Now that Lyme disease has been found in Ontario rural, urban and suburban areas, spotting a tick on your pet is far more than a nuisance. Lyme is a bacterial infection transmitted via the bite of certain species of ticks. Dogs are more likely to contact the disease than cats, but prevention is available for both. Here is what to be aware of and what we have to help keep your pet safe.
Recognizing the Symptoms
Ticks bit to suck blood. They latch onto your dog for their meal and can transmit serious diseases not just Lyme. These diseases are debilitating and sometimes fatal. Symptoms of tick disease include a red area where the tick attached (often not seen because of your pet’s fur), fever, limping, swelling of joints, lack of appetite and a general not feeling well.
Why visit the Vet
Even if you didn’t see the tick call us for an appointment if your pet shows any of these symptoms. A simple blood test called Accuplex can diagnose these diseases; treatment is usually a long course of antibiotics.
What do we have to protect your pet
Since tick-borne diseases are easier to PREVENT than treat, we can get your pet on a flea & tick prevention in the early spring. Ticks are prevalent form spring to fall now and we recommend 9 months of protection. Many products that are OK for dogs can be toxic to cats, so prescription treatments are more effective and safer than pet store products.
Prevention comes in a variety of forms.
Chewable tablets that are given once monthly or once every 3 months come in flavor chew that are easy to give. These products include dog-safe insecticides that enter your dog’s bloodstream and kill the tick when they bite your pet. Ticks are not transmitting Lyme disease until they have been attached to your pet for 48 hours and the oral chews are killing the ticks within the first 24 hours.
Topical medications are applied once monthly to your pet’s skin. This insecticide is stored within the glands of your dog’s skin and kills the tick on contact.
Keep your pet safe. Do a tick check if you have been out in tall grassy, bushy areas with your dog. Run your hands over your dog’s body, especially in tick favourite hangouts like head, ears and paws. Tick twisters are available at Big Bay Animal Hospital if you want to remove them at home, but don’t hesitate to bring your pet in for us to take care of the nasty little critter.
Keep your pet on prevention from March until November for your best safety option.