Creature Comforts: Is Your Dog “Ticked Off?”

Now that I’ve got your attention:- let’s talk about that common parasite-the tick.

Here at Creatures pet store, we’ve been hearing from many local pet owners that they’ve found a tick on their pet/livestock already this season.

Ticks can be found anywhere, from the deep woods to urban parks. Unfortunately dogs become infected with serious diseases transmitted by ticks. Diseases like ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and others – which are generally known as vector-borne diseases. The symptoms of these diseases are usually hard to detect until it’s causing your pet to suffer. The risk ticks pose to your pet(s) can easily be minimized by topical medications or tick collars and daily checks. 

There are many types of ticks, but the most common in our area are the deer tick and the western black-legged tick. These two can transmit Lynme Disease.  “Lyme disease is an infection of the tissues that often leads to lameness. Lyme disease is zoonotic and can be very serious for both people and pets. In general, symptoms in dogs are difficult to detect and may not appear until several months after infection. Also, symptoms may come and go and can mimic other health conditions. Cases vary from mild to severe with severe cases sometimes resulting in kidney failure and death.” A dog infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs, but some of the more common ones are: spontaneous and shifting leg lameness that lasts 3–4 days, sometimes accompanied by loss of appetite and depression; reluctance to move & fatigue.

Check your dog for ticks every day especially during tick season: SPRING, summer and fall. Run your fingers through the fur applying enough pressure to feel any small bumps. Be sure to check between toes, behind ears, under armpits and around the tail and head, too. If you feel a bump, pull the fur apart to see what’s there. A tick that has embedded itself in your dog will vary in size from that of a pinhead to a grape depending on how long it’s been attached. Ticks are usually black or dark brown in color but will turn a grayish-white after feeding in what’s referred to as an engorged state.

Removing embedded ticks is a delicate procedure because it’s easy for a piece of the tick to break off and remain in the skin. Consider taking your pet to a veterinarian who can safely perform the task and show you how it’s done. Infection can occur after 24 hours, so if you find a tick, remove it right away.  To do it yourself, wear gloves to protect yourself from possible injury or infection, then with a fine-tipped pair of tweezers, grasp the tick very close to the skin; with a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin; (try to avoid crushing the tick to prevent infection.) After removal, clean your pet’s skin with soap and warm water and dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.

Never use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish or other products to remove a tick. Doing so can cause further harm or cause the tick to release more disease-carrying saliva. Also, if you do find a tick on your pet, check your entire family too. Creatures carries topical flea AND TICK killing treatments, collars for dogs, powder for livestock and the easy to use tool called “Ticked-Off” for easy removal. Store hours are Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-5, Sun 12-4!