The tick population in Ontario is steadily increasing and Mississauga is considered an estimated risk area. With the warm weather here to stay, it’s important to check yourself and pets regularly for ticks.
A tick is a small, blood sucking parasite closely related to a spider. Ticks are crawlers. They don’t jump or fly but quietly wait on long grass or branches to crawl on an unsuspecting person or animal to bite. It is that painless bite that can lead to health concerns for you and your pet. Ticks are often hard to see because they are less than 3 mm or as small as the head of a pin.
Tick populations are increasing in Ontario and there are many varieties, but the one that is a concern is the black-legged tick as they can carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
Protecting your pet from ticks and Lyme disease
- The best way to protect your pet is to avoid areas known to have high tick populations
- Speak to your veterinarian about parasite prevention and the risks in your area
- In the event you are walking your dog in heavily wooded areas, a six-foot leash will help minimize contact between ticks and your pet
- Conduct regular visual and physical examinations of your pet after being outdoors
Protecting yourself from ticks and Lyme disease
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin to skin and clothing
- Wear long-sleeved shirts that fit tightly around the wrist and long-legged pants tucked into socks or shoes or boots
- Wear light-coloured clothing to make it easier to see if ticks land on clothing
- Check regularly for ticks and remove attached ticks immediately
Lyme disease is a reportable disease in Ontario and Peel Public Health reports on Lyme disease in Peel. Since 2015, there have been over two thousand confirmed human cases of Lyme disease in Ontario.
- If you find a tick on your pet take the tick to your veterinarian and request that it be tested.
- If you find a tick on yourself or a family member, take the tick to Peel Public Health for testing.