Increase in ticks, Saskatoon vet Brian Gibbs says

If you're ticked off by ticks — this isn't your year.

Brian Gibbs says he's had about 100 ticks on him this year

A deer tick under a microscope. Ticks can carry Lyme disease. (Victoria Arocho/The Associated Press)

If you're ticked off by ticks — this isn't your year. 

Brian Gibbs, a Saskatoon veterinarian, said there's an increase in ticks this summer. He lives on an acreage north of the city and he's already had about 100 ticks on him this year. His dogs have each had between 500 and 1,000 so far. 

"We didn't see the ticks early but when they did come they came in great numbers. And that was kind of surprising," he said.

He's said he's not sure why there's an increase. It's not the weather, he said. Ticks normally like dry conditions and moderate heat. However, like mosquitoes, ticks sometimes stay dormant for a season, then reappear. 

The tick that carries Lyme disease hasn't established a firm ground or life cycle in this environment. But I'm not saying it couldn't.- Johnmark Opondo

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there were 315 cases of Lyme Disease in humans across the country in 2012; 258 cases in 2011; 123 cases in 2010; and 128 cases in 2009. 

Gibbs said that along with Lyme Disease, ticks can also carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other tropical blood diseases similar to malaria. 

Gibbs treats his dogs with Advantix, a topical treatment that works against ticks. 

Public health officials say despite a large number of ticks this year, the risk of Lyme disease is still low. 
   
Deputy medical health officer, Johnmark Opondo, says the disease is still rare in Saskatchewan.

"The tick that carries Lyme disease hasn't established a firm ground or life cycle in this environment. But I'm not saying it couldn't," he said.

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