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Tick Season and Your Pets


Ticks bite, feed on blood, and sometimes carry diseases. They do not fly or jump, but crawl. Ticks are common in overgrown and wooded areas.  They generally find their way onto us or our pets when we brush against low-level plants or vegetation. These areas are the places my dogs love to romp in when we are on a walk. 

Ticks are small and can be hard to notice, so it is important to not only look for ticks on yourself, but your kids and your pets as well.  Make it a habit to examine your pet’s skin. When biting, a tick burrows its head into the skin.  This means that the only visible part is its body, which grows larger as it feeds on your pet’s blood. To reduce the spread of disease to your pet it is important to remove the tick as soon as it is discovered.  To remove a tick, using tweezers grasp the tick close to the skin, squeeze and gently pull it out without twisting so the head comes out too.

If your pet is bitten by a tick, that tick can transmit several diseases. Like humans, dogs and cats can suffer from Lyme Disease (transmitted via Deer Ticks), a bacterial infection.  The tell-tale sign is a bulls-eye rash, often missed due to a pet’s furry coat.  Other symptoms may include fatigue, pain or stiffness in muscles and joints, fever, swollen glands. Later stages, if left untreated, can include arthritis, heart and nervous system disorders. The treatment for Lyme Disease is the same in pets as it is in humans, antibiotics. 

A tip to finding ticks on pets is having a specific sleep area for them. It is easier to spot an engorged tick when it falls off your pet.  It is best if the tick doesn’t fully feed and to stop this your pet should be on a product that will kill the tick when it starts to feed.  There are many safe and effective flea and tick control products available, and our veterinarian can help you choose the correct preventive based on your pet’s risk factors and health.

I encourage people to groom their longhaired dogs and cats during the “tick months” to better spot a tick on your pet’s fur or at the hair shaft. Keeping the tick population down around your home is critical.  Cut the grass, move wood piles, and move bird feeders away from your home and the areas your dogs or cats visit.  The secret to a tick-free summer is to be vigilant…trim the grass, check your pet, and act quickly to remove any of those nasty arachnoids.

Maya Richmond is Executive Director of the Animal Welfare Association (AWA) located in Voorhees, NJ. AWA operates a public spay/neuter and basic wellness clinic. You can purchase flea/tick products from their clinic. Lyme vaccines are also provided for your dogs. For more information call 856-424-2288 or visit www.awanj.org.

As Seen in Camden County Woman

 

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