Fleas and ticks, while often thought of with little concern in our area, are becoming more prevalent. These small parasites are not only irritating to our pets, but they can also carry diseases that are transferable from animal to humans. Fleas can cause a skin condition called flea allergy dermatitis. Tick saliva contains a toxin that slowly paralyzes the body. It occurs after prolonged attachment and can be prevented by checking your dog often.
How can I tell if my dog has fleas or ticks?
Dogs with fleas are generally very itchy. If the infestation is severe, you can sometimes see them jumping around on the dog. These creatures are very small but can be combed out of the fur with a special comb. Ticks can range in size from the end of a ballpoint pen to the size of a dime after a blood meal. When attached, they bury their head into the skin. You can often see the legs moving when searching. Ticks are often found in armpits, around the tail, between the toes and around the collar.
How can I prevent fleas and ticks on my dog?
We have many different medications for all ages that cover both fleas and ticks. Keeping your dog on a regular schedule will prevent these parasites from making your pet their home. Regularly grooming and checking your dogs after walks (especially in areas with tall grass) is beneficial for prevention and early detection. There is also a vaccine to protect against Lyme disease, which is a disease carried by a particular type of tick.
What are the treatment options for dogs who have ticks?
If you find a tick on your dog, please give us a call. Not only can we safely remove the tick for you, but we will also send it away to the provincial tick surveillance program. This program will be able to tell us what species of tick it is and whether or not it was a carrier of Lyme disease. Tick paralysis is generally resolved minutes after the removal of all ticks.