Preventing Tick-Borne Disease in Pets
Prevention is the key to keeping your pet healthy and free of tick-borne disease such as Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis. Many of you attended our tick-borne disease seminars last month. For those that couldn’t attend and for those that did, we’d like to reiterate the preventive measures that were discussed.
Reduce Tick Habitats
Reducing tick habitats may aid in limiting the number of ticks that are available to “hitch a ride” on your pet. Define the space where you would like your pet to play and make sure that you keep that part of the yard mowed. Consider making a three-foot-wide wood chip or mulch barrier between the lawn and tree line to inhibit ticks from entering the lawn from a woods area. Remove leaf litter, tall grasses, shrubs and bushes from areas where you pet plays.
Check Pets Daily for Ticks
If your pet is spending time outside, it’s important to check your pet for ticks daily. Although a tick may be attached, it is unlikely to transmit tick-borne disease if it is removed in less than 24 hours. Pet owners should use gloves when removing the tick to keep any possible infectious fluids away from their own skin. Our clinic recommends using either needle-nose tweezers or a “ticked off” tick remover (available for free at our front desk). Removed ticks should be placed in a small container with alcohol and discarded. Wash the area where the tick was attached with a gentle soap and monitor for infection (redness, swelling or discharge).
A vaccine for Lyme disease is available for your dog. Vaccinating your dog may reduce your dog’s risk of becoming infected or showing signs of Lyme disease. The initial dose of the vaccine may be given to a dog over the age of 9 weeks, with a second dose given within 2 to 3 weeks, followed by an annual booster. The vaccine we use comes with an immunization support guarantee. The vaccine manufacturer provides up to $5,000 coverage for your pet for necessary diagnostics and treatment if there is a documented vaccine failure.
Use Tick Preventives
There are a number of excellent tick preventives on the market today. These preventives, which
are generally spot-ons, disseminate throughout the top layer of the skin and act as a paralytic on the tick. This prevents the tick from biting your dog or allowing it to fall off your dog after it has attached. Our veterinarians have reviewed the efficacyandsafety of these preventives and recommend the following: Activyl Tick Plus®, Frontline Plus® and Certifect®.
If pet owners have any questions regarding tick-borne diseases, we are always available to answer them. Keeping your four-legged best friend healthy is our number one concern!