Tick season is upon us! Let’s talk about the best ways of preventing our dogs from getting a tick borne disease. First, what are the tick borne diseases that we are typically concerned about? Lyme disease is transmitted by a Blacklegged Tick (otherwise commonly known as a Deer Tick in our area) that can cause fever, lameness, joint inflammation, as well as pain, lethargy, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, Lyme disease can result in kidney failure. Ehrlichiosis is carried by the Lone Star Tick, the Brown Dog Tick, and the American Dog Tick. This disease can cause symptoms such as decreased appetite, fever, and bruising or anemia. Anaplasmosis can also be transmitted by the Blacklegged Tick and has similar symptoms to both Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis. Symptoms of each of these diseases can take about 7-21 days to appear, and sometimes you will not notice symptoms until months later.
Luckily, preventing tick borne diseases is easy!
The first step in prevention is testing. A visit to your regular veterinarian and a simple blood test will determine if your pet is already infected. If not, a monthly preventative can be prescribed.
There are a few types of tick preventatives to think about depending upon your lifestyle and comfort level. Your veterinary team will be happy to go over your options and make recommendations. There are a few factors to consider when deciding between a topical or oral preventative.
When a topical flea and tick preventative is applied, it is absorbed through the skin and then delivered through your pet’s bloodstream. Topicals also repel fleas and ticks! This method usually needs to be reapplied every 30 days. Waiting for at least 24 hours after the topical is applied is usually advised for bathing or swimming.
When an oral flea and tick preventative is used, your dog has to be bitten by the flea or tick for the medication to be effective and does not repel them. These types of preventatives can be great for dogs that are in the water a lot, or that live in a home with cats, as many topicals can be toxic to felines.
Regardless of which route you choose, you can have peace of mind that you are protecting your furry friend and can fully enjoy the warmer weather together!
Sources: akc.org, idexx.com, petcoach.co and petmd.com