As an employee at Mill Bay Vet, we are educated seasonally about ticks and the dangers they present for pets and owners alike. The receptionists recently took a lunch and learn to refresh our knowledge of parasite prevention with the latest product information available.Have you found a tick on your dog or cat before? That little grey beastie you found had itself embedded in your pet as you searched your junk drawer for something to pull it out with.
Ticks have four life cycles (egg, larva, nymph, adult) and three stages that they go through in life.
Tick eggs are laid in the grass where they develop into a larva. The larva positions itself to latch onto a host where it has a meal then returns to the grass to grow into a nymph. The nymph then attaches itself to a larger host, has a blood meal then returns to a grassy area. At the adult stage the tick feeds and reproduces on a host then returns to the ground to lay its eggs.
Run your hands through your pet’s fur to feel for any ticks that may be attached to their skin or fur. The sooner they are detected and removed, the less chance there is to spread disease. Having your pet on a flea and tick preventive can drastically reduce the number of ticks feeding on your pet.
Recently a client came to visit us as her large breed dog had as many as 15-20 ticks to be removed. This animal was not on any sort of flea and tick prevention. They left the clinic that day with a three month supply.
Ticks are not only gross, they can carry diseases that are transferable to humans. Lyme disease is one of the more recognizable illnesses.
We are beginning to see more ticks each year in our area and have now learned that there is a new tick in Canada that has been found in British Columbia called the Lone Star Tick. Originating in Texas, this tick has migrated North on wild and domestic animals. The Lone Star Tick is aggressive and will search for its next host, carrying new health concerns along with it.
During tick season, which begins in March, be sure to have your pet on parasite prevention and check them regularly for those little creepy crawlers.
Written by Meghan Seal, Inventory Specialist