Ticks are out looking for blood: how to protect your pet

Callie Hermanson
Lakeside Leader

A tick is part of the arachnid family, and an ectoparasite (a parasite that lives on the outside of its host), feeding on the blood of mammals and birds.

Dr. Amiee Green with the Slave Lake Vet Clinic says ticks can be found in your backyard, tall grass, wooded areas and leaf litter.

Ticks are attracted to motion, warm temperature from body heat and carbon dioxide (CO2) exhaled by mammals.

Ticks will feed off dogs, cats, humans, rodents, rabbits, deer, moose, cattle and birds.

“Ticks will be out looking for a blood meal at four degrees Celsius, Green says.”

To create a tick-safe zone in your yard, remove leaf litter, keep the grass mowed, clear tall grass and brush from around your home and have a fenced yard to discourage other animals from entering.

Green explains that the only disease that ticks carry that can be found in Alberta is Lyme disease. She adds there have been no actual reports for Lyme disease in Slave Lake and area.

To do a tick scan on your pets, rub your hands over their whole body, paying close attention to the head, ears, neck, and feet. Remove ticks from your furry friends with tweezers.

Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk; this can cause the mouth parts to break off.

Clean the area with soap and water and put the tick in a plastic bag or empty pill bottle and bring it down to your veterinarian.

Green says if the tick was found on livestock or a pet it would be sent to the Alberta Government for identification and Lyme disease testing. Green states that there are numerous preservatives prevent ticks from biting, or will kill ticks if they bite. At the Slave Lake vet clinic, they use what is called Bravecto (Flualaner), a chewable tablet, or K9 Advantix (Imidacloprid permethrin Pyriproxyfen), which is a topical treatment.

Green mentions that they have yet to act on prevention for cats, because cats groom themselves. She adds topical treatments that are used on dogs are toxic to cats. If a dog and a cat live together or sleep together, the dog and cat should remain apart for at least 48 hours to allow the medicine to sink in and dry.

Dr. Aimee Green and her dog Nala.

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One thought on “Ticks are out looking for blood: how to protect your pet

  1. 4 years ago 2014, my husband got 3 bites from a tick at Slave Lake, Alberta and he was positively diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever. He had very high fever and a very swollen leg. Thanks to a doctor at the hospital in Slave Lake, he was put on the proper medication for Rocky Mountain Spotted fever or he could have died from it.

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