Ticked Off? The Low-Down on Ticks and Lyme Disease

Whether or not you’ve found ticks on your canine companion, chances are that you have questions about ticks and their ability to transmit lyme disease. There have been confirmations of dogs contracting Lyme disease in our area, and we feel that tick prevention is an important component in your dog’s overall health plan.

How Do Dogs Get Ticks?

Dogs can get ticks anywhere, but the insects typically live in areas with tall grass and weeds. If you take your dog into any area like this, chances are high that a tick will jump aboard and hitch a ride.

While this is a common form of transmission, it’s important to know that your dog can pick up a tick anywhere. From your backyard to the baseball field, ticks can happily make a home in almost any outdoor location.

How Do I Find Ticks On My Dog?

It’s usually easy to spot a tick on a short-haired dog like a boxer or bulldog; not so easy on a medium- or long-haired dog. Ticks like to hang out around the ears, head, neck and feet, but being the opportunistic arachnids that they are, they can attach to any area of the body.

Run your hands over and through your dog’s fur daily. If you go for long walks outside or go to watch your kids play ball, inspect your dog immediately after. Don’t forget to lift your dog’s ear flaps and look there, too!

Why You Should Be Concerned About Ticks

Ticks transmit a number of diseases. These include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease. Each of these diseases are considered serious and require prompt veterinary care if they are to be treated successfully. If veterinary care is not sought, these diseases can be fatal.

The good news is that ticks must attach to your dog and then feed for at least 48 hours before Lyme disease can be contracted.

What You Can Do To Help Your Dog

There are a number of things that we offer here at Douds Veterinary Hospital to protect your dogs from ticks and the diseases that they transmit.

Frontline Tritak is a topical product that can protect your dog from ticks. NexGard is an oral chewable tablet that can do the same. Each of these products is administered every 30 days as preventive maintenance.

We are also happy to include the Lyme vaccine in your pet’s wellness plan. If your puppy or dog has never had a Lyme vaccination, please be aware that a booster will need to be administered three to four weeks after the first vaccine is given. Your pet will receive a yearly Lyme vaccination thereafter.

What To Do If You Find a Tick

If you find a tick crawling along on your dog’s fur, go ahead and catch it. If, on the other hand, you find a tick attached to your dog’s skin happily feasting away, resist the urge to pull it off quickly. You can easily detach the body from the head, leaving the head embedded in your dog’s skin.

For less than $10, you can get a tool called the Tick Twister. This handy little crowbar-shaped tool makes it simple to remove a tick from your dog safely. Once the tick is removed, simply drown it in a small container of rubbing alcohol and dispose of it.

We understand that removing ticks is not an everyday experience for many of our clients. If you find a tick on your dog and would rather that we handled the removal, just give us a call; we are happy to do it for you!