You may have heard of tick questing, but what exactly does it mean? Hard-bodied ticks, including the prevalent Western black-legged tick found on Vancouver Island, are well-adapted to finding a suitable host with a very useful (to them) behaviour called ‘questing.’ It is when a tick climbs and perches on the edge of a leaf or blade of grass and hangs on with six legs of its eight legs. They put out feelers with its top two legs, waiting for unsuspecting victims who walk by. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t jump from trees (and, thankfully, they also don’t fly). Armed with this knowledge, people can decrease the chances of contracting tick-borne diseases by following a few simple rules (adapted from the BC Centre for Disease Control website):
- Stick to cleared trails when walking with/without your pet;
- Clear brush from around your home;
- Wear light-coloured clothing in order to see possible ticks on your clothes;
- Do a full-body check on yourself and your pet (Note: some ticks are the size of sesame seeds so keep an extra close eye for small black dots that may get missed or dismissed);
- Use an insect repellent on yourself before walking in high-grass or bushy areas;
- Use tick prevention year-round for your pets. There are many different options; speak with your vet about the best one for your cat or dog.
- Remove a tick carefully and promptly whether that’s from yourself or your pet (full details on how to remove a tick can be found here. (Note: most vet clinics will remove ticks for free if you are unsure of how to do so safely or find the process too squeamish!)
While Lyme disease transmission is rare, it is important to follow precautionary measures to help protect you and your pet year-round.
If you have any questions, please give us a call at 250.754.8822.
Written by: Petroglyph Animal Hospital