A U.K. mom claims her dog — and home — was covered in ticks after taking him out for a walk.
“After discovering a tick burrowing into my leg at the weekend, we checked the dog to find nothing,” she told the site. “Within just days, the dog and the house where riddled with them. We’ve had to get pest control in and today, Justin had 85 removed from him under sedation at the vet’s.”
She adds both she and Justin are currently being treated for Lyme disease and as a warning to others, she is hoping people check their pets for ticks.
“This week has been an education but wish I knew more about it beforehand so please take the time to know the facts on how to remove them and what to look for,” she continued. “More importantly, don’t just use treatment for fleas but ticks too.”
Ticks in Canada
Experts add there are more ticks in more parts of Canada this season, which could lead to more cases of Lyme disease.
Robbin Lindsay, a research scientist with the Public Health Agency of Canada who specializes in ticks, adds 20 per cent of blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital, says ticks that transmit Lyme disease tend to live in grassland and some forested areas.
“It is currently unclear what the exact boundaries are for ticks that carry Lyme disease in Canada, but this is likely a moving target. The Public Health Agency of Canada and Provincial Laboratories are conducting broad surveillance activities,” he explains to Global News.
A previous report from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Baltimore notes having a dog or cat can double the odds of humans catching ticks themselves.
“Pets can bring these parasites into the human environment, especially if they sit on couches or sleep in beds with owners,” researchers noted.
Bogoch adds dogs may pick up ticks running or walking in grassland and forested areas, and dogs can get infected from tick bites.
“While dogs cannot directly transmit Lyme disease to humans, infected ticks that may be hitching a ride on a dog can certainly bite a human and transmit Lyme disease to the human host,” he continues.
According to the Weather Network, pet owners should also note that ticks can also cause fevers, lethargy, kidney damage, and inflammation of the joints in pets. Other diseases include rocky mountain spotted fever and the Ehrlichia bacteria.
“After returning from outside, it is important to do a head-to-toe tick check on pets and humans to look for ticks, and if found, to remove them as soon if possible,” Bogoch explains.
READ MORE: Ticks season has started: what is your risk?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also notes you should also reduce tick habitats in your home: remove leaf litter, clear tall grasses and mow the lawn frequently.
“It is a good idea to speak with a veterinarian to discuss Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment in pets if a tick is found,” Bogoch says.
— With files from Leslie Young