We posted this photo on our Facebook page and asked our friends to guess what it is. We had one correct entry. This is an engorged tick on a dog. Tick season peaks in spring and fall so now is tick season. Pets can pick up ticks almost anywhere outdoors. We have clients, right here in Elmira, who find several ticks on their dog every spring, often as early as March. This pet spends most of its time in their yard and this is where he is getting ticks. It doesn’t take a trip north or an off road adventure to find these tiny monsters. Ticks attach to pets, and people, with their mouth apparatus and feed on their host’s blood. It can take a week for a tick to fill up and when full they let go and drop off. When empty they are quite tiny but when engorged with blood they can more than triple in size. This is usually when they are noticed but by this time they have already been on the pet for a week. Depending on the colour and length of your pet’s fur you may never see the attached tick. The tick’s bite is not a concern but they can transmit organisms that cause serious illness in pets and people. An example of such a disease is Lyme disease. There are currently no tick repellents or killers that will get rid of the parasite fast enough to prevent it transmitting disease. If you find a tick on your pet we can help you remove it and we can send it for testing to determine if it is a carrier of any infectious organisms. If you are unsure about your pet and exposure to ticks we have an in-clinic test that can be done on a very small blood sample which will tell us if your pet has been exposed to 3 of the most common tick transmitted diseases.
Search under Pet Health for more information about ticks and pets or go to the link below.