Ex­am­ine pets for ticks, warns of­fi­cials

The Compass - - CLASSIFIED -

The an­i­mal health di­vi­sion of the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources is en­cour­ag­ing pet own­ers to ex­am­ine their pets for deer ticks.

A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of deer ticks found on pets have been re­ported across the is­land por­tion of the prov­ince, al­though none have been re­ported in Labrador.

Deer ticks can at­tach them­selves to any warm-bod­ied host in­clud­ing hu­mans, and are re­spon­si­ble for spread­ing Lyme dis­ease in an­i­mals; how­ever, only dogs and hu­mans are known to get sick from the dis­ease.

“ We have had two known cases of Lyme dis­ease in an­i­mals in this prov­ince in the past, in 2004 and 2006, both in dogs on the west coast,” says Dr. Hugh Whit­ney, Chief Vet­eri­nary Of­fi­cer.

“ So far in 2010 we have seen 19 deer ticks from across the is­land, al­most all re­moved from pet dogs, with one com­ing from a cat.”

Re­move care­fully

Any­one find­ing a tick on their pet should re­move it care­fully with tweez­ers and take it to their lo­cal vet­eri­nary clinic where any risk of Lyme dis­ease in­fec­tion can be eval­u­ated.

Deer ticks that at­tach them­selves to mi­gra­tory birds each spring spread lyme dis­ease.

Be­tween 10-15 per cent of deer ticks tested in this prov­ince carry the bac­te­ria that cause Lyme dis­ease.

The deer tick ex­ists per­ma­nently in New Brunswick and Nova Sco­tia with no known per­ma­nent pop­u­la­tions in this prov­ince.

The symp­toms of Lyme dis­ease in dogs in­clude lame­ness, loss of ap­petite, fever and loss of en­ergy. Af­fected an­i­mals usu­ally re­spond well to treat­ment.

“ Hu­man Lyme dis­ease is an in­fec­tion that be­gins in the skin at the site of the tick bite. It can pro­duce gen­eral flu-like symp­toms that can progress to more se­ri­ous sys­temic dis­ease if not treated early,” says Dr. Faith Strat­ton, Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health.

“ The tick should be re­moved care­fully from the skin with a pair of tweez­ers as soon as pos­si­ble to pre­vent in­fec­tion. Any­one who has been bit­ten by a tick car­ry­ing the bac­te­ria is at risk and should seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion if a skin le­sion ap­pears.”

No hu­man cases of lo­cally acquired Lyme dis­ease have been re­ported in this prov­ince, al­though cases have been di­ag­nosed else­where in Canada.

For more in­for­ma­tion on ticks and Lyme dis­ease go to: www. gov. nl. ca/ agric/ an­i­mal_ dis­eases/ or con­tact Dr. Hugh Whit­ney 709-729-6879.

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