Like time bombs in the grass, these little creatures can attack your pet at any time.
You’ve just had a lovely afternoon walking through the woods with your favourite, four-legged buddy. You bend down to give him a good head scratch and you notice a small brown intruder stuck behind Rover’s ear. The dreaded tick! In Chatham-Kent this is a very real threat due to our high population of white-tailed deer and wild turkeys, both of which spread ticks to areas that once were not considered home to these little pests.
Most of us know that ticks can carry Lyme disease, but did you know they can also infect your pet with other diseases such as anaplasmosis, which is an infection of the white blood cells. Not all ticks carry these diseases, but it only takes one infected tick to hurt your pet. And don’t forget to look after yourself! If you ever find a tick on your pet, you should also check yourself and your family for infection.
To protect your pet, your family and yourself, first find out what kind of ticks is a threat in the area where you walk with your pets or where they roam on their own. Then talk to a CK Veterinarian about preventives, including topical medication, tick collars and vaccines for Lyme disease. But don’t put all your faith in the preventive; no one type is 100% effective. You should also have your dog tested annually for vector-borne diseases.
If your pet tests positive? Don’t panic. Treatments are available to help your dog or cat live a long, active life.
Check for ticks every day, especially in spring, summer and fall. Sweep your fingers through their fur using a small amount of pressure so you can feel any small bumps. Check between toes, behind ears, under armpits and around the head and tail, too.
If you feel a bump, separate the hair and check for a tick that may range in size from a black or dark brown pinhead to a grey-white grape, depending on how long it has been attached and engorged itself.
How to Remove:
1 – Use tweezers to grasp the tick very close to your pet’s skin.
2 – With a fluid motion, pull the tick from your pet’s skin using slow and steady traction. Don’t crush the insect or it could spread infection. Be careful to get the whole tick. Sometimes they break and part of the pest is still in your pet’s skin.
3 – Clean your pet’s skin with warm, soapy water. Kill the tick with alcohol and then dispose of it.
Note: Don’t believe your friend’s neighbour’s cousin that says to use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish or other harsh substances to remove the tick. These tactics may lead the tick to release saliva full of disease, which could hurt you and your pet even more.
Ticks in the grass could be ticking time bombs! Be on the lookout for them and care for your pets… and yourself!