What is a tick?
A tick is an Arachnida, which means that they are related to spiders. Ticks carry many diseases that are harmful to our pets and to our own health. All of the diseases that are included in this blog are ones we test for on a regular basis. We offer a test called 4DX that also includes heartworm test. Ticks are carried by ANY warm-blooded animal and are actively hunting for meals at four degrees Celsius and higher. Ticks generally begin feeding about 24 hours after attaching themselves to a host.
Ehrlichia is commonly carried by the brown dog tick which is common in Ontario (even in Cities) and the lone star tick which is mainly found in the states. However, the lone star tick is making its way up into Ontario due to the warmer weather that we are getting.
This disease affects the production of the white blood cells in the body. Each host that a tick feeds on can react a different way. Some will show no signs of illness, while others could have all or only a few of the common symptoms listed below (but are not limited to):
- lethargy (lack of energy)
- decreased appetite or refusal to eat
- abnormal discharge from nose and eyes
- bloody nose, bruising, limping/sore joints
Ehrlichia is a disease that affects both animals and humans, which is classified as a zoonotic disease.
Lyme (Borrelia Burgdorferi)
Lyme disease has been in the news more and more this year. This is because with the warmer weather the spread of the ticks that primarily carry this disease, (deer tick and western black-legged tick), are able to use their meal ticket to travel more and have longer feeding seasons.
This has been a common problem in Ontario including in the cities and rural areas.
Listed below are some common symptoms, however, each could experience different symptoms that are not listed below;
- shifting lameness
- lethargy (lack of energy)
- target rash at the site of the tick bite
Anaplasma Phagocyctophilum/ Platys
Anaplasma is the last disease included in the 4dx blood test. This disease is commonly carried by the same ticks that commonly carry Lyme disease and the brown tick. (deer tick and western black-legged tick). These ticks are found throughout Canada, including Ontario, and the United States. The Phagocyctophilum strain of this disease primarily affects the white blood cells, whereas the Platys strain affects primarily the platelets.
Some common symptoms include the following; however these are only the common signs and some individual may experience other symptoms not listed;
- anorexia (decreased eating or not eating)
- neurologic signs possible, examples could include but are not limited to bruising/nosebleeds
Anaplasma, like the two previously mentioned diseases carried by ticks, is also able to be transited to both animals and humans from infected ticks.
If you are concerned about ticks in your area or if you are concerned about your pet please contact us at 905-855- 2100.
Written by Kate, RVT