Ask the Vet: Protecting Your Dog from Ticks

August 9, 2017

There are many delightful things about spending time with your dog during autumn’s cooler weather, from hikes in the woods to excursions to the local farmer’s market.

One not so delightful aspect? Ticks and other pests that can cause discomfort or disease to your dog. As you may know, ticks can carry some dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, Erlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. So if you live in an area that is prone to ticks, it’s imperative that you look and feel for ticks on your dog daily if they go outside. And while we might see an increase in the warmer months, ticks are really a year-round concern. So don’t let your guard down just because the weather is a little cooler.

The most important thing to do is get your dog on a good tick preventative, such as Nexguard. Also, you should always immediately remove a tick if you find one on your dog. If you have doubts you were able to remove the entire thing, get to your veterinarian who can help get it out. If a tick is attached to a dog’s skin for less than 24 hours, the chances of disease being transmitted are much smaller.

Here are some other things to keep in mind to keep your pet safe from ticks:

  • Talk to your family veterinarian about tick preventatives that can be applied topically or taken orally
  • Vaccines against Lyme disease are available. Discuss this option also with your family veterinarian to see if it is appropriate for your area.
  • Lameness, lethargy, fever, swollen joints, vomiting and diarrhea are all signs of tick borne diseases such as Erlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. If your dog begins exhibiting any of these symptoms, get to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Your veterinarian will need to order bloodwork in order to make a diagnosis. Treatment is typically antibiotics such as Doxycycline.
  • If not caught quickly, chronic problems can result, such as arthritis and kidney disease.
  • If a tick bites an infected dog and then bites a person, that tick born disease can also be transmitted to people. This is another reason to ensure your pets are free from ticks and the diseases they can spread.

Enjoy your autumn and stay safe!

By Kristina DePaula, DVM, DACVECC – Medical Director, BluePearl Veterinary Partners – Waltham. Written in partnership with NEADS.

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