Stittsville is currently included in the high-risk area for ticks and Lyme disease. It is strongly recommended that you (and your pets) take every precaution to avoid ticks and the possibility of contracting Lyme disease. Entomologists have indicated that with the milder winters being experienced over the past decade, allow the ticks to survive the season and they are moving further eastward.
Ontario Public Health recently published a map of the local areas where Lyme Disease is prevalent in the province. You can find the map at this link as well as the 2022 Surveillance Report.
If you do find a tick attached to you or your pet, remove it as soon as possible, but cautiously, by grasping the tick as close to the skin as is possible with tweezers or a tick key. Make every effort to not crush or damage the tick because it could cause the Lyme bacteria to pass into your bloodstream. When removing a tick, pull straight up and do not jerk, wiggle or twist. Contact your doctor or veterinarian if the tick looks engorged or you think it has been attached for a long time, Antibiotics may be prescribed.
Some symptoms to watch for in a human are fever, chills, head-ache, almost flu-like symptoms that are often associated with a red target or bulls-eye shaped rash. Ticks most often attach to a dogs’ or cats’ head, neck and/or ears. Pets who develop lameness, swollen joints, and fever could possibly have Lyme’s Disease and it is advised to get an antibody test at your veterinarian’s office. At times, you may see a tick on you or your pet’s body and not realize it as they can look similar to skin tags.
For pets, there are numerous flea and tick treatments available through your veterinarian or pet store, but many contain afoxolaner – an insecticide and acaricide – that can cause diarrhea and vomiting, and in extreme cases death. The treatments can come in chewable tablet form or a topical cream used on the back of the pet’s neck to decrease the chance of licking it off. As a pet owner, you should weigh the pros and cons of tick, flea and mosquito medications versus the illnesses that these bugs can cause. There are other options as well.
There is a new product on the market that we recently heard about called Tickless: Ultrasonic Tick and Flea Repeller and is battery operated. It looks like a dog tag and emits an ultrasonic sound not heard by your pet or a human’s ear. Fleas and ticks are prevented from landing on your pet.
You can also prepare a homemade mixture, in equal parts, of cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, myrrh and witch hazel that you can spray on your hands and apply to a pet’s fur or your legs and arms, preventing ticks and fleas from attaching to you or your pet. And, of course, there is always Avon’s Skin So Soft or a good bug repellent to keep the mosquitoes away.