Living in rural New England, our canine and feline friends are consistently being exposed to ticks and without the application of a reputable flea/tick preventive they may end up having these pests latch onto them for a meal. Even if your furry family member only goes out into your back yard, you will put them at risk if you don’t take the necessary steps to protect them. In this article, we will discuss different types of ticks in our area, the common tick-borne illnesses we see here, and different options of flea/tick medication that we recommend.
You will often find ticks in thick grass or brush. Ticks do not thrive in hot, dry weather, although some still have shown to be active during that time. You may see more ticks during the cooler, moist days. During the winter, ticks can go dormant but that does not mean you will not see them all season long. We have seen fleas, mosquitoes and ticks right up through the winter which is why we recommend year-round application if flea/tick preventive.
There are more and more new species of tick found every year. We recommend the use of a reputable flea/tick prevention applied as often as the label recommends as well as daily grooming to look for ticks.
Here are a couple of the flea/tick preventions we carry at the West Greenwich Animal Hospital:
Nexgard (a once monthly oral flea/tick control used only for dogs)
Frontline Gold (once monthly topical application safe for dogs and cats)
K9 Advantix II (once monthly topical application for DOGS ONLY).
*BE AWARE* K9 Advantix is toxic to cats!
In the past we have found that many dogs have been exposed to Lyme disease, but roughly 15%-20% showed the symptoms: fever, swollen joints, and lameness . We offer a vaccine that we feel, when administered properly and combined with the appropriate use of flea/tick product, has been effective in lowering the number of Lyme disease positive dogs at our hospital. The number of tick-borne illnesses you and your pet could be exposed to continues to grow. Here at our hospital, we currently can test your dog for 3 of these tick-borne diseases:
Lyme Disease, Anaplasma (Anaplasma Phagocytophilum or A. Phago.), and Ehrlichia Canis (E. Canis).
All of these can have similar symptoms so be sure to call us if your pet seems lethargic, painful, or they just “seem off”. Your veterinarian may recommend treating your dog with a course of an antibiotic called Doxycycline when the patient first shows up positive on the test and/or is symptomatic. It is important to know that tick transmitted diseases can sometimes affect the kidneys. If your pet was positive for a tick-borne illness your veterinarian may request you drop off a urine sample to check for protein, the first sign of kidney damage caused by tick transmitted diseases.
For more helpful information, either click on the links below or copy and paste into your web browser.
Here is a chart of some commonly known ticks in our area: https://arlingtonanimalclinic.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/tick-identification-chart.jpg
For more information about ticks go to:
URI’s website: https://tickencounter.org/