As I write this blog, it is a balmy 43 degrees outside. The snow finally all melted just a few days ago, birds are starting to chirp again, and the grass is starting to change from completely brown in color to signs intermittent shades of green. All this to say: Spring is finally here!...and so are the bugs :(
Al, one of Dr. Christina's favorite K9 friends & Creature Comfort Care LLC mascot, was unfortunately kissed by multiple ticks yesterday. And if you know anything about ticks, when they "kiss", they literally attach to the pet. They lay down a cement- like substance that adheres to the top layers of the skin. They don't like to let go until they've sucked out enough blood to engorge themselves like a plump raisin: YUCK!
As if that weren't bad enough, ticks can transmit lots of bad diseases thru their saliva, such as Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, and more! When the vampire- like tick attaches to a pet, it sucks blood; As the tick gets full, it often regurgitates and some of its' saliva into the pet and this is how ticks can transmit diseases.
As a veterinarian, I've seen multiple pets die painfully from tick bourne diseases and the ramifications from them. So get apply tick preventative (most are monthly, topical treatments) now, and go thru December or when we have a hard freeze. If you know you have a high incidence of ticks by where you live or if you like to go up North with your pups, it is best to get them vaccinated for Lyme disease.
If your dog has a tick an embedded tick, best to get some gloves on before handling the nasty bug. Next, clean the area with rubbing alcohol and use tweezers to get as close to the skin as possible. Pull up and out with even pressure; don't squeeze of twist the tick, as doing this may "tick off the tick" and cause it to regurgitate saliva, or the head of the tick may fall off all together and be left behind in the pet.
If your pet has been bitten by a tick, it is best to tell your veterinarian- they will likely recommend a blood test to screen for tick transmitted diseases. Lyme disease, one of the most well know tick transmitted diseases can causing joint soreness, fever, kidney damage, and all around causes pets' to feel painful and "Bla".