Blum’s Services: Pet Tick Prevention
Ticks are just as irritating as fleas but can be even more dangerous, since they spread various diseases to both animals and humans. Keeping them out of reach of your pet is essential to preventing the spread of tick-borne illnesses and allowing your pet to live a healthy, comfortable life.
- Lyme disease: Caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi carried by ticks, Lyme disease causes symptoms that include lameness, joint swelling, fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Lyme is a zoonotic disease, meaning it affects both animals and humans.
- Anaplasmosis: Anaplasmosis can cause symptoms similar to Lyme disease—joint pain, lameness, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. It is also a zoonotic disease.
- Ehrlichiosis: The signs of Ehrlichiosis infection may include swollen lymph nodes, fever, difficulty breathing, and weight loss.
- Babesiosis: This disease affects the red blood cells. Clinical signs include fever, weakness, unusually dark urine, and pale mucous membranes. This disease may not yield noticeable symptoms but in other cases, an infection may result in sudden collapse from systemic shock.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: This disease is not as common, but it can affect both dogs and humans. Symptoms are vague but often include fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle or joint pain, and lack of appetite.
How to Keep Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases at Bay
Dogs and cats should receive tick prevention regularly, and all throughout the year. Not only does it kill ticks, but it can also prevent them from infecting your pet with diseases, ensuring maximum protection. Still, there are additional steps you can take to reduce your pet’s chances of encountering a tick:
- Avoid walking your pet in or allowing them to wander through fields of tall grass or through wooded areas with shrubs and low-hanging branches/leaves
- If you have a decent spread of land on your property, make sure to clear away tall grasses and brush
- Check your pet’s coat (including their ears and between their paw pads) for ticks—be sure to check your clothes and socks, too!
If you find a tick on your pet, be sure to remove it carefully and with tweezers. Ticks anchor themselves to their host by burying their heads under the skin. Gently pull the tick upward from as close to your pet’s skin as possible to ensure that the entire tick gets removed. Try to avoid squeezing the tick.