As we welcome October and the beauty of the cavalcade of colour that it brings to Muskoka we must remember to protect ourselves and our pets from the risks of contacting tick borne illness.
Where would my dog or cat become exposed to ticks?
Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf, blade of grass, or short tree. Here they wait until their sensors detect an approaching animal on which to crawl or drop on to (ticks cannot jump). Keeping animals from thick underbrush reduces their exposure to ticks. Dogs should be kept on trails when walked near wooded or tall grass areas. We recommend topical tick prevention for your dog if it is going to be in high-risk areas, and if you are concerned about Lyme disease. Call us to find out details on this product.
How do I remove a tick?
If you find a tick moving on your pet, this means that the tick has not fed. Remove the tick promptly and place it in rubbing alcohol or crush it between two solid surfaces. If you find a tick attached to your pet, grasp the tick with fine tweezers as close to the animal’s skin as possible and firmly pull it straight out. Make sure you protect your fingers from exposure by using a tissue or a disposable glove. You may need another person to help restrain your dog or cat. Removing the tick quickly is important since the disease does not appear to be transmitted until the tick has fed for approximately twelve hours. If you crush the tick, do not get the tick’s contents, including blood, on your skin. The spirochete bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that cause Lyme disease can pass through a wound or cut in your skin. Bring the tick in to us at Muskoka Animal Hospital , we can identify it for you and let you know if further action is required. If it is a Black Legged tick, we will need to make sure your pet has not become infected with Lyme disease.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease are fairly generalized, and are symptoms for a multitude of diseases, so your veterinarian will likely rule out other, more probable diseases before testing for Lyme. If you know that your dog or cat have been exposed to a Black Legged tick, this is valuable information that your veterinarian should know. Signs of Lyme disease can include fever, joint pain and swelling, decreased appetite, lameness that seems to shift from one leg to another and lethargy.
Good News! Fortunately, Lyme disease can be treated effectively with a course of appropriate antibiotics if caught in the early stages. There is also a vaccine available for Lyme disease, but it is not commonly used due to the low percentage of animals that contract Lyme, and the fact that it is treatable if promptly addressed. We recommend topical tick prevention for your dog if it is going to be in high-risk areas, and if you are concerned about Lyme disease. Call us to find out details on this product.