It’s pretty clear that tick ranges are changing. In Ontario, we’ve seen movement of ticks into areas where they were never seen before, as well as potential changes in the types of ticks that are found in different areas. The potential for tickborne diseases like Lyme disease highlights the importance of understanding tick distributions. Knowing where ticks are helps determine the need for tick prevention practices, and knowing the types of ticks that are present helps determine what diseases need to be considered. As some tick species establish footholds in new areas, it’s important to recognize and communicate this as early as possible. (Image shows a female Ixodes scapularis tick laying her clutch of eggs, CDC Public Health Image Library 22182).
Various efforts are underway to track ticks and to figure out what pathogens they carry. We’re launching a preliminary project as well, the Pet Tick Tracker. This is a simple online tool where owners and veterinarians can enter information about ticks that they find on dogs, cats, horses or other domestic animals. This is the “lite” version for now – a slightly more comprehensive version that obtains a little more location information and includes a comment box will be released when it clear the University of Guelph Research Ethics Board. Stay tuned for that, but in the interim, people finding ticks on domestic animals can access it here:
The QR code below can also be scanned directly or printed off for future reference. With a QR code reader, a smart phone will be taken directly to the Pet Tick Tracker.