Sunday, January 17, 2015
SPCA tips to keep ticks off your
Tricia Leslie, BC SPCA Vancouver
of pet guardians are used to checking their companion animals for ticks in
the summertime, particularly after camping or hiking in British Columbia’s
But it’s just as
important to check them in the winter months, says BC SPCA Kamloops
and District Branch animal care attendant Valerie Wilson, a fact
highlighted by a cat who came into the Kamloops shelter as a stray –
along with nine live ticks.
“It’s not just dogs who are susceptible, and it’s not just in the
summer,” Wilson says. “We discovered and removed nine living ticks
from the cat, who earned the name Ticker, during his initial exam.
We believe he was living in a chicken coop, and I guess it just
hasn’t been cold enough to kill them off.”
Ticks are external parasites that feed off the blood of unlucky
hosts, including humans, dogs and cats. Tick bites and tickborne
diseases, such as Lyme disease, can be hard to detect, and signs of
tickborne disease may not appear for seven to 21 days or longer
after a tick bite, notes veterinarian and BC SPCA senior manager of
animal health Dr. Emilia Gordon.
“Watch your pet closely for changes in behaviour or appetite or for
any unusual illness such as fever, lameness, lethargy, bruising or
bleeding if you suspect he’s been bitten by a tick,” Gordon says.
“It’s also important to properly remove the tick, or to have it
properly removed, to help prevent any disease or infection.”
Steps pet guardians can take include:
• Check your pets daily for ticks, especially if they spend time
• If you find a tick on your pet, remove it or have it removed by
your veterinarian right away
• Ask your vet to conduct a tick check at each exam
• Talk to your vet about tickborne diseases in your area
• Reduce tick habitat in your yard
• Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventatives on your
Ticker, who is on a course of antibiotics as a preventative measure
and awaiting neuter surgery, is available for adoption in Kamloops
and is now, of course, tick-free.
Other parasites, such as fleas and lice, can also be problematic for
pets and humans if not properly addressed, Wilson adds.
“Unlike lice, which are species-specific, fleas and ticks don’t
discriminate – they’ll latch onto anything with a heartbeat.”
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