In recent years, ticks have been increasingly present in the United States. They now pose a real threat to humans and animals alike. Did you know that this small mite a few millimeters long can cause great damage to your faithful companion if preventive measures and the right treatments are not put in place? Infected ticks can transmit several diseases. The tick species of greatest concern is the scapular Ixodes: it is this tick that can transmit Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), a disease that is increasingly common in dogs in the United States.
Where are ticks found?
The tick usually lives in forests and wooded areas, but it is also found in cities in hedges, bushes, gardens, and tall grass. She travels through animals because she does not fly or jump. It simply waits for its prey to pass close by to drop on it and attach itself firmly to it.
Prevention and treatment
There are several ways to protect your pet from tick-borne diseases.
Different antiparasitic drugs can be administered for prevention. Some are offered in the form of drops to be applied to the skin. The tick then dies in contact with your animal. Other products exist in chewable tablets. The tick must then feed on a first blood meal for the treatment to be effective.
Ticks are extremely resistant organisms. Only approved products with supporting evidence of efficacy can be considered effective. Some essential oils and other natural products may have some effectiveness, but do not offer complete protection.
Treatment is generally started in April and continued until November since the tick is active as soon as the temperature exceeds 4 degrees. Talk to your veterinarian for advice specific to your pet’s situation.
The bite of a tick
Has your pet been bitten by a tick? Be vigilant. Did you know that a tick removal bite is painless? After feeding on blood, it remains attached to the skin, increases in size in a few hours, and thus becomes more easily visible.
It is important to know that the tick’s mouthparts are embedded in the flesh. There are therefore precautions to be taken to dislodge the insect. Pliers in the form of small hooks are sold for this purpose. Here is the procedure to follow meticulously to remove a tick from your pet by using a tick remover for cats:
Insert the hook at the base of the tick, at the junction of your pet’s skin.
Rotate the tick on itself until it lets go. Warning! Do not pull upwards as the mouthparts will then get stuck in the skin and could create an infection.
Make sure you have the whole tick and inspect your pet’s skin. Keep the critter in an airtight jar so that it can be sent for analysis as recommended by your veterinarian.
Check the site of embedded fully ticks on dogs regularly for the first few days after the maneuver. Consult your vet if there is redness or swelling.
Signs and symptoms that may indicate Lyme disease infection
In only 5% of animals bitten by an infected tick, do we notice the development of the disease? The remaining 95% have no symptoms.
Here are the signs and symptoms to look out for:
· Redness and swelling of the skin at the bite site.
· Fever, depression, and anorexia.
· Muscle and joint pain, lameness.
· Heart, neurological or kidney problems in severe cases.
If you observe these symptoms, consult a veterinarian immediately.
· When the tick bites, it feeds, and its weight increases by 10 times its initial size!
· Lyme disease cannot be transmitted between an animal and a human, even if they are very close to each other! Only a tick can transmit the disease.
· Infected ticks can only transmit Lyme disease if they remain attached to the skin for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours.
· Your veterinarian may do a blood test to screen for Lyme disease a few weeks after the bite. If your pet has symptoms, treatment may be given.
Finally, for your protection, wear sweaters with long sleeves and pants during your getaways. Take a shower when you return so you can examine your whole body.
For your pet, also get into the habit of observing it from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail after outdoor activity. He will love these little massages and you will prevent the appearance of potential problems.