Pet Tick Diseases

Approximately 35 percent of Canadian households have a dog (6 million dogs) and 38 percent have a cat (8 million cats); and with over 900 varieties of ticks roaming throughout North America, this leaves plenty of opportunity for pets to be bit by ticks. 

Tick Activity

Ticks are most active during the warmer months of the year beginning in March-May. Ticks feed on warm-blooded mammals, such as pets, wildlife and humans) and are often dropped off by white-tailed deer and rodents onto landscapes. Ticks tend to hide in the grass and underneath leaves and logs; which is why most tick bites occur in the yard; on hiking trails; or at the dog park. 

Tick Hiding Spots on Dogs and Cats

Not all ticks carry Lyme Disease; but transmission is possible after 24-48 hours on both pets and humans. This is why we urge pet owners to perform a thorough tick check after doggie play dates or time spent in the backyard. 

Ticks like to hide on dogs and cats in the following areas:

  • In and around ears
  • Toes (more on dogs than on cats)
  • Elbows
  • Underneath the tail
  • Underneath the collar
  • Groin Area

To check for ticks, it's best to groom dogs and cats regularly with a thin comb to catch dwarf ticks, nymphs and larva that are not as visible to the eye.

Pet Lyme Disease

Often, we talk so much about tick bites on humans that we forget about pet tick illnesses. Although dog ticks often transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, dogs and cats are prone to get Lyme Disease. 

The symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs are somewhat similar to that of humans; and include: 

Symptom Of Lyme Disease In Dogs

  • Unsteadiness;
  • Lethargy;
  • Weak muscles;
  • Excessive drooling;
  • Swelling of joints;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Fever

If your active dog is feeling down, uncomfortable, itchy, or weak, he/she may have been bitten by a tick.

Symptom Of Lyme Disease In Cats

Lyme Disease in dogs is more extreme than in cats. Dogs with Lyme Disease may feel the effects for weeks or months with antibiotics; but cats with Lyme Disease will only have lame muscle movements for a few days! Nevertheless, cats can still feel the harmful effects of Lyme Disease. Here are the symptoms of Lyme in cats:

  • Lack of appetite
  • stiff walk and arched back
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weak bones/joints
  • Arthritis

The condition of the skin will determine your cat's overall health and a vet will administer a urinalysis for testing the cat for bacteria, parasites and fungi in the bloodstream. 

How To Remove a Tick

The process for removing a tick on pets is similar to that of humans. Do not pull the tick straight off the pet. Instead, use tick tweezers or a tick remover tool for easy handling; and:

1. Disinfect the area with soap;

2. Pull the tick straight up without bending or twisting the tick;

3. Disinfect the area once more;

Once the tick is completely out