Posts Tagged how to get rid of ticks
Earlier this week one of my coworkers had to take her dog, Belle, to the vet for a routine checkup. While testing Belle’s blood for her annual heartworm test, the vet ran tests for Lyme and Ehrlichiosis because of the high number of ticks this season. While Belle wasn’t displaying any symptoms of a tick-borne illness, tests showed that she did indeed have Ehrlichiosis. Luckily, Belle is on her way to a full recovery through a series of antibiotics.
Ehrlichiosis is transmitted to dogs through the bite of brown dog ticks. Brown dog ticks are present throughout the United States and primarily feed on dogs, but do sometimes bite people. Unlike other ticks, they are commonly found indoors hiding in cracks, under rugs and furniture and on walls. Brown dog ticks are often called kennel ticks because they were commonly found in kennels across the U.S.
Once infected with Ehrlichiosis, there are three phases of the disease. The first, the acute state, starts a few weeks after transmission and lasts for up to a month. While some dogs may have lower blood counts during this time, the most common symptom is fever.
The second phase is called the subclinical phase and has no outward symptoms. In many cases, dogs stay in this phase for years, if not the rest of their life. While they are infected with the bacteria, they show no outward signs and some canines are able to successfully fight off the disease.
The third and most serious phase of Ehrlichiosis is the chronic stage. Dogs in the chronic phase will show symptoms including, weight loss, pale gums, lameness and coughing. In rare cases, when the dog doesn’t respond to treatment, Ehrlichiosis can be fatal.
Belle’s vet told my coworker that this year, as compared to the past, has brought a higher number of Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis diagnoses in canines. While dogs respond well to treatment for both diseases, the best way to protect your furry friend from becoming ill is to protect them against tick bites. Topical tick medication will kill (and sometimes repel depending on your brand) ticks when they bite your dog. If you want added protection, try tick control in your yard. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray and tick tubes will get to the ticks, before they get to our dogs. Contact your local Squad if you want to learn more about our tick control options.
If you are worried that your dog may have contracted a tick-borne disease, make sure to ask your vet to do a blood test on your next visit.
And just because no dog post is complete without a picture of a dog and I don’t have a picture of Belle, here’s one of Wiley and his big ears.
Global warming has been a hot topic the past few years resulting in a greater awareness of Mother Nature, her ever-changing status, and what we can do to protect her. According to PlanetSave, a blog focused on saving the planet, global warming could lead to the extinction of over a million species. Ticks, however, is not one of them.
Ticks thrive in warmer weather. Whether it’s the heat of the summer or dead of winter, ticks can become active anytime the temperature rises over 40 degrees and there isn’t snow and ice on the ground. For many areas around the country, that’s the case right now.
With ticks coming out earlier in the year and staying later, their population has increased in many areas, resulting in more cases of tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease. On a recent warm day here in Virginia a friend of mine asked me if I continue to give my dog flea and tick medication throughout the winter. The answer is yes as you never know when a tick is on that plant my four-legged friend is sniffing so intently. Depending on where you live, it’s important to protect yourself, your kids and your pets from ticks all year round (for those of you in states with inches of snow right now, you’re safe).
How can you protect yourself from ticks and the illnesses they carry? It’s all about being observant and proactive:
- If you are going outdoors, wear light colored and loose clothing that covers the majority of your body. Ticks’ dark bodies are easier to see on a light background.
- Check yourself. Check your clothing and skin for ticks when coming indoors. Make sure to check those hard-to-see areas like behind the ears, armpits, etc.
- Remove all ticks immediately. Here’s a guide to remove ticks properly from the CDC. Record the date and location of the bite and place the tick in a baggie if you can in case you notice any symptoms in the future.
Ticks are small, but they can be big trouble. If you want to rid your yard of ticks, contact Mosquito Squad. Our tick tube application will get to the ticks before they get to you.