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May is quickly approaching, which means our 8 legged friends are back! April is tick awareness month at Ardrossan Veterinary Clinic. Not sure if your pet should be on a tick preventative? Read on to learn more or contact the clinic.

Ticks in Alberta:

Ticks are spider like arachnids that will attach themselves to skin and feed off blood from people and animals. Tick season in Alberta begins when the outdoor temperature rises above 4 degrees Celsius. Annually in Alberta, at least 2000 ticks are removed from pets and voluntarily submitted to Alberta Health Services for testing. This is only a portion of the ticks actually found on pets.

The concern is, the tick can transmit disease to the pet when it bites, including Lyme disease. The longer that the tick is attached, the higher the risk of transmission. Lyme disease can start with a red rash around the bite mark (do not assume all rashes indicate Lyme disease, as there are many other causes - contact us if you have concerns). It can lead to serious infections in the skin, joints, muscles, heart and nervous system. A small percentage of ticks carry Lyme disease, but without testing the tick, this is unknown and consequences of an infection can be very serious.

Is your pet at risk? Here is a checklist of areas or activities that increase your pet’s risk of encountering a tick (keep in mind this list is not all inclusive):

  • Wooded areas
  • Tall, grassy spots
  • Dog parks
  • Ponds, sloughs, lakes
  • Acreages/farms
  • Trails/hikes
  • Camping
  • Out of province travel
  • Wildlife corridors/wildlife nearby (deer, moose, migrating birds)

If you find a tick that is attached to your pet, it can be removed if you are comfortable doing so:

  • Using tweezers, gently grasp its head as close to the skin as possible
  • Without squeezing the tick, slowly pull it straight off the skin - do not jerk or twist it
  • Do not apply matches, cigarettes or petroleum jelly to the tick
  • Once the tick has been removed, clean the area with soap and water
  • Save the tick in a clean, empty container. Do not add ventilation holes. Add a small piece of moist gauze or cotton ball to the container. 
  • Submit the tick for testing ASAP.

For information on how to submit a tick follow this link or contact us:


Tick Prevention:

Avoiding wooded, tall grassy areas can reduce the likelihood of a tick encounter, however this is not a guarantee. Ticks have been found inside city limits as well. The best way to protect your pet is to ask us about prescription preventative measures. At Ardrossan Veterinary Clinic, we use a monthly beef flavoured chew. This tasty treat is easy to administer and very safe. It also protects your pet against fleas, mites, lice, heartworm and several internal parasites. We do not typically advise topical treatments or over the counter products. Their efficacy is not always proven, and they do not have to adhere to the same safety parameters as prescription counterparts.

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