Vets warn ticks already found on pets in Peterborough area

Click to play video: 'Early start to tick season in Peterborough area' Early start to tick season in Peterborough area
Vets are issuing a warning that ticks are already making a presence in Peterborough and Northumberland County – Mar 15, 2018

READ MORE: Tick season still in full swing, experts warn

Veterinarians in Peterborough and Northumberland County say ticks are already active in the region.

Although this week’s winter blast doesn’t make it feel like spring, last month’s warm spell helped the tick population grow.

READ MORE: Cobourg woman shares her tick bite experience

“As soon as temperatures hit 4 C we know that ticks are active and they’re looking for a meal,” said Kristy Hiltz, a veterinarian at Sherbrooke Heights Animal Hospital in Peterborough.

Hiltz said some owners are already bringing their tick-infected pets to the vet. The blood-sucking parasites require a host animal to survive and reproduce.

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“Ordinarily it’s fairly easy to see our adult ticks as they become engorged,” she said.

“The challenge is finding them through heavy fur, and finding them when they’re not in the engorged state because they are quite small.”

D.J. Evans at Paulmac’s Pet store in Peteborough says there are a number of treatments available for ticks.

“The spot-on treatments are probably your most effective,” he said. “You put it on the back of the shoulder blades; you part the hair — a little bit on their hind quarters. Each cartridge does 30 days. We have sprays as well, they kill on contact.”

READ MORE: Ticks and Lyme disease prevention tips

Hiltz also advises owners to check themselves for ticks.

“You’re the person who’s walking that dog, so do tick checks on yourself,” she said. “Tucking your pants into your socks, wearing long clothing — these are all things that people can do to reduce the risk to themselves as well.”

Left untreated, Hiltz says ticks can expose people to Lyme disease, which causes chronic pain, fatigue and depression.

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