Tick Season is Upon Us
Illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites are on the rise in the United States, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Lyme disease is the most frequent tick-borne infection in America. Over 300,000 cases of Lyme Disease are estimated to occur in the United States each year. The ticks that transmit Lyme Disease are very small (as small as poppy seeds). So how to get rid of ticks, and what diseases do they carry? What are some prevention techniques?
What about in Oregon – how do we protect our dogs?
According to the Oregon Vet Medical Association, “The Companion Animal Parasite Council’s interactive map shows Lyme disease activity in each Oregon county. Woods that host the Western black-legged tick are where the majority of cases occur. In 2016, 103 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Oregon dogs. Most cases occur in the summer months.”
According to a Fox article and Dr. Norman of Bethany Family Pet Clinic, there is another tick you need to be aware of this summer.
“The deer tick is of special concern in Oregon,” he explained. “That tick is very common in the areas west of the Cascades, in the Columbia Gorge and in southern Oregon.
But he says ticks are also popping up in urban backyards, so prevention is key for every dog owner, whether you go hiking or not.”
Dr. Norman says the type of tick we see locally can spread three diseases: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis, which can cause serious health issues.
So Lyme Disease, for those unfamiliar with this infection, is something that should be on your radar this summer if you plan to hike with your dogs in Oregon or Washington.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease affecting both dogs and humans. Named after Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease was reported in epidemic proportions in the mid-1970s, the disease was first discovered in the United States in humans in 1975 and in dogs in 1984.
An infected tick must be attached to the host for more than 24 hours to spread Lyme disease.
Symptoms: A small, dark bump in a pet’s coat or skin may be a tick. If a tick latches on, your dog may experience the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced energy
- Lameness (can be shifting, intermittent, and recurring)
- Generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain
- Swelling of joints
How can you prevent Lyme Disease?
And how should you protect your pets?
- Create a tick-free habitat in your yard and eliminate rodents like mice. Forty to ninety percent of white-footed mice carry Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
- Enjoy the outdoors safely – stay away from tall grass and brush as that’s where the ticks are! They cannot fly, but they crawl to the top of tall blades of grass and wait.
- Make sure your pets are protected – there are various products -tick repellents are very important.
How to get rid of ticks? Tick prevention products we recommend:
Check out their Organic Flea and Tick Wipe-on Defense Formulated for Dogs
- Perform tick checks after coming in from the outdoors. Do tick inspections. Look in your dog’s armpits and ears as they like to latch on in fleshy areas.
- Know how to remove ticks. According to the OVMA:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure to ease the entire tick, including the tick’s mouth parts. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin.
- Be sure to wash the bite area and your hands.
- Please seek the advice of your veterinarian if you were unsuccessful in removing the entire tick.
Remove a tick in the first 24 hours and save the tick so your veterinarian can identify it, as this will help with the diagnosis.
Prevention is best done with tick preparations available at one of our three stores. Speak to one of our staff to find the best, most appropriate product for your dog. We are happy to help!
The information provided in this article on how to get rid of ticks is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.