One of the phrases we hear from clients most during the winter months is “I won’t need tick preventative right now, it’s still winter we should be fine”. The truth of the matter is, that may not always be the case. With tick populations increasing and milder winters, being prepared all year round may be your best bet. Ticks have been found to migrate on white tailed deer as well as show up in formerly rural areas that have been developed. A tick could easily hitch a ride on your pet just from your backyard. Being prepared is the greatest defense you have against ticks.
Most ticks require three hosts during a two-year life span. Each stage requires a blood meal before it can progress. The 4 life stages of a hard tick are: egg, larva, nymph and adult. The best way to find ticks on your pet is to run your hands over the whole body, especially after your pet has been to an area known to have ticks. Ticks attach most frequently around the head, ears, neck and feet. They however are not restricted to these areas and can attach elsewhere.
If found, use a tick removal tool, such as the Tick Twister or Tick Spoon, Remove the tick as close to the pet’s skin as you can and pull slowly and steadily. If the head of the tick has remained in or under the skin, do not try to “dig” it out. The body’s natural defenses will surround it push it out of the body over time. Digging at it may cause a secondary infection and pain for your pet. If you feel you are unable to remove a tick safely, always make sure to contact the La Crosse Veterinary Clinic for help. Checking your pet daily as well as removing a tick promptly is important to prevent any tick borne diseases.
One of the most well-known and common diseases caused by ticks is Lyme disease. An
annual Lyme vaccination is available for dogs. This vaccine is administered three weeks apart for a series of two and then annually to maintain immunity. This vaccine has been shown to be safe and very effective. Some people think that it is unnecessary to have something like this, but it is similar to a human getting a flu vaccine every year.
There is also the yearly heartworm and tick diseases blood test. It detects 5 different types of tick-borne diseases; Lyme disease, two types of Anaplasmosis, and two types of Ehrlichia, as well as Canine Heartworm disease. This test was originally only done in the spring to summer months but now with the increase in tick borne diseases in dogs, doing this test once a year is highly recommended.
We provide two types of tick preventatives for dogs and one for cats. For dogs we have Frontline Tritak and Nexgard. Frontline Tritak is applied to the skin every 30 days and helps prevent fleas, lice, and sarcoptic mange and ticks. Our second yearly preventative for dogs is Nexgard. Nexgard comes in a chewy chunk that dogs love. It is given every 30 days and
helps prevent fleas and ticks. For cats we have Frontline Tritak. It is applied to the skin every 30 days and helps prevent fleas, lice and ticks.
Keeping ticks off your pets is important not only for their health, but you and your family’s health as well. Being prepared all year round is the key to prevention.