‘Tis the season again in Kingston, ON and area, for those nasty little travelers that like to catch a ride on our furry friends when we are out for a nice nature walk. That’s right… tick season! I know most of you wouldn’t think the season ever ended, but ticks actually have “blooms” where they are seen primarily in the spring and fall.

Over the past few years in our area, the prevalence of ticks has grown dramatically!

Since we are seeing more ticks than ever before, so too are we seeing more Lyme Disease! Not all ticks carry the disease, but we have seen numerous positive cases here at Princess Animal Hospital this year alone.

In a chart sent to hospitals in Ontario from our reference laboratory, Kingston was listed as the city with the highest number of lyme-positive cases in 2012 (not a scenario where you want to be #1!). Kingston, ON had 148 reported positives, compared to anywhere between 0-59 cases in other cities. The majority was less than 10.

If you frequent certain areas in town such as Lemoine’s Point and the trails on Collin’s Bay Road, you need to be aware of the threat of ticks attaching to you and your pet.

There are a few things that will help prevent the transmission of Lyme disease to your dog:

  1. After a walk with “Max” through long grass, wooded areas and parks – be sure to do a thorough exam of his coat and skin (as well as yourself!). You may be able to see the tick still in “Max’s fur, before it has had a chance to attach to his skin. A good brushing, will also help to pull any ticks from his coat.
  2. Avoid letting “Max” walk off the trails whenever possible. I know it is way more fun for him to play in the long grass, sniffing out little critters and picking up the scent from other friends that are playing in the area – but the long grass is generally where ticks are living.
  3. At the beginning of the spring, we always recommend starting flea and heartworm prevention. We are now strongly suggesting you start “Max” on a tick product as well to help in preventing the ticks from attaching to “Max”, and again possibly passing on Lyme disease. Please ask your friendly veterinarian or technician at Princess Animal Hospital, about getting Max his supply for the season.
  4. With Max’s annual examination and vaccines, we will discuss Max’s lifestyle with you. This allows us to determine which of our non-standard vaccines are appropriate for “Max”. One of these vaccines, is for Lyme Disease. If it has not been given to “Max” at his last annual visit, be sure to let us know if you are interested in it.
  5. Lyme exposure blood testing should be done on an annual basis.

Prevention is key. But, even with the best safety measures – some dogs may, unfortunately, contract the disease.

Here are some symptoms for you to look for:

  1. The most common sign we see in dogs with Lyme Disease is recurrent lameness of their limbs, due to inflammation of the joints. Some though, may develop lameness that lasts for only three to four days but recurs with lameness in the same leg or in a different leg. This is referred to as “shifting-leg lameness”.
  2. Fever
  3. Lack of appetite
  4. Depression
  5. Stiff walk
  6. Sensitive to touch

If left untreated, Lyme Disease can cause kidney failure. Thankfully, we can treat this disease and can keep your pet healthy!

Please contact us at Princess Animal Hospital if you wish to get more information on testing, prevention and treatment of Lyme Disease.  Call 613-634-7123, or email us a pah@princessanimalhospital.com, or drop by!

Happy trails…

Alison, RVT