A Plague of Ticks Is Coming: Strategies to Avoid Lyme Disease This Fall

In parts of central and eastern Canada, October and November are peak activity times for adult blacklegged ticks or “deer ticks” (Ixodes scapularis). Spring is also a peak time for adult activity, while nymphal blacklegged ticks are active late spring and early summer. This means they are hungry for blood and will climb up onto low-lying vegetation in the forest to wait for their meal. This might be a deer or a raccoon — or it could be you, me, or our pets.

Aside from the inherent revulsion many people feel towards ticks, some species pose a risk to human and animal health. The blacklegged tick can transmit several pathogens — most notably Borrelia burgdorferiwhich can cause Lyme disease in humans, dogs, and horses.

Lyme disease in humans is a potentially debilitating disease that can cause long-term symptoms like fatigue, joint pain, arthritis, facial paralysis, and neurological disorders if left untreated. In dogs, the most characteristic sign is a shifting lameness, usually accompanied with general malaise. In rare cases, it can lead to a form of kidney failure.

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