Friday, May 9th, 2014
Plymouth County has very high numbers of reported cases in dogs of the following tick related illnesses: Ehrlichia (270), Lyme (8849), Heartworm (237) and Anaplasma (2645). With numbers like that, we were compelled to tell you the Top 10 Things Plymouth County MUST Know About Ticks!
10. Ticks crawl up. They’re not jumpers, fliers or droppers.
Ticks like to go where the skin is thinner on their host which is usually around the head, neck and ears. Yet, they always start from the bottom and work their way up. Check both yours and your dog’s feet and legs first and move up along the body from there.
9. Ticks come in all different sizes and they start off REALLY tiny.
Tick larvae is about the size of a grain of sand while nymphs are poppy seed size and adult ticks are about the size of an apple seed. They can be difficult to spot on your dog’s coat when they are not full of blood given their small sizes. We recommend using a flea comb to help!
8. They don’t mind cold weather.
Not many people know this about ticks but they actually don’t mind cold weather or even freezing temperatures! As long as there isn’t snow on the ground or the ground is frozen, ticks can be out and about. This means you should take the proper steps to protect yourself and your dog year-round.
7. Deer Ticks are the only ticks to transmit Lyme bacteria.
As strange as it sounds, if you ever find a tick on you or your pet that has already bitten – save it after you remove it! Ticks just used to be an annoyance, not anymore. Now they cause an awful lot of sickness in Plymouth County amongst dogs so it’s more important than ever that you or your vet be able to identify which type of tick has bitten.
6. You only have 24 hours to find and remove a tick.
Before it transmits an infection, that is. It can take around 24 hours for the germs, infections and viruses to make their way into the tick’s salivary glands once they have bitten. This is why we recommend a daily tick check for all of your pets that have access to the outdoors.
5. Pointy tweezers should be your go-to weapon for tick removal.
Ticks are filled to the brim with germs and other yucky stuff. By squeezing the tick by its head only, you’re avoiding the risk of inadvertently pushing all of that yucky stuff into the bite wound. Pointed tweezers let you grab a nice hold on its head as close to the skin as possible so that you can remove it in one quick tug like you would a splinter.
4. Know how to recognize Lyme disease.
Humans commonly get a “bull’s eye” rash near the tick bite area but dogs are different and don’t display a rash. You’ll need to keep an eye out for random and sudden onset leg lameness and leg shifting that lasts a couple of days, reluctance to move, tiredness, loss of appetite, depression.
3. Know how to recogonize Ehrlichia.
This disease can infect both people and dogs as well so keep an eye out for depression, lack of energy, loss of appetite, discharge at the eyes and nose, spontaneous nose bleeds, bruising on gums and belly, lameness and joint paint, leg shifting.
2. Know how to recognize Anaplasmosis.
Loss of appetite, lethargy, lameness and reluctance to move, neck pain, neurological signs, bruising on gums and belly and spontaneous nosebleeds are some, although difficult to diagnose, symptoms.
1. Learn how to properly remove a tick.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to know the proper way to remove a tick. Making an incorrect or unsuccessful attempt can cause even more problems than if you would have left the tick alone and taken your pet to the vet to have it removed by the veterinarian instead. It is absolutely crucial to remove ticks properly.
We recommend this brief 2 minute video to demonstrate the correct method: