk about my dog's ticks on me... whoa, suddenly finding yourself scratching? Picturing creepy crawly ticks can have that awful effect! Tick season is fast approaching in Saskatchewan which means that you may soon start finding ticks on your pets. Unfortunately pets are also the perfect vehicles to potentially bring ticks from outside into your home...and your bed...and suddenly Fido has to sleep on the floor!
While we have been fortunate enough so far this winter to have many mild days, the balmy weather has also been perfect for activating the tick life cycle. Did you know that once temperatures reach 4 degrees Celsius the tick life cycle starts to resume? Think about how many days we have had so far the past couple months with temperatures above 4! The creepy crawlies will soon be upon us and our pets!
The majority of the ticks we see in Saskatchewan are the American dog tick (Dermacentor spp.) but we are starting to see ticks from other regions such as the Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus spp. - say that one fast three times haha!) and of course the black-legged tick (Ixodes spp.) commonly found in B.C. and Manitoba which is a common carrier of Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be very challenging to treat and causes painful inflammation of the joints in both animals and people. It can also potentially affect other body systems such as the kidneys, the central nervous system and even the heart. In Saskatchewan, we usually would see a wave of ticks emerging in the spring and lingering into the early summer. Now we are starting to see ticks staying throughout the summer and even still showing up late into the fall thanks to recent climate changes. For this reason, your veterinarian may recommend using a tick prevention product from April through to September. Also if you know you are going to be travelling with your pet to an area that commonly has the Ixodes spp ticks, you will definitely want an appropriate tick medication to reduce potential exposure to Lyme disease.
At Wascana Animal Hospital, we are all about prevention and trying to minimize the number of ticks that successfully get onto your pets and attach for blood feeding. Not only does this reduce the number of ticks you need to remove (gross!), but also reduces the number of ticks brought into your home and the chance of that tick being able to transmit disease to you or your pet. Our clinic carries many different types of products for tick prevention that are specific to certain species of ticks, that have different frequency of administration, as well as different types of application (topical versus oral). However, one of the newer products that has stood out to our veterinarians is called Bravecto. Bravecto is a flavoured oral chew labelled for dogs 6 months of age and older. Not only does it provide protection against all three species of ticks mentioned above, but it lasts for 12 weeks! Our veterinarians love how well it works and our clients love how convenient it is to give one treatment that lasts for 3 months. Also it doesn't matter how much Fido bathes or swims since it's not a topical product that's going to wash away! So check your mailbox for a reminder from our hospital to pick up a tick prevention product for your dog this April or feel free to come in and discuss the best tick prevention options for your pet with one of our veterinarians today.