Is your pet ready for tick season?
Many pet owners in New York City don’t give much thought to ticks, or the threats ticks can pose to their pets. However, you shouldn’t let living in the city lull you into a false sense of security. Ticks bite pets in the city all the time, and since tick season is in full swing, it’s important be in the know about ticks and the dangers they can pose. That’s why our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens has set out to provide you with the information you need in this guide, including the risks ticks carry for pets, how pets get ticks, how to treat ticks and how to prevent ticks.
What kind of dangers do ticks pose to pets?
Ticks are parasites that firmly attach themselves to their hosts by their mouthparts, which have spines and curved teeth, where they can stay for days if left unnoticed, feeding on the blood of your pet. The location of the tick bite is likely to be irritated and red, and if a tick feeds on enough of your pet’s blood, it could eventually lead to anemia. But, the real threats ticks pose are the diseases they can pass on.
- Ehrlichiosis – There are many different forms of Ehrlichiosis, and it can be transmitted by a number of species of ticks, including brown dog ticks and lone star ticks. Two of the most common forms are Ehrlichia canis, which is an infection of the white blood cells that can impact the production of blood cells and the function of bone marrow, and Ehrlichia ewingii, which is an infection of the blood cells that can cause joint pain and eventually lameness.
- Lyme Disease – Lyme disease is carried by the western black-legged tick and the deer tick, and it’s an infection of the tissue. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fatigue, reluctance to move and shifting or spontaneous leg lameness that can last for three to four days. Lyme disease can be mild, but in severe cases, it can lead to kidney failure or even death.
- Babesiosis – Babesiosis is spread by brown ticks and the American dog tick, and though it can be found all over the globe, here in the United States, it’s most prevalent in New England. Symptoms include fever, dark urine, weakness and swollen lymph nodes.
- Anaplasmosis – Anaplasmosis is often referred to as “dog fever,” and it is carried by deer ticks, like Lyme disease. The symptoms of dog fever are quite similar to Lyme disease as well, only it can also cause diarrhea and vomiting. In severe cases, seizures can also occur.
How do pets get ticks?
For people that live near the woods or in the country, it’s a lot easier to understand how their pets get ticks, but how do pets get ticks here in New York City? Here are the most common ways even city pets get ticks:
- You! – Have you recently gone on a hike or spent a little time camping in the woods? There’s a possibility for you to transfer a tick into your home and onto your pet without even realizing it.
- Other Pets and Animals – Whether you take your pet to daycare while you’re gone for the day or you let them romp around in the dog park, being around other pets means your pet could pick up a tick. Additionally, raccoons, squirrels and rodents can all carry ticks as well.
- The Outdoors – Ticks don’t just exist in the woods. They can thrive in any outdoor area. So whether you’re walking your pet around the blocks or letting them roam the park, they could get ticks.
How can you treat and get rid of ticks?
If your pet has just one tick, the most common way to remove it is by grasping it firmly by the head with a pair of tweezers, and steadily and gently removing it. Once removed, dab the area with a disinfectant, and place the tick in alcohol to kill it. However, if your pet has several ticks, you might try one of these other methods:
- NexGard® – NexGard is an FDA approved chew that contains an ingredient called afoxolaner. Afoxolaner kills any fleas or ticks fast, and it will keep working for a full month. NexGard is the number one tick preventative recommended by veterinarians.
- Spot-On Treatments – Spot-on treatments are quick to apply and can provide protection from ticks for an entire month. They can be used both to kill and prevent ticks.
- Oral Medications – Oral medications help to kill and prevent ticks, and it is given once a month.
- Tick Collars – Tick collars help to keep ticks away by emitting a pest-repelling gas. However, they also kill any ticks that may be present, making them both a preventative and treatment for ticks.
What can you do to prevent ticks?
Don’t wait until your pet gets ticks before you start taking steps to eliminate the problem. Taking a preventative approach to ticks will help to keep your pet healthier and your bank account happier. Plus, many of the same products that can be used to eliminate ticks can also be used to prevent them, so there is no shortage of options when it comes to tick prevention.
Are you worried your pet might have a health problem from being bitten by a tick? Do you have questions or concerns about how to treat or prevent ticks? Contact us at The Vet Set today!