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HEALTH | Winter bugs

Ticks can survive cold weather, so keep checking your pets

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, January 10, 2019, 1:12 PM - Dog owners around New Hampshire are being warned to check their pets for ticks despite the cold weather after a New Boston vet discovered an engorged tick on a dog.

Experts say it serves as a reminder that not all ticks die during the winter. Some can even survive in snow.

The tick was found by accident when the dog was brought to the vet for an unrelated injury, Brandon Burris of Town and Country Hospital told CNN.

"It was actually an emergency situation - the dog had run into a porcupine - we had it under sedation and we found the tick," he said.

(RELATED: Ticks may be preventable with new Canadian invention)

"Most people think [ticks] die during the winter and they don't - some of them go dormant but others are still active throughout the whole thing - they winter very well under the snow."

They are commonly found along paths that animals and people carve out in the snow.


Not all ticks can cause Lyme disease. There are several types of ticks found in Canada, but only the black-legged ones can transmit the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi that causes the condition, and only if they are infected with it.

Early detection is one of the best ways to treat Lyme disease.

Experts say the condition is on the rise in Canada and the U.S. due to a combination of ticks expanding northward and warmer weather, which is allowing the arachnids to survive in climates that were previously too cold.

It can take three days to one month for symptoms of Lyme disease to occur. The condition can be successfully treated with antibiotics.



Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease that can be identified by a rash, headache, fever, and chills. It can develop into possible arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders as well as chronic fatigue.

  • Due to the minuscule size, bites are mainly painless and can go unnoticed until symptoms set in.
  • Tick bites often resemble a 'bull's eye'; a red bite mark surrounded by rings of red, swollen skin.


  • Remove tick immediately using fine-tipped tweezers. If you find a tick on your pet, contact your vet immediately.
  • Do not squeeze the body during the removal process as this can accidentally let Lyme disease bacteria into the body.
  • Do not put anything on the tick or try to burn it as this may also lead to the tick releasing bacteria into the bite area.
  • Clean the bit area with soap and water.
  • Seek medical attention immediately. If possible, bring the tick with you.

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