Ark Companion News

Ticks on the Rise: Are Your Pets Protected?

Ticks and mosquitoes…I still have yet to figure out why on earth we need them! They certainly can put a pesky damper on your outdoor adventures. Not only are they creepy little blood suckers but they are vectors that can transmit a list of diseases that continues to grow!

And thanks to some mild winters in the Kansas City area lately, the experts are anticipating a rise in the numbers of ticks this year. They easily found me while I was hiking with my dog, Penny, and my children while camping in Weston Bend State Park north of Kansas City. However, I could rest assured that Penny was protected wearing her Seresto collar.

Are your pets protected? Prevention year round is key when it comes to ticks. You don’t want your pet to become infected with one of their many diseases such as Ehrlichia or Lymes, or bring ticks into your home.

6 Truths About Ticks To Make You And Your Pet’s Skin Crawl…

  1. Ticks are second only to mosquitoes in the number of infectious diseases they transmit
  2. A female tick can lay several 1,000 eggs at one time
  3. The life cycle of a tick includes egg, larva, nymph and adult stages
  4. Ticks are capable of transovarial transmission, meaning if they carry an infectious disease it can be passed from one generation to the next
  5. Ticks need to be attached for 24-48 hours to transmit most diseases
  6. Some ticks don’t mind the winter and can remain active as long as the temperature is above freezing

What if you find a tick attached to your pet? First of all, great job! Screening your pet daily for ticks is one step in the prevention process. If you find one, remove it promptly but you need to do it correctly so you don’t risk exposing you and your pet to an infectious disease. If you are not comfortable removing a tick, ask your veterinary team to help you!

5 Easy Steps to Remove a Tick

  1. Wear gloves to protect yourself
  2. Use tweezers to grip the tick as close to the skin as possible
  3. Pull in a rearward direction with steady, even pressure
  4. Clean the area of attachment with soap and water
  5. Dispose of the tick: submerge in alcohol, flush down a toilet, or place in a sealed container

It is common to notice a sore where the tick was attached. The bite can create some mild skin irritation and itching, but most heal fine. If you have concerns with the way it is healing, notice infection, or your pet is not acting like normal a few weeks later contact your veterinarian.

Scouring through your pet’s hair for ticks everyday can be a challenge in more ways than one! To help fight the tick battle, there are many products available to fit your pet’s needs and your budget. These products also protect against fleas and some have other benefits, too. At Ark Animal Hospital we carry the 8 month Seresto collar for dogs and cats, the monthly topical Advantage Multi for cats, and the monthly chewables Simparica and Nexguard for dogs.

Not what you are looking for? Check out our online store for more great flea and tick preventatives such as Frontline, Bravecto, and Revolution. It is important to be sure that the product you choose is appropriate for your pet’s species, weight and age. Some products may require a prescription.

If you are “blood-thirsty” for more information about ticks then check out these excellent resources:

Companion Animal Preventative Council
Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Unfortunately, ticks are unavoidable and they aren’t disappearing anytime soon. It’s important to be prepared when you venture out into nature even if it’s just your backyard, for they will find you and your pets. Start a flea and tick preventative for your pet today!

By: Christina Fischer, DVM