Ticks: Not To Be Reckoned With!!

by Dr. Peter Hill 21. June 2014 18:00

Dr. Peter Hill

Ticks are notorious disease spreaders. They carry a variety of diseases that affect many different animal species including humans. Lyme Disease has become the most common tick-borne disease in North America and has become a significant threat to public health. Not only can you get Lyme Disease - your dog can also become infected if bitten by an infected tick. Tick eggs live in the grass and weeds your dog may run through on family outings, daily walks, or during regular daily activities. Once attached to your furry canine companion, the eggs of the tick infest not only your dog, but also his bedding and, ultimately, his home.

The signs of Lyme Disease are similar in both dogs and humans. Signs in dogs are not as obvious as in Human Lyme Disease. Once infected, your dog may experience arthritis, sudden pain or lameness, fever, loss of energy, loss of appetite, and depression. To properly diagnose Lyme Disease, blood tests may be performed to search for the disease fighting proteins known as antibodies after the symptoms of Lyme Disease have been observed. Sadly though, blood tests being used to diagnose this condition are often inconclusive.

In most parts of the United States, the potential for exposure to ticks is moderate to high from April to November, but the risk of Lyme Disease for a dog or other pet faces varies by season and the area of the country you live in. The best course of action to protect both your dog and yourself from ticks and the potential of Lyme Disease is precaution. Your veterinarian can recommend products, such as Frontline Top Spot, that will kill and repel ticks. In addition, using a long lasting yard spray in the doghouse and under bushes will kill both tick eggs and larvae. In areas with no winter freeze to kill ticks, treating with a yard spray will probably need to be done twice a year. To further protect your pet, consider the following precautions:

  • Check your dog after being outside, especially in grassy or brushy areas.
  • Brush your dog after each outing.
  • If a tick is attached to the dog's skin, remove it carefully with tweezers, washing the affected bite area and your hands afterward.
  • Use baths, dips, and flea/tick collars as recommended.
  • Keep the grass and brush cut where your dog plays.

Discuss vaccination against Lyme Disease with your vet

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