Notice to veterinarians

Effective February 21, 2021, Agriculture and Forestry is no longer conducting testing for the Alberta Companion Animal Tick Surveillance Program. The program is transitioning to Alberta Health Services’ Alberta Precision Laboratories with an expected start date in April 2021. The new process for submitting ticks to Alberta Precision Laboratories will be communicated once finalized.

Tick specimens arriving at the Agri-Food Laboratories between February 21 and April 1, will be stored in refrigeration and shipped to Alberta Precision Laboratories for identification and testing that is anticipated to commence after April 1, 2021, and as such results will be delayed. It is recommended that Veterinary clinics store ticks in refrigeration and submit them using the new process in April 2021.

Overview

Certain species of tick (such as Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus) are considered to be possible carriers of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. In Alberta, Lyme disease and the condition of carrying the Ixodes species of ticks are provincially notifiable.

The greatest risk of acquiring Lyme disease occurs where populations of ticks that carry the bacteria B. burgdorferi have become established.

Lyme disease health resources

MyHealth.Alberta.ca – Lyme disease

Lyme disease Public (Health Agency of Canada)

Testing in Alberta

Alberta Health Services (AHS) leads tick surveillance in the province, testing ticks for the presence of the bacteria to better understand the risk of Lyme disease in Alberta. Through a tick submission program, AHS monitors the types of ticks that attach to companion animals, livestock and humans, and also those found in the environment.

Laboratory testing for the Alberta Companion Animal Tick Surveillance Program is transitioning from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to Alberta Precision Laboratories with an expected start date in April 2021.

If you find a tick

If Albertans find ticks on their animals, they should contact their veterinarian. Veterinarians can submit ticks found on companion animals or livestock to the Alberta Companion Animal Tick Surveillance Program.

If you find a tick on a human or in the environment, please refer to Lyme disease and tick surveillance for information.

COVID-19 Update

Due to resources being used to manage and monitor the current COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta Health Services is currently not accepting tick submissions. For more information and updates, see Lyme disease and tick surveillance.

Tick surveillance results

This report provides a summary of tick results for companion animals, which include dogs, cats and horses.

Surveillance of Ticks – Summary reports