Taking the bite out of ticks

posted: by: Alison Skala, DVM Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Taking the bite out of ticks


            Ticks are fairly common parasites that can transmit diseases to you and your pets, but with preventative measures, you can reduce this risk.  They attach to your dog by inserting their mouthparts into the skin, usually causing local irritation (redness and swelling).  When these ticks attach, they consume your dog’s blood and can cause anemia, tick paralysis and can transfer organisms that cause diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF).  Lyme disease can cause fever, arthritis and swelling of the joints, causing painful lameness.  RMSF can cause fever, lameness and other signs.  These diseases, as well as other tick-borne diseases can cause serious illness in you or your pets.  Though you cannot catch Lyme disease or RMSF from infected dogs, the same ticks that bite dogs can cause these illnesses and other diseases if they bite humans.  Controlling ticks on your dogs and cats can help protect the health of your whole family.


            Pets are susceptible to ticks at all times of the year- though we usually see more ticks in the spring, summer and early fall- when people and pets are spending more time outdoors.  Ticks can attach to you or your dog when they go with you on walks or during any outdoor activity.  They usually transfer from long grasses, bushes and brush (they do not fall from trees and they cannot jump).  You can bring ticks into your home on clothing (pant cuffs, socks, etc), so you should still periodically check your indoor cats for ticks and fleas.


                        The best way to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog is by the regular use of tick control products.  There are many products that can help control ticks in your cat and dog.  We currently carry Frontline Plus for cats and dogs (a monthly application) and Scalibor tick collars for dogs (it lasts up to 6 months).  If you have a tick problem in your yard, consider having a licensed exterminator treat the outdoor environment (be sure to understand what products you are using and how they can affect your pets and the environment) or making a landscape change to make the environment less tick friendly by providing a 3 foot buffer of mulch, wood chips or gravel between the lawn and any woods.


            For further information, check out the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s pet owner’s resource website at www.petsandpeople.org.  And call us at 614-846-9644 or email us at info@gmvh.com to discuss which tick and flea products are right for you and your family.