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5 Tips for Tick Removal From Your Dog’s Coat

Ticks Suck!

Ticks are a very serious threat to your dog’s health. There are ways to get rid of as well as prevent these tiny pests from threatening your dog’s health. The United States has about 200 tick species whose habitats include woods, beach grass, lawns, forests, and even in some urban areas.


They have a four stage life cycle, egg, larvae, nymphs, and adult. Depending on its species, a tick may take less than a year or up to several years to go through its four stage life cycle. Adult females of some species lay about 100 eggs at a time. Others lay 3,000 to 6,000 eggs per batch.


Infectious Disease That Ticks Can Carry
Ticks can carry various infectious organisms that can transmit diseases to cats and dogs as well as humans. The 4 primary diseases and their symptoms are:


- Babesiosis – lethargy, loss of appetite, weakness, pale gums
- Ehrlichiosis – high fever, muscle aches
- Lyme disease – lameness, swollen joints, fever, poor appetite, fatigue, vomiting
- Tick paralysis in dogs – gradual paralysis and poor coordination

Of the four diseases, Lyme disease is the worst, as it can also infect humans. Studies indicate that dogs are 50 percent more susceptible to this disease than humans.

Prevention

Prevention is best done with one of the many veterinary-approved flea and tick preparations available on the market — like NexGard. Dogs should be examined frequently for the presence of ticks on their bodies. Ticks prefer sheltered locations, such as inside the ears and between the toes of the host, but a heavily infested dog may have ticks anywhere on its body. Refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas if you can. In areas where ticks are prevalent, yards where dogs exercise should be treated with appropriate chemicals to kill adult and immature ticks. When a tick is found it should be removed immediately. Keep grass mowed as short as possible.


5 Tips for Tick Removal From Your Dog’s Coat


1. Use fine-point tweezers
2. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull gently
3. If the ticks mouth parts remain embedded in the animals skin, you should try to remove them as you would a splinter.
4. Alcohol or other disinfectants should be used on the bite site, the tweezers, and your hands if you do not wear gloves.
5. You should flush the tick down the toilet or drown them in a small container of alcohol. Ticks can and will survive after they are removed from the host. You should never squeeze a tick as it will release toxins that may contain any of the diseases discussed earlier.

Vaccination

There is a Lyme vaccine available that can help prevent disease. The vaccine is not 100% protective but is a worthwhile preventative for dogs in high-risk areas. Please contact us if you would like to discuss if Lyme vaccination is right for your dog. There is no vaccination available for cats at this time.
Watch for the symptoms mentioned earlier, and if you suspect a tick-borne disease get your dog to the vet immediately. With early diagnosis, antibiotics generally work. If possible, dogs should be kept out of tick-infested areas.

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