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 burgdorferi, which 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.