Beware of ticks, active even in winter

Beware of ticks, active even in winter

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March is National Tick Awareness Month. So why do this in March when there is still snow? Simply because this is the time when ticks become more active in most parts of Canada. And also, because these little bugs transmit various diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. Eh yes ! Even in winter…

If you thought winter fixed all sorts of bugs then think again… Blacklegged ticks can survive winter! They survive the winter, protected under snow, under a carpet of leaves or in brush.

Four degrees Celsius

We are talking here about these famous ticks that can transmit Lyme disease. Although they fall into a resting phase when the temperatures are very cold, oh horror, the blacklegged ticks become active again as soon as it is 4 °C or more, even if there is snow on the ground.

Ticks are therefore not only a risk in mild summer weather as one might have imagined. Now we have to think from a “thermometer” point of view. and not from a “calendar” point of view with ticks.

You can also visit TickMaps (www.tickmaps.ca/) to see the level of tick activity expected in your area each day. 

Here, at home for example, I can see that it will be a little above 4°C this weekend, because the site indicates an increase in tick activity on Saturday and Sunday March 11 and 12, in my hometown in Saint-Bruno. 

Consulting this site or, becoming aware of the fact that ticks are active as soon as it is 4 °C, will allow you to be vigilant and protect your pets, even during the winter.

Protect your pet longer every year

In the past (a very recent past all the same), Quebec veterinarians recommended protection against ticks for dogs during the summer season. We tended to treat monthly, preventively, from June to November. However, we are somewhere else now. 

Thinking “thermometer ” not “calendar” means that we have to protect our animals against ticks for longer, depending on the region where we live. 

For example, a pest control product that works against ticks should be administered before tick activity begins in your area. Check with your veterinarian.

Another thing changed in our ways. It is also necessary to protect the cats which go outside and not only the dogs, because the ticks also like the cats. 

Cats are particularly resistant to Lyme disease, but blacklegged ticks, as well as other ticks established in our regions, can transmit other pathogens to felines. They should therefore be protected if they spend time outdoors.

About National Awareness Month

This is an awareness initiative launched in 2016 by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) in collaboration with Merck Animal Health (www.veterinariansaucanada.net/practice-economics/practice-tools-national-tick-awareness-month).&nbsp ;

The rapid rise in the country of the blacklegged tick (aka the deer tick), this famous tick which can transmit Lyme disease to humans and dogs by its bite during a blood meal, is simply amazing. 

As the CVMA reports: “In just a few short years, these parasites have gone from relative obscurity to mainstream news.”  ;

To a large extent linked to climate change, the increase in the quantity of ticks present in Canada is unfortunately here to stay. It is therefore worth getting informed to better protect ourselves and our animals. 

Speaking of getting informed, do you know the Tique Toc website (TiqueTocCanada.com)? It is a Canadian and French educational site for pet owners that contains a series of texts and short educational videos that answer many questions about ticks. Do not hesitate to consult it to learn more.