Plenty of pet owners are used to checking their animals for ticks in the summer, particularly after camping or hiking.
But it’s just as important to check them in the winter, says BC SPCA Kamloops animal care attendant Valerie Wilson, a fact highlighted by a cat who came into the Kamloops shelter as a stray – along with nine live ticks. “It’s not just dogs who are susceptible, and it’s not just in the summer,” Wilson says.
“We discovered and removed nine living ticks from the cat, who earned the name Ticker, during his initial exam. We believe he was living in a chicken coop, and I guess it just hasn’t been cold enough to kill them off.”
Ticks are external parasites that feed off the blood of hosts, including humans, dogs and cats. Tick bites and tickborne diseases, such as Lyme disease, can be hard to detect, and signs of tickborne disease may not appear for seven to 21 days or longer after a tick bite, says BC SPCA’s Dr. Emilia Gordon.
“Watch your pet closely for changes in behaviour or appetite or for any unusual illness such as fever, lameness, lethargy, bruising or bleeding if you suspect he’s been bitten by a tick,” Gordon says. “It’s also important to properly remove the tick, or to have it properly removed, to help prevent any disease or infection.”