vanessa farnsworth's blog

Know your ticks: American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

Today I'm going to introduce you to a domestic tick that you've probably already encountered even if you didn't know its identity.

American dog ticks are large, reddish-to-greyish brown ticks that are fairly easy to spot. As their common name suggests, dogs are an important host for adult American dog ticks although this tick species is neither restricted to the US nor does it rely solely on dogs for the blood it needs to propel its lifecycle.

Know your ticks: Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni)

This is a tick species that British Columbians know well.

Rocky Mountain wood ticks are, not surprisingly, predominantly found in the Rocky Mountain region of Canada. They are widespread throughout the BC interior where they’re often found in concert with Saskatoons (Amelanchier canadensis) and native roses (Rosa spp.).

NEW SERIES: Know your ticks

Of the roughly 40 tick species known to make their home in Canada, there are nine that are capable of transmitting bacteria, viruses, and/or protozoa to humans and domestic animals. Non-infectious secretions from the salivary glands of some species can also cause paralysis, allergic reactions and/or immune system suppression.

The Lyme-climate connection

Climate change is a huge topic for Canadians to wrap their brains around and, frankly, most of us don’t have time to delve into the specifics. If you ask the average Canadian what the impact of climate change will be on their lives, most have no trouble stating that it will cause temperatures to rise, glaciers to melt, and forests to be reduced to ash. 

The mystery of tick-borne relapsing fever

Photo Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

As part of my ongoing efforts to ensure that discussions about tick-borne diseases in Canada don’t begin and end with Lyme disease, today I’m going to talk about tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF), a relatively rare illness in Canada that’s also known as relapsing tick fever.

The Lyme disease-ME/CFS connection

When the Chronic Complex Disease Program (CCDP) first opened its doors at BC Women’s Hospital in 2013, it was almost immediately dubbed the “Lyme clinic” by many in the media as well as in the Lyme community even though it was clear from the outset that Lyme disease would be just one of three illnesses being serviced by the clinic. The other two are fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).