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Ticks the Season!

We know: no one wants to hear about ticks. They are foul, disturbing and spread diseases; this is precisely why you should be arming your pet against them.

What is a tick?

Ticks are external parasites that can cause discomfort to your pet and also severe disease. There are about 850 tick species, some of which are capable of transmitting diseases such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Ticks start to come out as soon as the temperature gets above 4 degrees Celsius.

What do I do if I find a tick on my pet?

Though ticks are more commonly seen on dogs, it is possible for cats to get infected. If you find a tick on your pet, do not use your hands. There are two different ways to remove ticks from your pet. The first option is by using tweezers. Try to get as close as you possibly can to your pet’s skin. Gently pull the tick upwards, adding pressure until the tick lets you pull it away from the skin. Dispose of the tick by killing it with rubbing alcohol, or just flushing it down the toilet. The second option is to use a tick twister. Just like the tweezers, gently pull upwards until the ticks let you pull it away from the skin. Most importantly, consult with your veterinarian if you detect ticks on your pet. Your veterinarian will help you prevent future infestation by recommending proper treatment.

How can I prevent ticks?

There are many easy and effective tick control products. A monthly chewable tablet, known as Nexgard will kill ticks quickly and effectively, and continue protecting your pet from a flea and tick infestation for a full 30 days. Generally, these chews are given from April through November. There is a topical option, which is applied directly to the skin, usually between the shoulder blades or behind the neck. There is also a tablet that lasts three months.

It is important to do a regular tick check for your pet during tick season. Brush your fingers through the fur, while applying enough pressure to feel any small bumps. Be sure to check between the toes, behind the ears, under armpits and around the tail and head area. Ticks can be found anywhere, even if your dog does not go into wooded or grassy areas since they are falling off birds such as robins and Canada geese. Try to keep your lawn mowed since long grass can provide a breeding ground for ticks. Be sure to check yourselves too after walks to make sure you didn’t pick up a tick.

Written by Centretown Veterinary Hospital