It’s the time of the year we all look forward to: maple sap running, the hint of warm Spring air, and our canine companions enjoying the out of doors without the requisite coats and booties. While seeing the grass again is rejuvenating, it is also the time of year to remind us of the critters waiting to greet our pets.
Ticks have become the emerging parasite of discussion at most veterinary hospitals in Eastern Ontario. While fleas are always of concern, most of our pets have been safely managed for flea infestations so that seeing flea problems is not what it used to be.
Ticks, however, have adapted to the changes in climate and geography, bringing with them several tick-borne infections, namely Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis.
Ontario has three common varieties of ticks, the American Dog Tick, the Brown Dog Tick and the Deer (Ixodes) Tick, the latter of which carries Lyme disease. It is this l tick that we now see more commonly, having moved up from the Northeast States and into Eastern Ontario and Quebec.
Ticks begin their seasonal feeding early, between 4 and 20C, as soon as snow cover is off the ground. While they feed all year in cooler areas, we predictably see a Spring and a Fall flush of ticks, lasting until there is once again heavy snow cover.
Ticks can be picked up in nymph or adult stages. The nymph Deer tick is the size of a pin-head, making it difficult to find on many dogs. The engorged, fed adult tick, however, is the size of a small finger nail, more easily found unless the pet’s coat is long.
This year we have a new product available to dog owners for tick prevention, Bravecto. Launched by Merck at the end of 2014, it appears safe and effective for all three ticks, and safe in all breeds.
Bravecto’s primary advantage over other products is that it also lasts for three months, so that a typical dog will only need three doses for the whole season. Bravecto is licensed for dogs over 6 months of age due to the need for a stable body weight for correct dosing. For dogs between 2 and 6 months of age, we also have available, Nexguard, a new monthly oral tablet.
For clients wishing the traditional topical tick control, K9 Advantix, it will still be available for use.
As a reminder, we recommend all dogs be tested annually in the Spring for the three tick-borne illnesses as well as Heartworm, if exposure is considered a risk.
Contact the staff at Cedarview Animal Hospital at 613-825-5001 for further information, to book testing, or to order your tick prevention for Fido.