Tick season strikes early
March is here, and with warmer weather comes a greater danger of being latched onto by a tick.
At least five of the tiny menaces that are about the size of a sesame seed have boarded a Merritt couple who are now warning residents.
Merrittonian Gail Mitchell frequently hikes the Monck Park area with her husband and dog.
“We weren’t expecting them, because we thought, ‘Oh, you know, in a month or two we will look out for ticks,’” she said, noting the couple had only picked up a couple ticks in previous years. “But we have found five already, in one week.”
The couple hikes nearly every day, and had frequented the Monck Park area when the ticks latched on.
She said the ticks embedded themselves onto the couple’s heads, but two dogs she was walking were unaffected.
The pooches have a light white coat that isn’t prone to attracting ticks, she said.
Angel’s Animal Rescue Society President Judanna Dawn-Caros said people need to watch out for their dogs.
“After they go for walks, check the dogs thoroughly, so give them a good rubbing all over,” she said. “If there is any lumps and bumps that they are feeling, really be concerned that there could be a tick there and research on how to remove the ticks properly.”
Dogs should also be treated once or twice each year with Revolution or Advantage Multi, she added.
“Merritt is really common for deer lice and it is prevalent in the long grass,” she said.
Ticks are common in the Nicola Valley and are a potentially deadly threat to anyone who visits wooded areas, even places with tall grass and bushes. However, the Lyme disease that some ticks carry is most common in coastal climates.
According to Dr. Karin Goodison, public health physician with Interior Health, one or two Lyme disease cases thought to be associated with ticks were uncovered in the Nicola Valley over the last 20 years — that’s an average of a 10 per cent chance of a single infection each year.
Antibiotics, if used early, are effective at treating tick infections.
Anyone bitten by a tick should quickly remove it from the flesh without squishing it and releasing the stomach contents.
Long sleeves and pants can protect people in wooded areas.
Insect repellent that contains DEET is another effective guard against tick bites.
Paws for Pennies
Angel’s Paws for Pennies fundraiser is ongoing, with several hundred already raised.
Money can be donated to Purity Feeds, Nicola Valley Veterinarian Clinic, the Merritt Veterinarian Hospital, or the Hitch ‘N’ Post Restaurant in Lower Nicola.
The money is earmarked to continue the society’s rescue efforts and for providing veterinarian care for issues that include tick bites.