Lyme disease: Misconceptions about ticks

May 25, 2020

Watch out for blacklegged ticks! They can transmit Lyme disease to your dog and turn your joyful adventure into a nightmare.

Many dog owners wrongly believe that Lyme disease isn’t a risk for their animal. General lack of knowledge and misinformation can lead people to neglect important preventive measures. The fact is: just like humans, companion animals can be affected by the disease and develop serious complications. To help demystify this potent threat, read the 3 following scenarios and decide whether they are dangerous or not.


The setting
It’s a sunny December day and you put on your hiking boots for a pleasant walk with your 4-legged companion. The trails are clear and the mercury rises to 5°C. Because it’s relatively cold, you have peace of mind, believing that your animal is not at risk of being bitten by a tick.

True or False?
Ticks are only active from spring through autumn.

False. Even though ticks are more common from spring to autumn, they’re active when temperatures range between 4°C and 20°C. Veterinarians have noticed a rising number of tick bites during winter, notably in Southern Quebec and Ontario. According to some experts this increasingly common trend reflects global warming. That’s why many veterinarians prescribe medications and repellent products against ticks all year long.


The setting
You want to make the most of a balmy spring day to take a walk in your local park. You don’t see the need to administer an anti-tick product because you live in the heart of the city.

True or false?
Ticks are only found in forests.

False. You’re more likely to encounter ticks in forests or woods. But they can, however, thrive in long grass, hedges and bushes around parks and gardens. In short, your animal can be bitten by a tick and contract Lyme disease in the city.


The setting
You’ve just got back from a long walk in the forest with your friends and your dog (who had a blast running around in tall grass and leaves). You groom your dog with a fine-toothed comb to detect the presence of any ticks. You carefully inspect your dog’s body—from groin to underarms to ears. Your friends can hardly believe it, but you also closely inspect in between your dog’s toes! Everyone tells you, however, that you should focus on your dog’s body and head.

True or false?
Ticks can hide in the most unexpected places.

True. These mites love nothing more than to latch onto moist, warm locations. And while some of these places, like in between toes, can be hard to reach, once they’re safely lodged in, ticks love them even more. They can also hide in your dog’s ears and around their jowls—choice real estate for a tick which really appreciates the high density of blood vessels found there.

To prevent your dog from contracting Lyme disease, it’s best to take precautions. Several antiparasitic products, which help limit the risk of transmission, are available. To find out more about this disease, how to treat it and prevent it in animals, read this article.


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