You Found a Tick on Your Dog…Should You be Concerned?
The more you’re exposed to something, the more comfortable you are with it, right? Not so with ticks. Because they’re known to pass dangerous diseases to animals and people, they’re perceived as nightmarish, blood-sucking parasites – no matter how many times you’ve seen one.
If you have yet to find a tick on your dog, you’re quite lucky. As we approach the summer months, the likelihood of a tick encounter skyrockets. Recognizing risk factors and practicing disease prevention are key to keeping your pup in tip-top shape.
While ticks are stealthy, blood-sucking parasites, it’s the horrible diseases they transmit to their hosts that truly inspire fear and disgust. The rate at which dogs are exposed to ticks increases every year, along with diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis.
All in the Timing
From the time a tick attaches itself to a host and the moment of infection varies between a couple of hours to a couple of days. Clinical symptoms of Lyme disease may not crop up for months. General signs include:
- Swollen joints
- Loss of appetite
- Skin lesions
A Tick on Your Dog
Finding a tick on your dog can create sheer panic. Because it can be very difficult (and dangerous) to remove a tick yourself, we recommend that you give us a call. Complete removal of an embedded tick is crucial to reduce associated complications. Also, we can test for infection and help protect your dog’s health without delay.
If the thought of finding a tick on your dog is truly unsettling, please take steps toward total parasite prevention. The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center recommend Bravecto, NexGard, and Revolution for flea and tick. While these medications won’t prevent a tick from latching onto your dog, nearly 98% of ticks die within 48 hours of exposure to these preventives.
This simple measure not only protects your pet, but if an infected tick finds its way inside the home, you and your family could be its next target.
Additionally, if your dog’s lifestyle requires the Lyme disease vaccine, we can discuss this during your pet’s next wellness exam. Likewise, when it comes to early detection and effective treatment, yearly screening for the disease is equally important.
We also recommend the following practices to limit your dog’s exposure:
- Discourage your dog from wandering off forested pathways.
- Following any time spent in wooded or grassy areas, inspect your dog’s chest, back, ears, legs, feet, and belly for any ticks.
- Maintain a manicured lawn, and trim back any overgrown areas that can harbor ticks.
- Reduce access to your yard so deer, raccoons, and other tick-carrying animals cannot enter; always ensure compost piles and trash bins are closed securely to deter any curious wild animals.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Finding a tick on your dog is never fun, but we’re always here to help!