To the Editor:
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, in partnership with Merck Animal Health, for the third year has declared March as National Tick Awareness Month.
Veterinarians are taking a stand against ticks and their impact on pets and humans and continue to share important educational material. What do you really know about ticks? There is so much misinformation out there it is important to seek true information.
Ticks are moving out at a rate of approximately 46 km per year. An individual tick will only move a few meters on its own during its lifetime but with the assistance of birds, mice, deer and other mammals travel out in the environment. This is putting more pets and people at risk. In 2010, it was estimated 18 per cent of the population in eastern Canada lived where these ticks were established and it is estimated that by 2020, only two years away, 80 per cent will live where these ticks are established. This means that in 10 years the risk went from 1 in five to four in five people will be at risk for contracting Lyme or another vector borne disease. The recommendation is a three-pronged approach for pets/patients starting with client education, along with tick preventative and vaccination recommendation depending on patient risk. The veterinarians with their education program hope to arm their clients with reliable information not only for their pets but for themselves and their families preventing illness.
There is a series of 12 education videos https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/2018-ntam-q-and-a-videos answering the most commonly asked questions put forth after last year’s Tick Awareness Month. They cover such topics as what do ticks look like, best way to remove ticks, do cats get ticks, how do they develop from egg to adult, and when are ticks active. We need to be aware of ticks in every month and the veterinary March Tick Awareness helps to reinforce this information.
There will be a tick and Lyme conference at Mount Allison University in the Biology (Flemington) building from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. There will be talks focusing on ticks and their affects on animals and humans and what we can do about Lyme and other tick vectored diseases.
May is Lyme Disease Awareness month worldwide focusing on the human side of this growing health concern. In the afternoon on Saturday, May 5, there will be a Lyme Information Session (VOCAL) in Ondaatje Hall at Dalhousie University from 2 to 6 p.m., doors open at 1:30 p.m. Mary Beth Pfeiffer, journalist/author, will be the keynote speaker and has written a book, “Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change,” due to be released in April. Other speakers include Andrew Hebda of the Museum of Natural History as well as Dr. Vett Lloyd and two of her research teams from Mount Allison University as well as researcher from Dalhousie University. If anyone who would like to help or offer some financial sponsorship you can contact Donna Macpherson Lugar, firstname.lastname@example.org or Brenda Sterling-Goodwin, email@example.com.
2018 is looking like it will be a bad year for ticks and vector borne diseases, ie Lyme and co-infections, after having had a relatively mild winter and the ongoing tick population explosion. Be aware and know how to protect yourself, your children and your pets. Education is key!