2017 is a banner year for ticks here in Cincinnati after our very mild winter. We've seen two dogs living right here in the Kenwood area come in with ticks on them this week alone! So here's what you need to know to protect your pets:
1. Ticks can be tiny. Check out these deer ticks lined up on a finger - and then imagine trying to find that poppyseed-sized nymph tick in your pet's fur.
2. Ticks carry diseases. Sure, there's the pain of the bite and the 'ick' factor, but far more dangerous are the bacteria ticks can inject. Lyme disease, rocky mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis are just a few of the possible consequences of a tick bite. We have them here in Hamilton County, and the surrounding areas are at risk too.
How to protect your pet:
Every cat and dog that goes outside needs protection. It can be topical or oral (for dogs).
The oral options for dogs are monthly Simparica and Nexgard, or Bravecto given every 12 weeks. These are a relatively new class of medication that are extremely safe, kill fleas and ticks, and also kill the mites that cause mange.
Good topical options for dogs include Frontline, Advantix, and Vectra 3D. Beware of the generic "just like Frontline" that are available in many pet stores - while they often contain the same insecticide, they usually lack the special molecules needs to ensure that they are absorbed into your pets' skin and then re-secreted every day for the full month.
The Seresto tick collar is another effective product as long as it is applied tightly enough to be in contact with your pets' skin. Again, beware of the imitation products here.
For cats, monthly Frontline or topical cat Bravecto every 12 weeks protects your cat from ticks as well as fleas. Most cats groom themselves fastidiously and will rarely allow ticks to attach and transmit disease, so topical Revolution is a good option to protect against fleas, heartworm, and intestinal parasites even though it lacks the tick protection.
We'd be happy to discuss which exact product is right for your family by phone (513) 791-7912.
If you do find a tick on your pet, DON'T reach for the rubbing alcohol or matches. Simply use tweezers to grasp it firmly as close to the skin as possible and pull straight backwards to dislodge it. Then save the tick for later identification.