I'm not sure there's anything redeeming about ticks. They crawl, they bite, and they carry diseases. Thankfully there are some easy ways to just say no to ticks this spring - and all year long.
Here's what you need to know to keep your pets (and your family) safe from ticks.
As you can see, there are a number of effective options available. Some are available in pet stores, others through your veterinarian.
Found a tick? Now what?
Gross - you just found a tick. First, take a deep breath and don't panic. Next, how to remove a tick: grab a pair of tweezers, firmly grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull straight out. This applies to ticks on people as well as pets. The goal is to get the tick's head and mouthparts out if possible. Do NOT pour alcohol on the tick or try to burn it - those techniques just make the tick regurgitate more into the wound and increase disease transmission. Do save the tick and send a photo of it to the folks at tickencounter.org for identification. They will let you know what the risks are for that particular species, and then you can decide whether to pay to have your tick tested for diseases.
Watch for illness - watch your pet closely for lethargy, fever, limping, swollen joints, bruising, or changes to thirst or urination. These are signs of several of the tick-transmitted infections like Lyme disease or Ehrlichiosis. Seek veterinary care quickly if your pet becomes ill.
Test for disease - make sure your veterinarian screens your dog every year for the most common tick diseases, even if you've been using prevention. This can usually be done with a few drops of blood right in the office. A positive result means your pet has been exposed to the organism, and further testing is needed to see if treatment is recommended.
Fact 1: Those pesky bugs are out there right now. Ticks are active year-round in Cincinnati. Fleas survive outdoors once temperatures reach 50F, so they're back for the season. Flea numbers will increase from now until we get a couple hard frosts in the fall, usually in November.
An adult flea lives on its host (that's your dog or cat), and lays eggs that drop off the animal and stay in bedding, carpet, upholstery, and cracks in the floor. Those eggs hatch into larvae and then pupae, then finally morph into adult fleas. The black specks that can sometimes be seen on your pet's fur is the flea poop - digested blood. You rarely see flea eggs, which are white, because they roll right off your pet.
Fact 3: It's easy to protect your dog and cat against fleas and ticks.
Oral and topical medications and collars are readily available through your veterinarian and at pet stores. The Bravecto products work for 12 weeks and all the others will protect for 1 month. Here's a short list of the most reliable and safe options. We'll be happy to discuss the differences between them to pick the best for your particular pet - give us a call 513-791-7912!
Fleas already in the house?
Vacuuming and laundering bedding can remove 30-50% of the immature fleas in the environment, so it's best repeated frequently. Insecticide of some sort is usually required to eliminate them completely. But if you protect all the pets in the house with one of the products listed above for 4 months straight you can break the cycle: each time a new flea emerges and jumps on your pet, it will die without laying any new eggs.
So act now - protect all your pets with an effective, safe flea and tick control year-round and never worry about fleas and ticks!
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.
Fall is here - so you can stop giving your cat or dog flea and tick prevention, right? No way. Keep your fuzzy friend protected all year round to prevent uncomfortable flea bites and dangerous infections. The outside adult fleas won't die until there have been a couple hard frosts, so here in Cincinnati it's usually December or January before the outdoor flea threat is gone. But those poppy seed-sized deer ticks are usually still active in December and emerge again in February, so no waiting until spring allowed.
Learn more (image from http://www.petmd.com/flea/infographic/flea-habitats-home) below about where those pesky fleas are hiding - and make sure you have enough flea and tick medicine to keep your pet protected through the fall and winter! We recommend Bravecto (oral 12 week protection) or Nexgard or Simparica (oral monthly protection) for dogs, and Revolution (topical monthly protection) for cats.