To the Editor:
March is just beginning and so is the fourth edition of National Tick Awareness Month (NTAM). This program was launched in 2015 by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) in partnership with a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer. The pet/owner education campaign has helped increase public awareness about ticks and the potential health risks they pose to our pets and to people. The program focuses on measures used to control ticks to help avoid contracting a vector-borne disease, ie ticks. The 2019 NTAM campaign builds on the momentum of the three previous years, with the launch of TickTalkCanada.com, a new educational website for Canadian pet owners.
Client education remains the focus of this year’s campaign for veterinarians and now with the website the message is being brought directly to pet owners.
Dr. Terri Chotowetz, CVMA president has said, “Many pet owners are already online looking for information about ticks, but don’t always know which sites to trust. The CVMA has created TickTalkCanada.com to provide pet owners with a credible online resource, with the goal of initiating the ‘tick talk’ and encouraging clients to continue a meaningful tick-control conversation with their veterinarian.”
We know ticks carry various diseases putting people at risk such as Borrelia (Lyme), Bartonella, Babesia, Powassan virus, Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever RMSF as well as other viruses and parasites. The ticks can be found worldwide and now it is said all of Nova Scotia has been identified as a Lyme disease risk province. If you work outdoors or participate in outdoor activities, you may be at a greater risk for tick bites. According to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) any occupations may be at risk, including forestry, farming, veterinarians, construction, landscaping, ground keepers, park or wildlife management, and anyone who either works outside or has contact with animals that may carry the ticks (including domestic animals like dogs, cats, goats, cows, horses, etc.)
Similarly, any person who spends a lot time outdoors (hiking, camping, birding, golfing, hunting, fishing, etc.), especially in grassy or wooded areas may also be at risk.
Ticks are moving into urban areas and can now be found in people’s back yards. Birds fly everywhere parachuting ticks into new areas and deer act as ‘tick taxis’. We have what many are now calling ‘city deer’ as we destroy the wildlife’s natural habitat, deer need someplace to go.
The veterinarians are knowledgeable regarding ticks and possible diseases they carry. It is time our doctors and health care providers acknowledge and accept current research.
Education is KEY!