By Dr. Victoria Bennett, Veterinary Advisor, CNIB Guide Dogs
In Canada, the incidence of tick-borne diseases from tick bites is increasing due to the expanding presence and range of tick species across the country. Each disease is typically associated with a particular tick species, so tick identification and reporting are important.
Lyme disease is a clinical disease due to an immune response to a bacterial infection (Borrelia burgdorferi) that is spread by Eastern or Western Black Legged (deer) ticks. An infected tick must be attached for approximately 48 hours to successfully transmit the bacteria, which means daily detection and tick removal is important.
Humans are far more likely to develop symptoms of Lyme disease than dogs after being infected. Ninety-five percent of infected dogs may never develop clinical Lyme disease but will test positive on the 4Dx Blood test (for detection of heartworm and three tick-borne diseases: Lyme, Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis).
Tick preventatives – typically pills or topicals – for your dog are an important first line of defense in protecting against tick borne diseases. There is also a Lyme vaccine that is only available for dogs. The vaccine series should be repeated if your dog is overdue by more than one month to receive his or her annual Lyme vaccine booster.
To learn more about ticks, identification, removal, tick diseases and more, visit petsandticks.com, and for your provincial tick map visit petsandticks.com/canadian-pet-tick-survey. Most importantly, you should report any ticks found on you or your pets at etick.ca.