'They were pretty much everywhere': This Cambridge couple pulled more than a dozen ticks off their dog

'They were pretty much everywhere': This Cambridge couple pulled more than a dozen ticks off their dog
'They were pretty much everywhere': This Cambridge couple pulled more than a dozen ticks off their dog

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الأربعاء 15 مايو 2024 07:45 صباحاً

Hike up your socks and check your pets — tick season is already in full force.

Rob and Kathy Bull of Cambridge, Ont., are warning others to check themselves and their pets. They took to social media last Wednesday to post a video of nearly 20 ticks creeping around in a green vial. They had picked the ticks off their four-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Roxy after a short walk through Dumfries Conservation Area.

"Mostly her abdomen, but there were a few in her beard, a couple on the top of her head, behind her ears, shoulders. They were pretty much everywhere," Rob Bull said of where they found the ticks.

The trail Rob Bull took Roxy on is a clear-cut gravel trail spanning a total distance of approximately 1 km.

"She's a Jack Russell, so she's faced down sniffing everything, always. And of course she's not that tall, so you know, it's hard to keep her on the path," he said. "But she did not wander off into the deep, deep grass or anything like that."

Luckily for Roxy, the ticks were identified as being dog ticks, not their Lyme-disease-producing cousin, the black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick.

The path Roxy walked through Dumfries Conservation Area was all gravel, but that didn't stop the ticks from latching onto her.

The path Roxy walked through Dumfries Conservation Area was all gravel, but that didn't stop the ticks from latching onto her.

The path Roxy walked through Dumfries Conservation Area was all gravel, but that didn't stop the ticks from latching onto her. (Cameron Mahler/CBC)

Rob Bull removed a good portion of them by hand, but had to use a tick removal tool to get the rest.

"They weren't attached, thankfully, because it just happened," Kathy Bull added.

"We got tick and flea medication for her, but I had laxed on giving it to her," she said. "And I've spoken to a lot of other people, they've also forgotten."

Season of the ticks

One of those people who sometimes forgets is Katie Clow.

"You know, I'm a veterinarian and a tick expert, and I need reminders to make sure that my dog gets it," she said.

Clow is also an associate professor at the University of Guelph and a tick and tick-borne disease expert.

The Bulls, along with many online, are under the impression that Waterloo region's warm winter has caused local tick populations to thrive, but that's not entirely true.

Clow said that ticks can survive mostly any winter by living under the brush layer. The increased population comes from a mixture of a couple things, including the fact that people are just more aware of them.

"Tick populations are creeping north and each year we find new places where they've established. And so it's a combination of factors," she said.

"Certainly we do have better awareness, which is great, but it's also that our ticks are just getting worse."

Rob Bull said he removed the majority of Roxy's ticks by hand, but needed to use a tick removal device to remove some.

Rob Bull said he removed the majority of Roxy's ticks by hand, but needed to use a tick removal device to remove some.

Rob Bull said he removed the majority of Roxy's ticks by hand, but needed to use a tick removal device to remove some. (Cameron Mahler/CBC)

Check for ticks

A release from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health says people who are bitten by ticks should carefully remove the ticks, photograph it, and upload it to their online submission page, or the province's website, etick.ca.

Once uploaded, the tick can be identified and next steps are recommended.

Clow also offered a few ways to ensure the safety of you and your pets. The number one thing people can do, she said: "Doing good tick checks when you come back in from tick habitat."

These habitats are typically the tall grass and brushy areas. Ticks like to climb up to the tops of the vegetation and lay in wait, preparing to latch onto whichever host may brush by.

"Searching all over your pet, particularly head and ears is a really commonplace because that's where they're sniffing and sticking their head into tick habitats," Clow said.

"We want to get them before they attach or really quickly after they attach."

That doesn't mean people have to stay indoors, though.

"We have so many beautiful areas, but as much as possible, staying to marked paths, well groomed areas away from the brush and grass and forest," she said.

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