The latest Worms & Germs infosheet, all about Lyme disease and ticks, is now available on the Resources – Pets page. Although it’s getting colder and occasionally snowy up in Ontario, there are lots of parts of North America where ticks are active all year round. It’s particularly important for any "snowbirds" who may travel south with their pets over the winter to be aware of the potential for exposure to ticks and the diseases they transmit (not just Lyme disease!), and to make sure their pets (as well as they themselves) are properly protected. (The same goes for exposure to mosquitoes, which can transmit (among other things) heartworm.)
Remember that dogs (nor any other mammal for that matter) cannot transmit Borrelia burgorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, to people; however, this is a good example of a "one health" disease that clearly affects both people and animals. Finding the disease in one species is an indication that the other is at risk as well, when there is exposure to a common source (i.e. the ticks).
Thanks to University of Guelph professor and parasitologist Dr. Andrew Perigrine for his input on the infosheet as well.
Image: A female blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, engorged with a host blood meal. (Source: CDC Public Health Image Library 15993)