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Pet parasites arrive early with warm weather

February 27, 2016 - 1:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Pet owners should be aware of an uptick in parasites.

Some veterinary hospitals and clinics say tick season has begun as warm weather brings the little blood suckers out.

Kamloops SPCA animal supervisor Sarah Gerow says there have been a few animals coming with ticks.

“Typically we don’t start to see them until April or May,” she says. “They’re usually strays, so they’ve been out on their own for awhile.”

Emily Cox, a vet assistant with the Tranquille Road Animal Hospital, says the North Shore clinic has also seen the start of tick season.

“There a little earlier this year because of the warm weather. Ticks only come out between 4 to 22 C,” she says. “People are coming for the preventative.”

Dr. Ken Gummeson with the Aberdeen Veterinary Hospital says he’s seen the season start already, while Valleyview Veterinary Clinic co-owner Dr. Bruce Maricle says he hasn’t seen any ticks, but expects to any day now.

The doctor both pointed out that there are multiple types of ticks and the ones common in the Kamloops area don’t carry Lyme disease. In Kamloops pet owners are more likely to come across Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks, which may cause paralysis, according to Maricle.

“Every year we see a few dogs paralyzed by ticks and within a couple hours they’re back and moving about,” he says.

The dogs don’t stop moving all the sudden either, Maricle says, so owners shouldn’t worry about a pet suddenly immobile in a dangerous place.

“It’s not instantaneous, they look like they’re drunk first,” he says.

Meanwhile, some areas of Kamloops seem to be having increased dog lice issues. Cox says she’s seen a definite increase in lice reports at the animal hospital on the North Shore.

“There’s usually an outbreak in spring and fall for dog lice. Usually you see it at the end of March and middle of April,” she says. “Everything is thrown off and sped up the last couple of months.”

Cox says dog lice can be caught at dog parks from other dogs or occasionally dead birds. Lice don’t jump like fleas, or live in the open environments, so the only way they transfer is directly from one dog to the other, Maricle says, so dog parks and groomers are common places to catch them.

Lice are species specific, so dog lice are not transferable to humans, but there’s still an ice factor for some people, and the pets comfort to consider.

For both types of parasites medication is fairly easy to come by. Tick pills can act as a preventative, says Cox, and she’s had some people inquiring about the pills this year.

Topical and ingestive medics are available, but she warns some medicine for dogs can be toxic for cats. Gummeson says prescription lice treatments work best.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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