It’s already tick season
Wanted: Dead or alive. Ticks. While everyone welcomes the return of warmer weather, there is a negative side-effect to the arrival of spring -- little blood suckers have returned.
Since information is power, area veterinarians are joining the Ontario Veterinary College in collecting data on ticks and the incidence of Lyme disease in Eastern Ontario.
Glengarry Animal Hospital in Alexandria is among the clinics participating in the Canadian Pet Tick Survey. If a tick is found on a pet, the owner is asked to bring the parasite, dead or alive, to the animal hospital. It will then be sent to the veterinary college in Guelph for analysis.
Pet owners are also asked to complete an information sheet, detailing the specifics of the encounter with the tick.
In an effort to ward off the hazards posed by blacklegged ticks, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is launching an awareness campaign.
The health unit is offering free tick removal cards to local residents. The cards can make removing ticks that are attached to the skin easier, and can be carried in a pocket.
The EOHU is also cautioning residents that populations of blacklegged ticks, which can spread Lyme disease to humans, are growing in locations across the five eastern counties.
The counties of Stormont-DundasGlengarry and Prescott-Russell have been known risk areas, where blacklegged ticks have been identified and where individuals have the potential to come into contact with infected ticks. Visit www.eohu.ca/lyme to view Ontario’s risk area map.
The ticks may be carrying Lyme disease, a serious illness.
The risk of Lyme disease transmission from a tick to a human is very low if the tick is attached for less than 24 hours, however that risk climbs if an infected tick is attached for more than a day.
“It’s important to contact your health care
provider if you believe a tick was attached for more than 24 hours or if you develop flu-like symptoms or an expanding rash in the weeks following a tick bite,” warns Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis. “If Lyme infection isn’t recognized and treated, symptoms can last from months to years and include serious health problems affecting the heart, nervous system or joints.” Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and joint pains, stiff neck, decreased appetite, fatigue, swollen glands and rash.
Ticks are most active in the spring and summer months but can be found at any time of the year when the temperature is above freezing, usually in woodlands, tall grasses and bushes.
There are measures you can take to discourage the presence of ticks around your home and to keep ticks off you, your family and your pets. For more information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from ticks and Lyme disease, visit www.eohu.ca/lyme
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