OTTAWA, Ontario – March is National Tick Awareness Month (NTAM) in Canada. Since its launch in 2016 by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) in partnership with Merck Animal Health, this awareness campaign has helped educate pet parents about ticks, the potential health risks they pose, and how to help protect themselves and members of their family (both the two-legged and the four-legged kind) against these parasites.
Until recently, parasite control was associated with specific seasons – traditionally, the warmer months of the year, when mosquitoes and fleas are active, and pets spend more time outdoors. However, the concept of “warm weather-driven parasite control season” has been turned on its head with the ongoing expansion of tick populations in Canada.
Although tick activity periods may overlap those of other parasites, some species of ticks are active at temperatures as low as 4ºC. This means that, while ticks may not be a concern every day of the year, there may be days every month of the year when ticks are out looking for a host to feed on.
This extended tick seasonality is the main theme of the 2020 NTAM campaign, which drives home the message that “every season can be tick season” and emphasizes the importance of tick control even at times of the year when pet owners might think it’s too cold for parasites to be out.
In addition to increasing awareness of ‘when‘ ticks are active, the 2020 NTAM campaign addresses the ‘where’ factor, stressing the fact that ticks are expanding into many areas of Canada where they were not found previously.
“From the very beginning, NTAM has positioned veterinarians as pet owners’ go-to resource for factual, up-to-date information about tick populations and potential health risks – and this year is no exception,” says Dr. Melanie Hicks, CVMA president.
“In many ways, dogs act as ‘tick sentinels,’ which puts veterinarians in a unique position to monitor tick activity and help assess disease risks for both pets and people,” adds Dr. Hicks. “Working hand in hand with other health professionals, in the spirit of the One Health approach, veterinarians play a key role in helping achieve better public health – another key message of the 2020 NTAM campaign.”
Also visit TickTalkCanada.com for up-to-date information on tick seasonality and expansion in Canada.
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is the national and international voice for Canada’s veterinarians, providing leadership and advocacy for veterinary medicine. Visit canadianveterinarians.net to learn more about the CVMA.