Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of animals, like cats and dogs, and, they are active on Vancouver Island. Ticks are concerning because they’re known to carry diseases that can cause significant harm to your pet’s health and well-being. At Puppy Love Pet Care, we want to share information about ticks to help pet owners become aware of ticks and their potential threat to our animals.
Why worry about ticks?
Ticks are cause for concern to pet owners because they can infect our four-legged friends with serious illnesses, like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Ticks favor living in wooded areas and locations where long grasses grow. That kind of describes almost everywhere in the Greater Victoria Area! Additionally, ticks are concerning because they are active year-round on Vancouver Island. At our rural, 5-acre location we don’t have the deep-freeze-like winter conditions required to reduce tick activity in the winter months.
If your pet spends time outside, be it romping in the woods or just strolling politely beside you, be aware of the signs of the common symptoms associated with tick bites. If your pet begins to exhibit the following symptoms, they may be suffering from the effects of a tick bite:
Has your pet had a recent decrease in energy? Animals that have been bitten by a tick commonly experience a drop in energy. If your animal’s energy shifts from his/her average energy level to a less intense, or lethargic state, it could be due to a tick bite.
Changes in Mobility
Sudden changes in mobility, or even lameness, is an indication your pet has become infected with Lyme disease from an infected tick. Joint pain caused by inflammation occurring from a tick bite can easily change your pet’s ability to move comfortably, resulting in changes in their mobility. In critical situations, the discomfort may be so high that the affected area appears lame.
Of great concern to us at Puppy Love Pet Care, is the spread of ticks that carry Borrelia burgdorferi, also known as Lyme disease. It is a serious condition, and if left untreated, “can affect joints, the heart, and the nervous system.” Its presence is relatively new on Vancouver Island, few cases have been reported, but the potential for it to become problematic is significant.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea are indicators of many different illnesses common in pets, not just tick bites. But, if your pet has unexplained vomiting and diarrhea coupled with recent exposure to tick-prevalent areas, it could be symptoms of a tick bite.
If you’re unsure of the cause behind your pet’s upset tummy, consider if they could have been exposed to a tick-infested area recently. Has your pet been on wooded trails within the past week? Have they played with other animals who could have been carrying a tick? Are there long grasses or dense vegetation in your pet’s play space?
Lack of Appetite
Pet owners usually know something serious is going on with their pets if their animal is refusing to eat. If your furry friend turns his nose up at his favorite treat instead of begging you for more, your veterinarian should be consulted. It’s best to find out the cause of their lack of appetite and also rule out tick bite as the cause.
If a bite mark is not found on the skin of your pet, don’t be quick to rule out the possibility of a tick bite just yet. Tick bites on pets can be challenging to spot because of their long and thick fur. As well, symptoms of a tick bite can surface up to 21 days after they have bitten their host. The best way to determine if your pet is bitten by a tick is to take them to your veterinarian; have the trained professionals examine them thoroughly.
Some ticks can release a toxin into their host that can actually cause paralysis. Fortunately, the paralysis is temporary. Once the infected tick has been removed from the animal, the effects of the paralytic agent should slowly wear off.
Dog paralysis from ticks is associated with the females of the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick. Paralysis can be fatal if the neurotoxin reaches the lungs and diaphragm of the animal. The effects of tick paralysis begin to wear off within hours of the infected tick being removed from the dog. It’s not believed to be present on Vancouver Island, where we offer our cat and dog boarding services, but if taking your trip to the interior of BC, be aware that it may be present.
What do you do if you find a tick on your pet?
The easiest way to find out your pet has been bitten by a tick is if you find a tick on them! Ticks are small and can be especially hard to spot if your pet has long hair or thick fur. If you see a tick on your pet’s fur or embedded in their skin, follow the recommended steps to remove the tick safely:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool.
- Carefully grip the tick around its body, as close to the head as possible.
- Gently pull upward until the tick is removed.
- Check the bite mark and see if any of the tick’s head is left in. If left in, contact your veterinarian for help. The tick’s head is where disease or toxin is introduced into your pet’s system; therefore, it must be removed.
Puppy Love Pet Care and Pet Health
When our furry companions aren’t feeling well, it can be challenging to determine what is causing their discontent. It’s also tricky to know what steps we should take to help them get back to their best selves. At Puppy Love Pet Care, we want all our clients to be well-informed on pet care best practices. We also practice what we preach! When we care for our client’s animals we provide only top-quality services to all our furry clients (and their two-legged owners too)!
Looking for the best kennel for your furry friend? We’d love to show you and your pet our facilities here at Puppy Love and show you what makes us stand out amongst others in Victoria and the surrounding area. Give us a call at 1-250-652-2301 any time of the week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started. Better yet, simply drop by with your dog or cat and we’ll happily give you a tour. We love visitors!