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Tick Season can be Every Season! March is National Tick Awareness Month (NTAM).
February 1, 2020
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 2-legged and the 4-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 4°C. This means, 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 “tick season can be every 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 active.
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 the go-to resource for relevant information about tick populations and potential health risks, for pet owners — 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.”
NTAM launch webinar
The 2020 NTAM campaign will feature a live kick-off webinar featuring Robbin Lindsay, MSc, PhD, research scientist at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory, and Dr. Katie Clow, DVM, PhD, assistant professor in One Health in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College.
The webinar, which will take place on Monday, March 2, at 12:30 p.m. (ET), will provide an update on tick expansion in Canada, discuss changes in tick-borne disease risks over time, and explore the role of veterinarians in the One Health approach to tick control and disease prevention.
For more information on National Tick Awareness Month, to access NTAM resources and/or to register for the live kickoff webinar, please visit canadianveterinarians.net/practice-economics/practice-tools-national-tick-awareness-month.
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