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Ticks!!!

The US Department of Agriculture expects a record nationwide tick outbreak this year for all ticks. This is because last winter was the warmest winter ever. Though a bumper crops of ticks is projected, the possible impact on people's and pet's health cannot be determined. The tick season varies across the country.

The obvious conclusion of an increase in cases of tick borne illnesses is not so obvious or simple. Unlike mosquitoes, ticks do not inject their saliva into their hosts when they feed. The bacteria for Lyme disease takes between 36 and 48 hours to pass from tick to host. Early removal of biting ticks greatly reduces the chances of you or your pet becoming infected. While there will almost certainly be more tick bites this season, vigilance can keep the number of infections down. On the other hand, ticks find it much easier to hide in your pet's fur implying that Fido and Felicia will be at higher risk this season.

The CDC monitors other Tick Borne Diseases in addition to Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Between the expected bumper crop of ticks and the potential for tick borne diseases, it is more important than ever that you treat your pet with a modern, effective tick preventative.

No tick preventative prevents ticks from jumping on and biting your pet. Instead, tick preventatives work by killing the tick after it bites. Since the dead ticks fall off soon after, there is almost no chance of transmission of disease.

The key to preventing tick borne illnesses consists entirely of removing all ticks both from yourself and your pet{s} as soon as possible.

Tick Tips:

  • Surface treatment sprays/flea & tick shampoos: These are intended solely to kill ticks on infested animals. They have no significant tick deterrent. Dead biting ticks still need to be manually removed.

  • Biting Tick Removal: Never use folk remedies like painting with nail polish or other treatment and then allowing the tick to die and fall off. These take too long increasing risk of infection. Ticks must be removed sooner rather than later. Use tweezers or your fingers to pinch a tick straight out as soon as possible. When using your fingers, wear gloves to avoid possibly infecting yourself.

  • Yard Treatments: While yard insecticides are available for controlling ticks, it's actually more important to keep your yard properly mowed. Ticks prefer knee high or higher grasses and other vegetation to make the jump to a passing potential host. Most tick bites occur while walking through meadows or low brush areas.

  • Chews and topical pet medications: We only recommend modern, prescription required chews and spot applications. This is because older tick preventatives are simply not as effective as they used to be. Many older preventatives only last 2 to 3 weeks instead of the full 4 weeks from when first introduced. Due to state law, we can only issue pet prescriptions for established patients. This means each of your pets need to be established within the last 12 months with us or another Veterinarian before we can issue a prescription for them. This is a legal requirement. Please do not ask us to make an exception.

Always read, understand and follow all instructions for all sprays, medications and insecticides used!

Resources:

 US Department of Agriculture - USDA's Blog entry on this years expected tick population.

 Tick Borne Diseases  - CDC's list of all tick borne disease they currently monitor.

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