Ticks are tiny, clingy and love to hitchhike.
And as the temperature gets a bit milder, they’re starting to show up in the Hope area already. Coquihalla Veterinary Services are starting to see ticks showing up on animals in the clinic, and hearing from their owners with questions about ticks.
It only needs to be about 4C for ticks to get active, says Robin Brass, receptionist at the Hope clinic. And that means it’s time for dog owners who hike in the area to really pay attention to their pets’ fur.
Ticks climb to the tops of brush and long grass and cling on with their back legs while holding their front legs wide open, waiting for something to brush by to hitch onto.
Often, that’s the back legs or bellies of dogs who are romping in the woods along trails, Brass says.
“They jump onto you, so if you walk in the dead centre of a road or a path then you probably won’t get one on you,” she says. “But dogs like to run.”
The problem with ticks attaching to a human or a pet is that they can carry Lyme disease and pass it onto their hosts through the bloodstream. Lyme disease can create serious, long-lasting health complications, making prevention of bites essential.
Brass says there are preventative measures for dogs, similar to flea prevention. Pet owners should also keep a tick twister handy, and be familiar with the proper way to remove embedded ticks.
Brass says that their clinic wants people to bring ticks into the office — in a container — as they are participating in a study to track Lyme disease. It’s a year long study across the country, and it will be concluded in the late spring.
They also keep track locally of tick activity on a white board in the office, and make sure to educate clients about the importance of being tick aware.
Checking a dog over after a hike is important, she says, especially going into certain areas like Thacker Mountain that are known for being tick areas.
To learn more about how to remove ticks, visit www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics.
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