Tick-Borne Disease Updates

Tick-Borne Disease Updates

deer tick2

Deer Tick/ Black-Legged Tick (Ixodes scapularis)

According to experts, the GTA is considered a moderate to high risk area when it comes to potential tick exposure. And with obvious climate changes, we’re experiencing temperatures that are more tick-friendlier than ever (seriously… we may as well start inviting them over for Sunday brunch)! To those who haven’t heard about tick-borne diseases and the risks they pose on both our dogs and ourselves, you must check out our previous blog here. Public Health and the media have done a fantastic job at scaring the public about ticks and the threat of Lyme disease. And, of course, Lyme disease is a real threat, especially since diagnosing a Lyme-positive patient at our clinic isn’t uncommon

american dog tick

Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

But, to add to your tick-themed nightmares, there is a new, exotic bacterium in town. Ehrlichia is a bacterium that causes Ehrlichiosis, an infection that shares some of the same signs as Lyme disease. If that weren’t enough to scare you, Ehrlichia can also progress to bone marrow failure, which can cause death in untreated cases. The disease is spread mostly by the brown dog tick (or for you nerds out there, the Rhipicephalus sanguineus species) but can also be spread by other tick species. The brown dog tick is mostly concentrated in the United States, however, two of the Ehrlichia-positive patients from our clinic did not travel when they became infected, suggesting this species of ticks are making a home in Ontario. We’re not happy about it either! Unlike the deer ticks that transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, the brown dog tick doesn’t mind to break and enter, so will invade your home and dog kennels. So what can we do to protect our precious, furry family members? Tick prevention! The Centre for Disease Control is urging the public to keep their dogs on a tick prevention to protect themselves and their pets. For further tips on how to keep you and your pets tick-free, please visit the CDC website here.


For more information about tick-endemic areas and maps across Canada, please visit this website. For those of you who need more information on how to identify different species of ticks, please visit this website. Thanks to widespread media coverage on Lyme disease, we are seeing more dog owners very serious about protecting their pets with prevention. Keep up the good work! Give us a call today to discuss ongoing tick prevention for your furry family members!

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