Last year the vet hospital at the Hurontario Veterinary Hospital saw an increase in the prevalence of ticks attached to our four-legged friends. The four most common types of ticks that we see in Mississauga are:
1. The Blacklegged tick formerly called the “Deer tick” (Ixodes scapularis), is the most common tick found in the early spring in Mississauga. The preferred host of the adult tick is the white-tailed deer, but they will also feed on other large mammals. Humans are at risk from all life stages of the blacklegged tick. The black legged tick is the most important vector of Lyme disease.
2. The Groundhog tick (Ixodes cookei), is typically out in the late spring. According to the “Pest Diagnostic Clinic” Laboratory Services Division, University of Guelph this is the most common tick found on humans and pets in Ontario. The adult tick typically feeds on rodents, and small to medium-sized animals, but will also feed on humans. An extremely rare disease called Powassan encephalitis can be transmitted by this tick.
3. The American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) is also typically found in the late spring. Life-cycle length ranges from 3 months to 2 years. The preferred host of the adult tick is the dog, but it will feed on other large mammals including humans. American dog ticks are known to transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and tick paralysis.
4. The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) is occasionally seen in Mississauga. Life-cycle length ranges from 6 weeks to 1 year. All developmental stages of this tick feed on dogs and can transmit several different canine diseases including, canine ehrlichiosis, canine piroplasmosis and canine babesia. This tick is not threat to humans.
The Life-Cycle of a Tick: Adults mate and feed on host > Female lays eggs > Eggs hatch to larvae > Larvae feed on host > Larvae leave host and molt to nymphs > Nymphs feed on host > Nymphs leave host and molt to adults
Tick prevention is available. The Hurontario Veterinary Hospital is currently recommending a product called “Defend”, a strong insecticide for dogs at high risk of exposure to ticks. This product is toxic to cats.
For further information on ticks, and tick-borne diseases please visit www.dogsandticks.com and http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/id-mi/lyme-fs-eng.php a Canadian Govt. web site. Please let us know if you have any questions and if you susspect there is a tick on your pet call the Hurontario Veterinary Hospital an animal hospital in Mississauga.
1424 HURONTARIOt ST., MISSISSAUGA, ONT. L5G 3H4 TEL (905) 271 8508 FAX (905) 271 7621 www.hurontariovet.ca