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Lyme Disease and Deer Ticks- Prevention and Background from the Main West Animal Hospital Welland

April 5, 2012

In keeping with our recent series on ticks we will discuss the most concerning tick for dogs in Welland. In the past few years our animal hospital in Welland has seen a substantial increase in the number of Deer Ticks (Black Legged Ticks) we have found on dogs and cats.  Deer ticks were quite rare in Niagara a decade ago but now our veterinarians are finding them with considerable frequency.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed we have populations of these ticks in the Wainfleet bog and surrounding areas of Port Colborne and south Welland.  Our veterinary clinic has definitely seen these ticks come in on dogs from other parts of the Niagara Region as well.

The Deer Tick, known scientifically as  Ixodes Scapularis   is smaller than its cousin the American dog tick. It can be differentiated by its size and by looking at the markings on its back.  The Deer Tick has a solid dark (brown/black) spot on the top whereas the Dog tick has an ornate patter of white/brown.

The pictures below are here to help illustrate the difference.  American Dog Tick on Left, Deer Tick on Right.









The major concern with Deer ticks is their ability to transmit Lyme disease to pets and people.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria   Borrelia burgdorferi . A growing bull’s eye rash centred at the site of the bite is an important first symptom of Lyme disease. This can be difficult to spot on our pets due to their thick coats.  Symptoms of the disease include Lethargy, poor appetite, stiffness in the muscles, joints, or the neck, fever or swollen glands. In more severe cases later symptoms include skin rashes, arthritis, neurological disorders and heart disease.

If you have trouble identifying or removing ticks from your pets contact us at the Main West Animal Hospital in Welland.  Our veterinary hospital in Welland is conveniently located a short drive away from Port Colborne, Pelham, Fenwick, Fort Erie and Niagara Falls.  Our veterinarians would be happy to discuss which tick prevention products will work best for your pet so that they can stay safe and healthy.