Get Ticked Off: Protect Your Pet During Heavy Tick Season
With new tick-borne diseases on the rise across the country, tick prevention should be on the forefront of every pet owner’s mind. DoveLewis doctors urge pet owners to use tick control medication and regularly check dogs and outdoor cats for ticks.
“Tick-related issues in Oregon are most prevalent in June and July as the weather starts to warm up,” said DoveLewis veterinarian Dr. Ladan Mohammad-Zadeh.
Common tick-borne diseases
Ticks are often picked up in rural areas and woods, latching onto pets or people as they walk through bushes or tall grass. However, it’s not unheard of for animals to also attract ticks in an urban setting.
The most common illness carried by ticks is Lyme disease, which can affect animals and humans. Symptoms can include a rash around the infected area, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, swelling joints, and the inability to move parts of the body.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is another ailment that spreads through ticks. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, vomiting, coughing, difficulty breathing, pale gums, nosebleeds and bruising.
While rare, certain species of ticks can even cause paralysis, like in the case of patient Ollie.
Pets who spend any time outdoors in the summer should be equipped with tick prevention medication. Tick prevention is available as a pill, topical treatment or collar. Pet owners should talk to their vets to determine what type is best for their animal. Be sure to use medications as directed. Pets can end up in the hospital if they’re given the wrong kind or wrong dose.
Most importantly, perform a thorough tick check on your dog’s entire body on a regular basis, especially after any outdoor hiking adventures. DoveLewis medical staff recommends paying close attention to the folds of the skin, between the toes, under the armpits, and around the head – all common places for ticks to burrow.
Remove ticks carefully using tweezers or a tick remover. (There are several urban legends surrounding tick removal. Never use lighters, matches, Vaseline or nail polish remover to remove the ticks.) Store the tick in a small container of alcohol so it can be identified and tested if your dog shows signs of a tick-borne illness. Read this article for more advice on tick removal.
If a pet shows signs of a tick-borne illness, contact a veterinarian or DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital at 503-228-7281 immediately.