The long awaited arrival of spring is almost upon us! And while we are excited to have great weather, we need to remember what lurks in the shadows. The Tick. The tick has become ever popular due to climate changes, causing a higher population of ticks to be emerging within Canada, and yes, even Ottawa!
With incidences of tick related illnesses, such as lyme disease on the rise, it is extra important to protect your pet from this tiny spider like creature. And it is not only lyme disease we need worry about, but a host of other debilitating diseases as well. Some of these diseases can be spread in as little as 3 hours of attachment to your pet! Yikes!
So how to you deal with these creepy little guys? The answer is: Prevention! Prevention is always the best method, and much more cost effective than treating a sick pet after the fact! Here are some tips to prevent your pet from becoming infected by ticks this spring!:
1/Preventative Medications: Preventative measures, include having your pet on a product that kills ticks, especially if your pet is high risk is a very good idea. High risk pets includes: dogs that run in fields and forests or plays in longer grassy areas, forested areas, go to the cottage or for hikes off path. These meds are available in topical (liquid) format, as well as a flavored tablet formula and can be purchased through the vet clinic. The product is easy to administer and is only applied or given to your pet once every month. It is best to start your dog on tick medications once the weather reaches 5’c, and then continue throughout the summer and fall.
2/Vaccinate: Other measures you can take to prevent tick born illnesses, is by having your dog receive an annual lyme vaccine. The newer vaccines are almost 100% effective against certain strains of lyme, and are very cost effective compare to the older vaccines, which were only approximately 60% effective.
3/ Check your pet! : Whether or not your pet is on prevention, it is still a good idea to search your pet for ticks after each walk during spring, summer and fall, especially when in grassy/wooded areas. You can do this by running your hands down the dog’s body, paying special attention to the dog’s head and ears. And if you do see a tick, you can either bring the dog into the vet to have it removed, or you can remove it yourself. The best way to do this, is to apply steady pressure and pull the tick out as close to the head as possible, avoid twisting the tick.
Even if you follow all of the preventative measures mentioned above, it is still a good idea to have a test done every year or so before starting the medications again in the spring. This test is called the 4dx test and can tell us whether or not your pet has been in contact with a few different diseases, including: lyme and other tick born diseases, as well as heartworm disease(a possibly deadly disease spread through infected mosquitos! READ MORE HERE- will link to our heartworm blog article). This test is performed at your vet clinic,and only requires a tiny drop of blood from your pet, and 8 minutes of waiting time! This test is also a good idea if you have found a tick on your pet, we can check their blood for results 6-8weeks after tick exposure.
While this information may seem overwhelming at first glance, just remember that we are always here for you if you have ANY questions whatsoever. Our goal will always be to protect the health of your best friend..your pet!:)