Ticks and Tick Prevention
The tick population across the country is spreading, and there is more to worry about than just Lyme disease.
Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and shelties are the most susceptible to a severe form of Lyme that can kill them. If dogs, especially these breeds are vaccinated as early as possible before exposure, then they have a 70% chance of not getting Lyme. But if they still do, then they don’t die from it.
There are three other tick related diseases that people and dogs get from different types of ticks. We live in the worst area of the country for these tick related diseases and rabies as well. Most people and animals get these diseases more often in the fall and winter and never even see the tick that caused their disease.
These other diseases that regular ticks can transmit are Anaplasma, Ehrlichia canis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. We check for these once a year at Belle Mead Animal Hospital with a simple blood test called a HW/Lyme 4DX test.
When ticks bite us, they don’t give us disease instantly. They actually bite then actively suck blood for 24-30 hrs. At this time there is some type of chemical trigger that causes them to actively regurgitate these diseases into the host’s bloodstream. Most of the time we will miss ticks on our pets even if we check them 3 times per day 365 days out of the year because we can’t see through the fur, down inside the ears, and around their rear.
There are various flea and tick preventatives that we recommend for different reasons. Grocery store, Walmart and pet store products can contain nasty chemicals, and some are very dangerous for cats especially. Frontline is safe and will not go into a dog or person’s bloodstream. Any tick that does still bite an animal who is on Frontline should die within 18 hours before they can transmit disease.
Keep in mind Frontline has no repellant properties and it still takes up to 18 hours for Frontline to work. Therefore it may not be protecting your pet against all of the other diseases that ticks carry besides Lyme. We at BMAH have switched to a product called VECTRA in dogs over the past few years. It has 100% more repellant properties and a 90% quicker tick kill than Frontline type topicals. Therefore, for the same price, you can use a product that can protect your pet against more diseases.
As far as cats are concerned, they do not get Lyme and other tick diseases, but they do, however, suffer from lots of flea-related diseases. Revolution is a much better topical for cats, protecting them against not only fleas and ticks, but also Heartworms and roundworms. It is the safest product that is FDA approved and much better for cats.
Remember, never drown a tick while it is still attached to the dog or yourself even if you used a tick preventative on your pet. Just pull it off. If your pet is on a preventative, the tick will come off easier. Even if you break it and do not get the head out, that’s OK. We used to think you had to get the head out because that’s where the disease was, but now we know there is only disease in the body of the tick, not the head. If you drown them, they will fall off, but not before infecting the host first – survival of the fittest.