It is that time of year again-we are seeing ticks already! Any time the weather is above freezing for more than a few days in a row, ticks can emerge and start to wreak havoc.
Ticks can transmit a number of diseases including Lyme disease, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Babesia. These diseases can cause lameness, fever, lethargy, decrease in appetite, kidney disease, thrombocytopenia, (low platelets, the clotting cells), anemia (low red blood cells), or leukopenia (low white blood cell counts). Please see this previous blog regarding Lyme disease.
Prevention is key for these diseases. Topical monthly flea and tick preventatives such as Parastar Plus or Frontline Plus are recommended. An alternative is Nexgard which is a monthly chewable preventative.
There is a vaccine available for Lyme disease as well. Please discuss with your veterinarian if your pet is at risk and would benefit from this. Lyme disease is endemic in this area (meaning it is prevalent here-see the map of human cases tracked by the CDC).
Thoroughly examining your pet after being outside, especially if in tall grasses or wooded areas can help find ticks before they attach as well. Most of the tick borne illnesses need the tick to be attached for at least 24 hours in order to transmit diseases. Catching them before they attach or get engorged will help prevent disease transmission.
If you have questions about tick borne illnesses, how to prevent them, or if you think your pet may have been exposed, please call us to discuss further!