Tick Awareness Month
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association declares March to be National Tick Awareness Month, a time for pet owners in Canada to learn about tick prevention.
March is the start of tick season, as temperatures rise above freezing. Although not all ticks carry the Lyme Disease bacterium, some ticks carry other tick-borne diseases that can affect animal health after a tick bite.
Some ticks are more aggressive towards dogs than others including the Eastern Black-legged Tick (Deer Tick) and the American Dog Tick (Wood Tick).
The deer tick seeks humans and pets year-round and can be found in grassy and woody areas as well as inside and outside the home. In contrast, the American Dog (Wood Tick) Tick is active during April-August and only lives in woody areas. Keeping an eye on both tick species will prevent your dog from possibly contracting Lyme Disease from deer ticks and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from the wood tick.
Because ticks are now active across North America, it is advised to homeowners that they build dog fencing to keep out deer and other wildlife that may be carrying tick illnesses. For pet owners who like to explore the Great Outdoors with their dogs, it's important to know how to remove a tick and the signs of Lyme Disease.
Protect dogs from ticks this March during #TickAwarenessMonth; and follow the conversation on @EasyPetFence.com Facebook.
Dog Ticks A Problem
NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– At the Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine in North Haven, doctors are busy giving tick exams. Dr. Julia Shakeri with the Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine said, “I think we are seeing it a lot more this time of year than maybe in other years, just because of mild winter and the higher tick populations.”
Doctors are diagnosing a variety of tick-borne diseases in dogs. Dr. Shakeri added, “Lyme is the most common, we have Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasma, Babesiosis, Tick Paralysis. Those are going to be the most common.”
Dogs can get sick, just like people.
“They might have joint pain, neuralgic signs. Most dogs are just going to be quiet, painful, lame and have a fever,” said Dr. Shakeri. Dr. Shakeri told News 8 checking your dog for ticks should be part of your daily routine.
Dr. Shakeri said, “Anywhere that is dark and warm. so we will see them in the arm pits, on the face, in the ears, on the ears, kind of in the groin area. They can be anywhere.”
Dog owners said they check their dogs after outdoor playtime. Jeff Ahern said, “He likes to be touched so it is really easy to examine him from head to toe.”
Troy Stamey added, “I brush through him and make sure there is no ticks, just seeing if there is any ticks there and if there is taking it off.”
The American Kennel Club recommends the following steps for safely removing ticks from your dog:
- Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick, but not just any tweezers will work. Most household tweezers have large, blunt tips. You should use fine-point tweezers, to avoid tearing the tick and spreading possible infections into the bite area.
- Spread your dog’s fur, then grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Very gently, pull straight upward, in a slow, steady motion. This will prevent the tick’s mouth from breaking off and remaining embedded in the skin.
- Another option that is even easier to master is the use of a tick removal hook. It’s especially useful if you live in a tick-dense area where you dog is frequently playing host to the vexing little critters. There are several types of hooks, like the Tick Twister or the Tick Stick. You simply put the prongs on either side of the tick and twist upward.
- Never remove a tick with your fingers—it’s not only ineffective, the squeezing may further inject infectious material.
- After you’ve removed the tick, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, clean the bite site with rubbing alcohol, and rinse the tweezers or tool with disinfectant.
Story re-posted from News 8. Written by Noelle Gardner
Protect Pets From Ticks
SPOKANE, Wash. – As the temperatures increase, so do the chances of being attacked by bugs.
This year, insect experts are predicting larger than normal numbers of ticks.
Dr. Kat Bell works for the Indian Trail Animal Hospital in Spokane. She said it is too early to tell if ticks will be a huge problem for pet owners – but nonetheless it is always a concern. She said they already have had to remove some ticks from dogs so far this spring.
Michael Whittle has come across a tick or two that attached itself to either one of his dogs Tiko or Mariah.
“You’ll be scratching their head or something and you’ll feel this little bump and go oh god.”
Whittle said they go hiking on the cliffs on the bluffs a lot and that is likely where he sees them the most. Because they enjoy the outdoors so much, Whittle said they do what they can to limit their chances of taking home any unexpected guests.
“I think it’s really being on top of brushing them everyday and making sure there’s no ticks around their neck or ears,” Whittle said.
Paige McKee and her four dogs also enjoy the outdoors.
“We walk over the park every chance we get,” she said.
She said they do avoid bushy, wooded areas where experts say ticks lurk.
“We just watch them, just pet through them and keep their hair short that’s what works for us,” McKee said.
Doriene Arnett says ticks have not been a problem for her dog Beethoven since they mainly walk downtown and away from wooded areas, but said when they do venture out she keeps a close eye on them.
“Kind of worried but to prepare, I’d probably just do what the vet says and just watch on everything to make sure he doesn’t have them on him,” Arnett said.
While these dog owners have had different experiences when it comes to these pesky critters, they all agree vigilance is the key to keeping their dogs happy and healthy.
Veterinarians agree with the approach the people we spoke with took – preventative measures.
They said ticks can sometimes carry some serious blood borne diseases for pets. If your pet gets a tick, professionals said if you feel comfortable removing it yourself you should. If not, you should see your veterinarian.
Lyme Disease in Dogs
For pet owners who have an indoor-outdoor dog, we recommend that you pay attention and learn about Lyme Disease Prevention Month in Dogs, this April 2017.
About the Black-legged Tick
Black-legged ticks are the most common type of tick in North America carrying the notorious tick-borne disease, Lyme Disease. Although Lyme is more of a concern for humans, it does harm dogs in addition to other dog tick illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, spread by American Dog Ticks.
Lyme Disease is generally spread by ticks within 24-48 hours of attaching to a human or dog. If your dog is experiencing the following symptoms, then the dog may have a tick bite.
- High blood pressure
- Fast heart rate and rhythm (tachyarrhythmias)
- Weakness, especially in the hind limbs
- Partial loss of muscle movements (paresis)
- Complete loss of muscle movement (paralysis), commonly seen in advanced disease state
- Poor reflexes to complete loss of reflex
- Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
- Difficulty in eating
- Disorder of voice (dysphonia)
- Asphyxia due to respiratory muscle paralysis in severely affected animals
- Excessive drooling (sialosis)
- Megaesophagus (enlarged esophagus)
- Excessive dilatation of pupil in the eye (mydriasis)
The most common sign of Lyme is a ring around the infected skin, also known as the "Bulls Eye" marking. Clinical illness in dogs lasts from 2-5 months; and can be treated with antibiotics like Doxycycline or Amoxicillin, if caught in the early stages.
Some dogs that develop kidney disease from #Lyme become severely ill or die. See a vet as soon as you successfully remove the dog tick from your pet's skin.
How to Remove a Tick
Removing a tick species is easy; but pet owners must keep calm as to not startle the dog.
Here are the steps to remove ticks:
Step 1: Purchase a Tick Removal Tool
Household tweezers may not be strong enough to successfully remove the tick. We suggest purchasing a tick remover tool from EasyPetFence.com for easy handling. Tick tweezers allow the user to gently remove the tick from the infected area with ease. With a tick tool, users will have peace of mind knowing that all parts of the tick are successfully removed from the skin.
Step 2: Disinfect the tick-biting area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Step 3: Pull the tick straight up. Be sure that the head and body both comes out completely. (Remember: Tick-borne disease transmission is not possible without the tick's head as this is what is burrowed inside the skin.) Do not rush the process so the tick's body does not break apart. If it does break for any reason, remove the broken parts from the infected area - do not leave the remaining body parts attached to your skin.
Step 4: Disinfect the tick-biting area with rubbing alcohol one final time.
Step 5: Place the tick in a sealed container. Store in refrigerator if it is alive, and the freezer if it is dead.
Step 6: Take the tick to a doctor's office quickly for testing to identify the type of tick; and consider testing for Lyme Disease and other diseases.
To safeguard pets this Dog Tick Prevention Month, EasyPetFence encourages homeowners to install a dog fence around properties to keep out wildlife that may be carrying ticks.
Spring Pet Wellness Tips
Now, that the snow is melting and warmer days are here, dogs and cats can spend more time outside. Here are a few spring season pet wellness tips to keep in-mind:
Your Pets Will Be Playing Outside
For homeowners who are new to being a responsible pet owner, we encourage them to install a dog fence in the backyard so, dogs of all breeds can freely roam the backyard - safely. Speaking of safety, don't purchase shock collars or invisible dog fences. An invisible dog fence hurts the dog; and for the animal, it doesn't know why it is being harmed, it just knows that it is too afraid to keep moving. A humane dog enclosure from EasyPetFence is a must-have for dogs this spring.
Even cats need as much exercise as a dog; and with a Kitty Corral Cat Fence from EasyPetFence, domestic cats can play in their new cat enclosure without fear of interfacing with wild animals and birds. With a cat fence, the cat won't be able to jump or climb out of the fence and get lost, stolen or into trouble.
Gardeners: Watch What You Grow In Spring
There are over 700 plants that pose a threat to domestic breeds including:
- Lilies, daffodils and other bulb plants
- Tomatoes still attached with leaves and stems
- Mushrooms and other fungi
- Rhubarb plants
You don't have to give up your gardening hobby because of you adopted a pet; but you may want to plant away from the dog fence or cat enclosure. For a complete list of poisonous plants for dogs and cats, see the ASPCA's website and talk to Animal Control.
In addition to plants, gardeners need to be careful what yard chemicals they use to spray grass. Check labels and make sure the ingredients will not harm your dog or cat.
Check For Ticks and Fleas
This goes for you, too. After long periods of outdoor activity, please do a thorough tick check on your pets by gently combing and viewing around the legs, head, neck and ears.
Ticks are most active in the warm months beginning in March; and generally appear in gardens, forests and grassy areas. They tend to hide under leaves for warmth and will feed on warm-blooded mammals given the chance. A tick bite is no laughing matter. Although not all ticks are harmful, some ticks may be carrying Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other bacterial diseases. Take these steps to successfully remove a dog tick.
Update Dog Vaccinations
Spring is a good time to check-in with your vet and make sure your dog is up-to-date with shots. We choose Spring because dogs socialize more with other dogs continuing through Summer; and this is when dog bites and dog fights most occur.
It's Time For Spring Cleaning
As with babies, homeowners need to keep household goods away from dogs and cats that may be harmful to them in large dosages. Most pet owners know not to give dogs chocolate, nuts, raisins and grapes; but they may not think about cleaning items. Keep these items away from your pets:
- Carpet Freshener and Shampoo
- Toilet Cleaners
- Vinegar and water
- Fabric softener sheets
- Cold and flu medications
This is a great season to be a pet owner! Enjoy the great outdoors with your beloved pets; take them to dog parks; and play with them in the backyard.