How to Prevent Ticks
Ticks are parasites that live on the outside of the body, biting in and consuming the blood of their host to derive the nutrients they need to live. They are also a very common problem affecting pet owners in the United States today. There are many different types of ticks, and at least one variety can be found in every state of the U.S although tick activity varies depending on the temperature and humidity levels.
A tick attaches to your pet by inserting its mouthparts into her skin. Tick saliva can be irritating and cause the area where your pet has been bitten to become red, sore and itchy. There is also a chance that the tick will transmit one of several infectious diseases to your beloved furbaby.
Tick-borne Diseases that can affect Pets
There are a number of different diseases that can be transmitted. Probably the mot well known is Lyme disease, a condition that can also affect humans. However, others include:
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Some ticks also have saliva that contains a neurotoxin that causes a condition known as tick paralysis. Animals who have tick paralysis may see a loss of involuntary movement, and many suffer from respiratory problems, which in some cases can be fatal.
How do Ticks come into contact with my Pet?
Ticks tend to prefer living in wooded, grassy areas where they can attach to your pet as she brushed past. If you have a large backyard or live in an area where your pet can explore dense woodland, long grasses and other similar environments, she could be at increased risk of contracting a tick.
How to Prevent Ticks from affecting your Pet
There are many safe products on the market that can help protect your pet from being a meal for a tick. These range from collars and spot-on treatments to topical ointments and even oral medications. Our veterinarian will be able to help you choose the most suitable preventative treatment for your furbaby and recommend a schedule of preventive care. This should be adhered to rigidly so that your animal remains fully protected at all times.
In addition to protecting your pet, there are also a few things that you do to your environment to reduce the risk of your animal being affected by ticks. This includes:
- Treating your home and yard with preventative products
- Trim back overhanging vegetation in your garden, particularly at the edge of paths
- Keep your grass short and leaf litter to a minimum
- Move yard seating away from borders, trees and bird feeders
If your pet has spent some time outside, it is a great idea if you check her over for ticks as soon as she comes in. Spotting and removing them early can reduce the likelihood that she experiences the unpleasant effects of a tick bite.
How to Remove a Tick
If you spot a tick, it can be very tempting to pull it straight off of your pet. However, this would be very painful for your furbaby and is likely to cause the tick to expel potentially infected blood on to your pet or you. Instead, you should use a clean pair of tweezers or a specialist tick removal tool, grab the tick securely (but not too hard) and removed slowly and carefully.
In some instances, the mouth parts of a tick may remain stuck in your pet’s body, but these should fall out naturally after a day or so. Make sure you wear gloves when you perform the removal and dispose of the tick by dropping it into a jar of alcohol. Flushing a tick does not always work – some have been known to survive entire cycles in the washer!
Our experienced and dedicated team understand the importance of keeping our pets safe from parasite infestations, including ticks. For more information or advice, please contact our offices.