The BC SPCA is reminding pet owners that ticks and fleas are actively lurking outdoors this time of year.
“Ticks are external parasites that feed off the blood of unlucky hosts, including humans, dogs and cats,” said BC SPCA veterinarian, Dr. Kyla Townsend.
“Tick bites and tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, can be hard to detect and signs of tick-borne disease may not appear for seven to 21 days or longer after a tick bite.”
Townsend says not all ticks carry Lyme disease, but it is important to contact your vet if you believe your pet has picked up a tick.
“Your veterinarian can remove the tick for you or provide information on safe methods of removal and any necessary follow-up,” says Townsend.
“Either way, guardians should ensure the tick is removed as soon as possible to reduce the chance of disease transmission.”
The BC SPCA also warns owners not to use old-school methods like burning the tick out or attempting to suffocate it with oil.
“The risk of tick-borne diseases for pets in B.C. is still low, but it has been growing over the past several years,” says Townsend. “Regular tick checks of your pet can help to reduce that risk, as well as tick prevention medications, especially for pets who spend a lot of time in wooded areas.”
If you believe your pet has been bitten by a tick you are advised to watch them closely for changes in behaviour or appetite or for any unusual illness such as fever, lameness, lethargy, bruising or bleeding.