Posts Tagged ‘Lyme Disease’

Warmer days are on the way, and you’ll soon be spending more time outdoors with your pets. That means protecting your dogs and cats from ticks — a little pest that can cause big problems.

Remember: you can protect your dog inside and out with tick preventatives and the Lyme Disease vaccine. (Cats do not receive the Lyme vaccine.)

If your dog is not up-to-date on the Lyme Disease vaccine, Contact Us to schedule a visit.

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Engorged tick – not a common sight in winter – but a possible one

I can imagine what you might be thinking as you read this post: “Why would anyone talk about ticks in winter? Ticks are a summertime problem!”

Keep reading! By the end of this post, you’ll understand why I’m talking ticks in winter.

Here are TEN TICK FACTS you may not know (yet):

  • Ticks are found on every continent on Earth — including Antarctica
  • Ticks carry the second highest number of dangerous human diseases (Mosquitoes are still #1. Yay.)
  • Ticks can be carried by birds, which may “help” different types of ticks migrate from one state to another
  • Ticks can survive freezing temperatures
  • Ticks can live underwater (Flushing ticks won’t kill them!)
  • Ticks can live up to 3 years
  • Lone Star tick bites can cause a red meat allergy in people
  • Brown dog ticks like to live around the foundations of houses and in urban areas
  • Cats can get ticks and Lyme Disease
  • Differing species of ticks emerge throughout the year

More about that last fact: the Black-legged tick (or deer tick) which carries the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease, is active in different life stages all year.

Spring/Summer: Larvae hatch from eggs and begin looking for their first blood meal. Also during this time, older nymphs begin feeding and are able to transmit Lyme Disease-causing bacteria.

Autumn/Winter: Adult deer ticks feed on deer, dogs, cats, and people and can transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.

[View the lifecycle chart created by the Minnesota Department of Health here.]

Contact Us at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic to discuss flea & tick prevention* for your dog or cat. We can recommend products that are safe to use year-round.

There are many products on the market — let us help you sort through them!

(*This offer is open to clients of Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, [Norfolk, VA] only.)

Tick facts courtesy of Dr. Elyse Persico, and Dr. Holly Gaff & the Tick Team at Old Dominion University

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Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Can we all agree that ticks are disgusting? Yes? Good!

Now, let’s talk about how to remove ticks from your pet. There are right ways and wrong ways to remove ticks. You’re going to want to do it the right way.

Do This to Remove Ticks:

  • Check for and remove ticks as soon as possible, to help prevent the transmission of disease.
  • Wear gloves, to avoid transmission of disease from the tick.
  • Use tweezers or a tick removal device to do the job.
  • Grasp the tick firmly, as close to the pet’s skin as possible, and pull back slowly and steadily.
  • Clean the area with soap and water after the tick has been removed.
  • Place the tick (or ticks) in a small container and bring it to your pet’s doctor for examination. Different ticks carry different diseases, so tick identification is an important part of treatment.

…But Don’t Do That:

  • Don’t try burning or heating up the tick. You are more likely to injure your pet this way.
  • Don’t try to “smother” the tick with petroleum jelly or fingernail polish. It’s a time-waster, and time is critical in preventing the transmission of tick-borne diseases.
  • Don’t crush or yank the tick, and don’t twist it. Doing so could increase your pet’s risk of exposure to disease.
  • Don’t fret about not removing the mouthparts. Some ticks have very long mouthparts that are cemented in place for the feeding. It’s not worth the hassle of going in after them, according to Dr. Glen Needham, an expert on ticks who recently spoke on the subject with Norfolk veterinarians.

In the Future:

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April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month

What is Lyme Disease? Lyme Disease is an illness caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which are carried in the midgut of deer ticks and transmitted to dogs through a tick bite. Symptoms of Lyme Disease include lameness that shifts from leg to leg, swollen joints, lack of appetite, depression, fever, difficulty breathing. As the disease progresses, it can cause serious injury to the dog’s kidneys.

How do dogs get Lyme Disease? When a deer tick carrying B. burgdorferi feeds on a dog for at least 48 hours, the bacteria are “awakened” and travel out of the tick’s midgut, into the dog’s bloodstream, through the site of the tick bite. 

Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

This is not a deer tick, but it is a well-fed tick.

Here’s where it gets a little technical: While the bacteria, B. burgdorferi, resides in the tick’s gut, they are protected by a special coating called Outer Surface Protein A (OspA).  A dog that is vaccinated for Lyme Disease has — circulating in its blood — antibodies to OspA. When the tick ingests the blood, the OspA antibodies travel to the tick’s midgut and attack the B. burgdorferi there — before they’ve had a chance to awaken and mobilize.

So, rather than the vaccine-induced antibodies attacking an organism that has already entered the dog’s body, they instead attack the organisms outside the dog’s body, while still in the host. That is why we — cheekily — refer to it as “vaccinating the tick.”

Think of Lyme Disease vaccine as the vaccine that stops an organism before it reaches your pet: like an invisible force field! Pretty cool, huh?

But remember: deer ticks and other ticks can transmit nasty diseases in addition to Lyme Disease. There is no vaccine (yet) for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis (and the list goes on.) For that reason, we recommend year-round tick control, like the Seresto collar. Stop those little pests cold!

Ready to vaccinate your dog against Lyme Disease? Contact Us to schedule an appointment.

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Q: Is your pet at risk for any of the following:

A) Fleas
B) Ticks
C) Worms
D) All of the above

A: All of the above (and they ALL can be tough to spot!)

Schedule your pet’s annual checkup today to be sure
your pet is healthy!

Is your dog very tired? Is your cat eating less than usual? These seemingly minor changes may mean your pet has a flea allergy, an internal parasite infection, or a tick-related disease.

Let’s talk about fleas first. The majority of pets don’t have fleas—but many have been bitten because fleas are everywhere! Yes, fleas live outdoors but they can live indoors too – even in really clean homes – year-round in any climate. Fleas will gladly hitch a ride on your pet into your house. And all it takes is one flea bite (specifically the flea’s saliva), to set off a full-blown skin allergy. Pets may scratch their sides and neck, or even lick their paws until they’re red and painful. What pet wants to move around or eat when feeling this miserable?

Internal parasites (such as worms) can infect your pet in a number of ways. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if your pet has them. But left untreated, worms can be dangerous to your pet’s internal organs. They can even cause your pet to lose blood.

Ticks are tricky. Even when you check your pet for ticks they can be tough to find because they’re small and hide well in dark fur. But it’s crucial to find ticks and remove them quickly. Why? Some ticks carry bacteria that cause disease (such as Lyme disease, but there are many others). And all you need is one undetected tick bite for your pet to become infected. They can become sick and develop kidney problems. At times, these diseases can be fatal.

Ugh! Is there any good news?

Yes!

We’re here to help when it comes to flea allergies, tick and internal parasite checks. Even if your pet is on regular monthly preventive, it is still important for us to make sure your pet is healthy.

Make an appointment for your pet’s annual checkup today – we’ll give them a thorough physical exam from nose to tail. Let’s also confirm the prevention you’re using is right for your pet!

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We published this post last year, but it’s as true now as it was then: tick populations are on the rise across the US, even in the southern states.

According to a recent interview with leading parasitologists, published by Veterinary Practice Newswe can expect to see more ticks this year for the following reasons:

  • Warmer winters
  • Suburbanization, which brings together people, wildlife and ticks
  • An increase in white-tailed deer
  • Migratory birds that carry ticks to new areas
  • A movement toward the preservation of open space and the replanting of trees
  • The use of fewer insecticides

This news is cause for concern for everyone. Those of us who have dogs and cats that venture outdoors must not ignore the risk to our pets. That means protecting our pets, as well as ourselves.

Ticks are carriers for the following six diseases:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Tularemia
Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Get links to articles on each disease here and learn how to protect yourself and your family.

We can help protect your pet with a Lyme Disease vaccination and a Seresto collar, so let us know if you and your pet will be doing any of the following activities:

  • hiking, especially in wooded or grassy areas, such as state and public parks
  • camping
  • travelling
  • hunting

Of course, ticks can be found right in your own backyard, so keep an eye out for these pests – and if you see one on your dog or cat, tell us!

In fact, we’ve begun hearing from more clients who are finding ticks on their cats — and those cats are not going hiking with their owners. That means ticks are very much a backyard problem in this area.

Found a tick on your pet?
Watch this video from About.com that explains the Do’s and Don’t’s of tick removal.

Need a tick removal device?
I searched Amazon.com and came up with this list of tick removal devices, including the crow-bar type shown in the video.

Other resource on the pending tick explosion:
Companion Animal Parasite Council

********************************************************************
Originally published April 9, 2013.

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According to a recent interview with leading parasitologists, published by Veterinary Practice News, we can expect to see more ticks this year for the following reasons:

  • Warmer winters
  • Suburbanization, which brings together people, wildlife and ticks
  • An increase in white-tailed deer
  • Migratory birds that carry ticks to new areas
  • A movement toward the preservation of open space and the replanting of trees
  • The use of fewer insecticides

This news is cause for concern for everyone. Those of us who have dogs and cats that venture outdoors must not ignore the risk to our pets. That means protecting our pets, as well as ourselves.

Ticks are carriers for the following six diseases:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Tularemia
Baked bean? Nope - it's an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Get links to articles on each disease here and learn how to protect yourself and your family.

We can help protect your pet with Lyme Disease vaccinations and Preventic collars, so let us know if you and your pet will be doing any of the following activities:

  • hiking, especially in wooded or grassy areas, such as state and public parks
  • camping
  • travelling
  • hunting

Of course, ticks can be found right in your own backyard, so keep an eye out for these pests – and if you see one on your dog or cat, tell us!

In fact, we’ve begun hearing from more clients who are finding ticks on their cats — and those cats are not going hiking with their owners. That means ticks are very much a backyard problem in this area.

Found a tick on your pet?
Watch this video from About.com that explains the Do’s and Don’t’s of tick removal.

Need a tick removal device?
I searched Amazon.com and came up with this list of tick removal devices, including the crow-bar type shown in the video.

Other resource on the pending tick explosion:
Companion Animal Parasite Council

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