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March is National Tick Awareness Month

What is National Tick Awareness Month?

This initiative, led by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and in partnership with Merck Animal Health, helps shed light on tick behavior and risks and the importance of tick seasonality in initiating parasite control for pets.

Ticks, which can transmit illnesses such as Lyme disease, can now be found in many areas throughout Canada. Yet, despite an increase in public awareness, many people don’t know one very important fact about ticks: they don’t mind cold weather.

What is a tick?

They are arachnids, relatives of spiders, mites and scorpions. They crawl (not jump or fly), and they survive by feeding on the blood of animals and humans. They come in all sizes, and are barely visible at times.

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Why March?

Ticks are looking for a blood meal when outdoor temperatures reach 4oC. In many parts of Canada, this can occur very early in the spring or even on warmer days during traditionally cold months — well before many pet owners have even started to think about parasite control.

There’s no denying the fact that concern about ticks is growing. People are finding more ticks on their pets — and themselves. Reported cases of Lyme disease are more frequent. Ticks are a hot topic around the dog park, in the news, and on social media. Waiting for the arrival of warm weather before initiating parasite protection leaves pets vulnerable to ticks.

Since the best time to start protecting pets against ticks is before exposure, March is the ideal time for National Tick Awareness Month.How to Check for Ticks on your Pet, according to Tick Talk Canada

Step 1: starting at your pet’s head, use your fingers like a comb and run your hands over your pet’s body. You are feeling for lumps or bumps you previously did not notice. Make sure to check under your pet’s collar, inside the groin area, and under your pet’s front legs. It’s also important to examine under your pet’s tail and between their toes.

Step 2: Check your pet’s ear thoroughly looking inside and out.

If you find a tick, the easiest and safest way to remove it is by grasping as close to the skin with fine-tipped tweezers and pulling it straight out. Call your vet if you need help.

Where can I find the National Tick Awareness Month educational resources?

New in 2019, the website has been created to provide pet owners with a credible online resource to find out more about ticks, and to encourage pet owners to continue the tick control conversation with their veterinarian. This website shares tick facts, a video series addressing 12 common questions regarding ticks in Canada, and links to other resources for additional information.

Together, veterinary teams and pet owners can partner to insure pets are protected from ticks and the diseases they carry.

SOURCE: Canadian Animal Health Institute

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