Mild winter leads to tick explosion in Calgary
Thursday, January 31, 2019, 10:53 AM - Calgary's mild winter weather has led to a surge in the tick population, and vet clinics are warning people to keep an eye on their pets.
"They start becoming more active any time over zero degrees," said Katie Berry, Director of Medical Services at Montgomery Village Veterinary Clinic. "If we get to the super cold weather, that's what we need to keep them into a long sleep, and then eventually they don't do as well."
But this year, temperatures haven't dipped down and stayed down for long.
And that has dog walkers ticked off.
"In those tall grasses, the parks, going hiking, things like that, they can be out there right now," Berry said. "But because we've barely been minus anything this entire winter, they've just been thriving, and then they keep breeding.
"It's not common for Alberta whatsoever."
Berry says ticks can also be brought back home with people who take their pets when they travel to warmer climates.
"Because we have a lot more snowbirds, and people taking their dogs to those places, taking their dogs travelling way more than usual, we are seeing more ticks than normal."
WATCH BELOW: PROPER TICK REMOVAL FROM THE EXPERTS IN THE WILDERNESS
HOW TO CHECK FOR TICKS
Berry offers a tip when you check your dog for ticks — go from tail to nose.
"So you are going against that hair coat," she said. "So you can get your fingers under that coat and you can feel if there's something abnormal."
Berry says it can be difficult to get the entire head out, even with a tick remover. She recommends bringing your dog in to to a vet clinic for proper removal and tick analysis.
"The cool thing is we can do tick submissions as well, to make sure that tick isn't carrying any weird diseases that are going to affect you or your pets."
The mild weather has also led to an upsurge in lice and ringworm, especially in boarding facilities.
"That happens because the dogs are in close quarters," Berry said, adding you can help prevent ticks by applying a vet-approved tick repellant.
The outlook for spring? That may depend on what happens with the cold snap expected next week, but Berry is not optimistic.
"I'm pretty concerned for the spring," she said. "Warmer temperatures are always great but I think it's going to be a pretty buggy year."
Listen to the full interview with Katie Berry on The Homestretch [below].
Next time you take your dog out for a walk, be on the lookout for ticks.Turns out they aren't just a problem in the spring and summer. They are out and about right now...because the winter has been so mild. Katie Berry is the Director of Medical Services at Montgomery Village Veterinary Clinic. 4:43
WATCH BELOW: 5 LITTLE KNOWN FACTS WE BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT TICKS
This article, written by Pamela Fieber, was originally published on CBC News