Tick Prevention and Treatment Tips

Written By Dr. Gary Holfinger

Beware of ticks this season! While ticks can be a problem any time of the year, the months of April to July seem to be the worst time for exposure.

Ticks are often found on the head or around the ears, but can be anywhere on the body. They tend to crawl up low hanging bushes, and then drop on pets when they are sniffing or rooting under bushes or hedges. It's recommended to check your pet thoroughly after each trip outside. However, if you are like me, checking my pet every time she goes outside is not practical. Therefore, good tick protection is important, not only to protect your pet, but also to prevent ticks getting in the house and laying eggs.

It's a common misconception that the best way to take a tick off you pet is to use a burnt match or coat with fingernail polish removal. Unfortunately, these tricks often don't work, and may also increase the chance of the tick releasing harmful organisms, such as lyme disease, into your pet. The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it as close to the pet's body as possible with tweezers and pull the tick out with a steady motion. This decreases the chance of your pet picking up a tick-carried disease.

Tick carried diseases can affect both pets and humans; common examples are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and most often Lyme Disease. We are monitoring the number of Lyme Disease cases in our area. A vaccine for dogs is available. At this time, we highly recommend it for dogs who travel into the upper Great Lakes or to Pennsylvania and East. This vaccine may be recommended for all dogs should we continue to see an increase in ticks in our area.

Remember: Inspect pets closely for ticks after they have been outdoors. Most importantly, apply a good tick product faithfully. Don't let these parasites ruin your summer!

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