The summer season is the perfect time of year to enjoy the great outdoors with your furry friends. Unfortunately, domestic pets, especially dogs, are vulnerable to tick-borne diseases, which are prevalent during warm weather. Unlike humans, dogs are very susceptible to tick bites because they are close to the ground. They often freely roam through the woods and high grasses. As such, you should take steps to protect your dog from tick bites and the associated transmissible diseases.
Tick bites can transmit bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, such as Lyme disease. Salivary secretion of female ticks is very toxic and can produce tick paralysis in humans and dogs. Apart from Lyme disease, tick exposure can cause many other diseases, including mycoplasmosis, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis. That said, below are a few things you should do to prevent and treat tick bites.
How to Protect Domestic Pests from Tick Bites
Preventing tick bites is certainly the easiest way of protecting your pets. Below are a few preventive measures.
Use Tick Preventive Measures
Pyrethrins, pyrethroids, and other tick-prevention drugs can protect domestic pets from tick bites. These medications poison mites, ticks, and other pests that can attack domestic pets. For them to work effectively, apply them to your pet’s coat. Note that some preventive medications can harm some pets. Therefore, you should always consult your vet before using them.
Topical tick preventive medications should be applied during summer and spring because of the increased prevalence of ticks. However, ticks can remain active even during freezing temperatures. Therefore, it is best to use them continuously throughout the year. Apart from oral and topical medication, you could also consider using a tick collar. These collars emit strong repellants that kill ticks upon contact.
Avoid Forested Areas
Dogs often enjoy roaming around tall grass and forested areas to stay cool. These are hiding grounds for ticks, mites, and other pests. Therefore, while you should allow your pets some outdoor freedom, you can restrict their roaming environment.
If you can’t prevent your dog from scouring forested areas, ensure you conduct a thorough tick check after outdoor adventures. This can help to prevent tick-bite infections. Typically, ticks can only transmit Lyme disease if they’ve been attached to the pet for 24 hours or more. Therefore, checking your pet for ticks immediately after the outdoor adventure can prevent Lyme disease. Check behind the ears, around the tail, under the belly, and all around your pet’s body.
Vaccinate Your Pet from Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is the most common and serious disease caused by ticks. You can protect your dogs and other pets by vaccinating them against these diseases in advance. Most vaccines require booster shots two to four weeks after the first vaccination to work effectively. Contact you vet now to book your vaccine appointments.
Treating Lyme Disease in Dogs
If your dog contracts Lyme disease, you should initiate treatment immediately. Common Lyme disease symptoms include swelling, loss of appetite, fever, painful joints, and energy loss. Lyme disease can cause serious complications, including kidney failure if left untreated. The main problem is that symptoms of Lyme disease don’t show immediately. It can take weeks before the first symptoms begin to show up.
Diagnosing Lyme disease is also difficult. However, blood tests and a thorough history of the pet’s health can guide the diagnosis. If your dog tests positive for Lyme disease, your vet can prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to alleviate discomfort.
Domestic pets, especially dogs, are susceptible to tick bites and associated diseases. Tick bites are hard to detect, and signs of infection often do not appear for 21 days. Therefore, you should watch your dog closely and consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
The veterinarians at Naples Animal Coastal Hospital are here to answer any questions you have about Lyme disease; simply contact us today.