What is Ticks and Tick Control?
Many pet owners are aware of the dangers of tick bites and the reality that locating a tick on your dog can be difficult. Often the discovery is made after the ectoparasite has been on your pet for a few days, simply because the tick is easier to spot as it grows in size. Tick control can be a year-round necessity, depending on your location. There are many types of ticks native to North America and these ticks have the capability to transmit disease within hours of attaching themselves to the host, which is your pet. The signs that a tick-borne illness has been transmitted to your dog may not show up for a week to three weeks after the bite. Some of the diseases that can be transmitted are tularemia, rickettsiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme, and ehrlichiosis. The consequences of disease can be serious.
Ticks are blood-sucking ectoparasites capable of transmitting serious diseases to people, to our canine friends, and to other animal species. The importance of tick control is very important in the veterinary world, as the knowledge of the harm this species can inflict is expanding day by day. It is vital that you protect your family pet from ticks in order to avoid illnesses such as tick paralysis and secondary bacterial infections.
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Symptoms of Ticks and Tick Control in Dogs
Your canine companion will most likely not exhibit any symptoms at all that will indicate that he is hosting tick and playing a part of the life journey of this pest on his body. The tick can be very minute in size when first attached, before continually growing until you find and remove it or the tick detaches itself. Symptoms of illness can appear within 7 days but can also take a few weeks to emerge. Just a few of the symptoms you will see in relation to these diseases are listed here.
- Pain in the abdomen
- Enlarged lymph nodes
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Appetite loss
- Swollen joints
- Runny eyes and nose
- Nose bleed
- Poor appetite
There are about 850 blood-sucking tick species worldwide, making this pest only second to the mosquito in terms of importance to veterinarians as they pertain to disease transmission. The amount of pathogens that they carry are great; just a very few of the types of ticks found in North America are the Rocky mountain wood tick, the eastern and western black-legged or deer tick, the Gulf coast tick, the brown tick, and the American dog tick.
Causes of Ticks and Tick Control in Dogs
Ticks and their spread are becoming more and more of a concern as the ectoparasites expand their geographical territory.
- Ticks can live in homes and kennels
- This pest can be found in wooded areas frequented by wildlife
- Open fields with tall grasses are favored spots of ticks also
- Climate can be a factor in the abundance of the population
- Many species thrive in heat and humidity
- Ticks are learning to adapt to the environment and are moving farther north
Diagnosis of Ticks and Tick Control in Dogs
If you are not comfortable removing the tick from your dog on your own, let the veterinarian do it for you. Either way, you may want to have the tick sent to a diagnostic laboratory to determine the type. Removal can be tricky and must done properly or there is the risk of leaving a section of the tick behind, embedded in your pet’s skin. Your veterinarian can instruct you at the same time how to remove ticks safely for future occurrences. Removal is done with tweezers, taking care to pull upward with a steady movement while extracting the entire body of the pest. Detaching the tick as soon as possible is important in order to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission.
If your dog is ill and you do not find a tick, the veterinarian may find a rash in the bite area or a wound where the tick was attached. Depending on whether your pet has additional symptoms of a tick-borne disease, there may be a need for further testing.
Treatment of Ticks and Tick Control in Dogs
If your pet has a few ticks on his body, the veterinarian will remove them with the tweezers. She may also apply alcohol to the area afterward in order to clean the bite location. For an infestation of ticks, the best treatment is to apply a product called an acaricide which is poisonous to ticks and mites. If your pet has been found to have an illness transmitted to by the tick, treatment will be given accordingly.
Recovery of Ticks and Tick Control in Dogs
The importance of the dangers of ticks should be taken seriously. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe the right product for your canine companion. Tick control can come in the form of a collar, oral medication or topical spot-on product. It is imperative that directions are closely adhered to. Toxicity to tick control products is possible if the medication dose is mistaken for example. There have also been cases of adverse reactions by pets to tick medicine, which stresses the importance of using products verified as safe by the veterinarian. There are products out there that are promoted to be all natural; if you prefer to try these control methods, be sure to let your veterinarian know and get her opinion first.
As for your home and yard, to effectively deter the tick keep your grass cut closely and do not allow branches and leaves to pile up around the home. During heavy tick season (warm spring and summer months) keep your pet on a leash and do not allow him to roam freely in areas where ticks may be flourishing.
Ticks and Tick Control Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
We have found a tick crawling on our golden retriever’s head two times in the last 10 days. He takes a monthly flea and tick control medicine year round. Can he be bitten? Infected? What should we do?
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I believe I've found a tick embedded under the skin, located on my dogs ear. I'm wondering if i should attempt removing it myself or wait until morning and contact my vet?
It is best to remove ticks as soon as possible; but it needs to be done correctly. If you just pull on a tick, you may detach the body from the mouth parts which may remain and cause irritation and infection; the best way is to slowly twist the tick until they let go (I find two and a half twists is sufficient) but don’t pull. Otherwise, visit your Veterinarian (or groomer) as soon as possible to have the tick removed; you will also need to look out for signs of tick borne disease like fever, pain, vomiting, loss of appetite etc… Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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