Icky Ticks In BC
Tick season is in full swing as of March and I already found one crawling on my shirt after a walk in Wilden, almost about to launch onto my skin and head North to my head! I don’t know about any of you, but I reeeaaaalllly don’t like ticks and other things that bury their head parts into your skin and suck blood from you. Just gives me the creeps! Some people say, “How come you don’t like bugs?? You’re a vet!” And my reply is that I am not a Bug Vet!
I don’t mind spiders so much (they kill the creepy ones), as long as they can be moved outside of my house without harming them and don’t crawl on me or hang out on my bedroom ceiling above my head, but ticks, fleas, lice, mosquitoes, and anything other blood suckers do not live long in my presence!
We often field questions about the risk of Lyme Disease from ticks
I’d like to answer a few of them here. There is no need to panic about this disease and I have yet to see a case in the 27 years I have lived here. Furthermore, it is irresponsible to scare the living daylights out of dog owners without giving them all information, so anyone doing that should be met with skepticism.
Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which is carried by certain types of ticks.
Depending on the tick and Borrelia species, transmission can occur rapidly.
The chance of infection increases the longer the tick is attached, so checking your dog for ticks twice daily during tick season is a smart idea.
Having one of these deer ticks attached to your dog doesn’t translate to an infection. Only a small percentage of dogs exposed become infected. Lyme disease symptoms in dogs are different from human symptoms and they do not show a red rash at the bite site like people. In fact, many dogs show no symptoms at all and the bacteria may only be discovered during routine blood tests.
If your dog does develop symptoms of an infection, it will typically be well after the tick bite — usually months later.
Common symptoms of Lyme disease include:
What does a real infection with this bacteria look like in dogs? Fever, swollen lymph nodes, lameness shifting from one leg to another, joint swelling, lethargy and loss of appetite. These symptoms will be seen usually months later after the bite as the bacteria is setting up residence and wreaking havoc. Very rarely, kidney failure can occur. There is an initial screening test called 4DX screening test (go figure!), but it is a mistake to assume this means infection and begin treatment with antibiotics. It is very important to follow up a positive 4DX test with a Quantitative C6 test (QC6) for confirmation. In this area, I’d be surprised if we have had a positive test in dogs that got tick bites here as opposed to in the US. About 95% of positive tests are in just 12 states.
From Dr. Jean Dodds: “Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine published an interesting study a few years back on Lyme disease in dogs.
A group of Beagles was experimentally infected with B. burgdorferi. None of the adult dogs got sick and none showed any symptoms of the disease — no fever, no flu symptoms, no cardiac or neurologic issues.
In from two to five months after they were infected, the Beagle puppies in the study experienced about four days of transient symptoms such as fever and lameness. By the fifth day the symptoms were gone, indicating the pups’ bodies cleared the infection quickly. The results of the Beagle study correlate closely to what veterinarians see in their practices.”
TICK BITE PREVENTION
- You can avoid going into tick-infested areas which, around here, are the grassy hillsides that are frequented by deer, ergo Wilden! Check for ticks twice a day if you live near a tick-infested area or walk in them regularly.
- You can spray them with a natural tick repellent like the OregaPet Bed and Body Spray that we carry here.
- As of this week, we also have the 100% non-toxic CatanDog Tags that release scalar waves that parasites don’t like so even if they jump on, they won’t stay on! You can even wear one yourself but it must be on 24/7 so that the electromagnetic waves are working against each other. Otherwise the bio-resonant waves will stop and repellent characteristics will be lost. More on this product in a separate post/article!
- Insecticidal products like Bravecto can be utilized if you really want to kill any ticks that get past your other preventative techniques and attach. They will die within 12 hours of eating Bravecto-laden blood, but they still have to attach!
So, keep icky ticks in mind as you traverse the Okanagan until about the end of June. Let us know if you are using the natural repellents and they either are or are not working as we can always use feedback!