Tick Tips

Tick Tips
Fall GuysIn most areas of the country, ticks are active from about April to November. Ticks are not only an irritant. Tick bites can transmit bacteria that cause serious illness in pets and people, including Lyme disease - a devastating bacterial disease which can cause permanent, painful disability in both humans and dogs.

According to the Centers for Disease control, Lyme Disease cases have been reported in 47 states and the number of cases grows rapidly each year. States in the Northeastern, North central, and Pacific coast regions of the US have the highest concentrations. The ticks most often responsible for carrying Lyme disease are the Deer tick in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, the Black-legged tick in the Midwest and Southeast, and the Western black-legged tick in coastal areas of Washington, Oregon, and California.

Topical flea and tick products do offer protection against ticks, but not as long lasting as the flea protection they provide. Sprays, collars, powders and dips will also repel ticks to some degree. Many people say that tick collars containing "amitraz" work well.

If your dog plays in high grasses, or you live near wooded areas, inspect your dog daily from nose to tail to check for ticks. Ticks attach themselves by embedding their claw-like mouth parts into a victim's skin and feeding on it's blood. The longer a tick is attached and biting, the greater the risk of transmitting disease. They are most often found around a dog's head and neck, especially just behind the ears. At first a tick might just look like a small gray dot on your dogs skin. If an attached tick is not found and removed, it becomes larger as it feeds and could easily be mistaken for a wart.

When you find a tick, remove it with a small tweezers. Carefully grasp the tick as close to the dog's skin as possible and gently pull it off. Try to remove all of the tick, including the head, then cleanse the area with an antiseptic. Try not to touch the tick if possible and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

If you live in one of the regions mentioned above where there's a high incidence of Lyme Disease, your vet might recommend vaccination against it. Vaccination to prevent Lyme Disease is initially a series of 2 vaccinations given 2 to 3 weeks apart. After that, a single dose annual booster vaccination is needed.

Even when tick protection is used and a dog has been vaccinated against Lyme Disease, there are no 100% guarantees. Lyme Disease might not show up for weeks or even months after a tick bite. Sudden onset of severe pain and lameness, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and depression are some of the common symptoms. If you found a tick on your dog and some time later he develops symptoms of Lyme Disease, whether your dog has been vaccinated or not, tell your vet about finding the tick. Treatment for Lyme Disease is a long course of antibiotics. The earlier in the course of the disease antibiotic treatment begins, the better the dog's chances for a complete recovery. Unsuccessful treatment can result in arthritis and lifelong joint pain, and possible neurological, cardiac, and kidney problems.

Ticks like damp, shady areas. They live under layers of fallen leaves and in tall unmowed grass. Cut the tick population around your home this fall by removing piles of leaves in shaded areas around shrubs, under decks, and along fences and walls. Remove leaves and the remains of summer plants, weeds, and other debris from flower beds. Don't stack wood for a fireplace right next to or against your house. Stack wood off the ground and in racks in a dry location if possible. Keep lawns mowed and edges trimmed. Clean up around bird feeders so mice, chipmunks, and squirrels are not drawn to the area...rodents attract ticks and fleas.

To help control a thriving tick population, spray grassy areas around your house with a pet-safe flea and tick repellent. If the infestation is severe, hire a professional pest control service. For more information about ticks and Lyme Disease see the links below.

Protect your dogs from ticks and tick-borne illness with products like these....

Preventic Tick Collar
This collar not only kills ticks, it causes ticks to completely detach within 48 hours. It can be used on dogs aged 12 weeks and older. Fits neck sizes up to 25". It's effective for up to 3 months.
Biospot Carpet Sprayicon
For complete flea and tick control for your indoor environment, use this spray for rugs, furniture, carpets, and drapes. It controls adults, eggs and larvae for up to 7 months.

Related Links

How do I identify different ticks?

Facts About Lyme Disease

The American Lyme Disease Foundation

Prevent Tick Bites: Prevent Lyme Disease

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