Ticks and your Pets

Ticks are eight legged parasites related to spiders and scorpions. Ticks feed on the blood of their host, injecting a numbing agent into the bite wound so their presence can go unnoticed for days while they are feeding. During their feeding, ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Ehrlichia to their host through the saliva.

 

The tick’s life cycle is different than insects. The female engorges on blood from her host, mates with a male tick and then detaches, dropping off her host to fall to the ground and seek a place to lay her eggs. The female can deposit 1,000 to 18,000 eggs, depending on the species of the tick, and then dies shortly after laying her eggs. The eggs will hatch anywhere between 2 months to 2 years depending on the species and climate conditions. The eggs hatch as larvae and seek a host to get a blood meal. Larvae ticks are very small and are often overlooked while they are on the host. Once they have engorged on their blood meal, they will drop off the host where they will molt and become a nymph. Again the nymph seeks out a blood meal, feed and then drop to the ground where they once more will molt and become an adult tick.

 

Species of Ticks

Canine

Amblyomma americanum

lone star tick

 

Amblyomma maculatum

Gulf Coast Tick

Dermacentor variabilis

American dog tick

Dermacentor andersoni

Rocky Mountain wood tick

Ixodes pacificus

western black-legged tick

Ixodes scapularis

black-legged tick

 

Otobius megnini

(spinose ear tick)

Rhipicephalus sanguineus

(Brown Dog Tick)

Diseases transmitted by ticks

  1. Anemia – The female tick can ingest more than 100 times her weight in blood. In severe infestations with thousands of ticks on a dog, it can cause severe blood loss resulting in anemia and may actually require blood transfusions to replenish the lost blood.
  2. Skin irritation and itching – The attached tick secrets chemical through her mouth parts in order to anchor herself to the skin and anti-coagulants to make it easier to suck the blood. These chemicals can cause irritation and allergic reactions resulting in more itching, swelling redness around the bite area.
  3. Tick Paralysis – Some species of ticks can produce a neurotoxin that can produce a sudden, progressive, flaccid (limp) paralysis of the muscles similar to that seen in Guillain-Barre syndrome. Once the offending tick is discovered and removed, the patient can quickly recover. Ticks discovered to produce the neurotoxin are D. andersoni, D. variabilis, A. americanum, A. maculatum, I. scapularis, and I. pacificus.
  4. Ehrlichia chaffeensis (human monocytic ehrlichiosis)
  5. Ehrlichia ewingii
  6. Borrelia lonestari
  7. Francella tularensis (tularemia)
  8. Hepatozoon americanum (American canine hepatozoonosis)
  9. Rickettsia rickettsii (Rocky Mountain spotted fever)
  10. Cytauxzoon felis (cytauxzoonosis)
  11. Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease)
  12. Anaplasma phagocytophlium (human granulocytic ehrlichiosis)
  13. Ehrlichia canis (canine monocytic ehrlichiosis)
  14. Babesia canis (canine babesiosis)
  15. Anaplasma platys
  16. Babesia gibsoni

Tick control Products

  • Amitraz – is available as a dip, (mitaban), a collar (Preventic). Amitraz helps prevent tick attachment and can make the tick detach within 24 hours. The collar can last for several months, but do not allow your dog to chew on it because it can cause toxicity.
  • Fipronil – available in spray and spot on formulations (Merial Frontline).
  • The only product approved for tick control on cats is fipronil (frontline).
  • Permethrin – acts as a repellent and kills ticks within 24 hours. Products containing permethrin include Vectra 3D and K9 Advantix.
  • Selamectin – the active ingredient in Revolution is only effective against Dermacentor ticks and has a slower kill rate and may not be the best choice in heavy tick infestations.
  • Deltamethrin Scalibor- An impregnated dog band (collar) that kills fleas and ticks for 6 months
  • Bravecto – Bravecto kills adult fleas and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations (Ctenocephalides felis) and the treatment and control of tick infestations [Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick), Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick), and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick)] for 12 weeks in dogs and puppies 6 months of age and older, and weighing 4.4 pounds or greater.
    Bravecto is also indicated for the treatment and control of Amblyomma americanum (lone star tick) infestations for 8 weeks in dogs and puppies 6 months of age and older, and weighing 4.4 pounds or greater.

Infestations

Most ticks infest dogs with an ambush technique called questing. When the ticks hatch, they climb up on to the tips of weeds, grasses and other vegetation. The ticks have a special sensory apparatus known as Haller’s organ that is located on their forelegs. With their forelegs extended, they can sense animals approaching. When the host brushes up against the vegetation, the ticks release in mass and crawl onto their new host to feed. Hundreds of ticks can release onto your pet at one time. The ticks also have seasonal cycles depending on the climate and geographic region.

Removing the tick

In cases where there are just a few ticks, can be done with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and then with slow, gentle pressure, remove the tick from the skin. You should not crush the tick with your bare fingers because disease transmission to humans can be possible. Sometime, the tick can cause a mild infection at the site, especially if removed improperly and the head remained attached to the skin. In the event there are hundreds of ticks attached, you may want to take your dog to the veterinarian where special dips can be applied to facilitate removal.

Controlling ticks

If you live in an area that tick infestation is prevalent, then year round tick control is advised. If you are going camping with your dog then there are products that you can use prior to camping that will repel, kill or prevent infestation or quick release, depending on the product you use. As always, if your dog is having a tick problem, avoid over the counter medications, they are not as effective and can cause toxicity, especially if a product containing permethrin is accidentally applied to a cat. Your veterinarian will help you choose a product that will help with your flea, tick, and intestinal parasite control as well as heartworm prevention. It may be accomplished with one product or the combination of a few products. Care must be taken when mixing products because potential toxicity may occur.

 

Treating the yard

The prescription tick control products when applied according to the label directions should control your tick population. In some cases, additional yard treatment may be necessary to control ticks.

  • Clean up your yard to eliminate refuge areas for ticks and their wildlife hosts. This can be done by cutting back or burning tall grass, brush piles and weeds growing along fences, between runs and other structures. Sunlight penetration helps to dry out ticks and clearing the brush will reduce places for wildlife tick hosts to hide.
  • If you have a brown dog tick infestation in kennels, you can spray acaricides into cracks and crevices, under and behind cages and along the ceiling boards because ticks like to climb up.
  • Products that are effective against ticks in a kennel include cyfluthrin, premethrin, and s-fenvalarate.
  • These same products also work outside. Broadcast application of acaracide products is rarely necessary for tick control in yards. Rather spot treatment along fences, kennels and shady areas is preferred.
  • In the event of unusually heavy tick populations, you may find it necessary to restrict your pet’s access to the tick infested environments.

Effective yard flea and tick products

  • Bayer Advanced Lawn™ Complete Insect Killer – Active ingredients include Imidacloprid 0.72% and Beta-cyfluthrin 0.36%
  • Bayer Advanced Garden™ PowerForce® Multi-Insect Killer Ready-To-Spay Cyfluthrin 0.75%

Both products come in 32 oz ready to use bottles that can cover approximately 5,000 square feet

  • Do not allow the spray to get into fish ponds, streams or lakes.
  • Remove your pet’s food dishes before you spray
  • Keep your pets and children away from the treated area until the spray has dried completely.
  • Shake well before using to evenly distribute the product.
  • In heavy infestations, you may need to repeat the spraying every 7 to 14 days.
  • These products are ready to spray. Simply attach the bottle to your hose and be sure to follow the label directions precisely. The water from your hose will automatically mix with the concentrate to provide the correct mixture to your yard.
  • Also available is Bayer Advanced™ PowerForce® Multi-Insect Killer Ready to spread Granules.

Other products that are available

  • Conquer: Esfenvalerate 3.48%
  • Tempo Ultra WP Cyfluthrin 10.00%

Learn more about ticks from the CDC The Tick Handbook (click link to download pdf report)

Inclement Weather Early Closing

Due to the icy weather, the clinic will be closing early on Friday and will be open on Saturday, but to be on the safe side, please call the office before heading over. 28-1443-2626

Emergencies, please call the Emergency Clinic at 281-446-4900.

They have re-located to just north of Deerbrook Mall

Tips to Winterize your Pet

Lectro Kitty Window Sill Perch with Optional HeatCold weather is tough on pets. The following recommendations can provide your pet with a much better “quality of life” through the wintertime months:

1)    Update all vaccinations. Increased stress of cold weather lowers the resistance to disease. Your pet needs more than just a Rabies vaccination. Dogs should have DHLPP (Distemper, Adenovirus/infectious canine hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza), and Bordetella boosters each year. Cats should receive FVRCP and Feline Leukemia boosters every year.

Lectro Kitty Window Sill Perch with Optional Heat
2)    Heartworm preventive should be given year-round. The medication kills certain immature stages of the heartworm throughout its journey through the body before it actually reaches the heart. The medication ought to be supplied all year long to make certain all immature heartworms are killed once they get to the stage of susceptibility to the medication.
3)    Internal Parasite Examinations insure your pet is “worm-free”. Internal parasites drain your pet’s blood, protein, and energy.
4)    Feed premium quality diet to fulfill the increased nutritional demands for the duration of cold weather. You get what you pay for in pet foods. “High Protein” labels don’t mean it is “digestible protein”. Pets kept outside should be fed more food to meet their requirements through the winter. Fresh water should always be obtainable. Be sure to provide UNFROZEN water at least twice daily during zero weather. Porcelain bowls will prevent tongues from sticking to it. Steer clear of metal bowls for this reason.There are also heated bowls available to keep the water thawed.
5)    Vitamin supplements, such as Nutrical®,may help increase your pet’s resistance to the effects of cold weather and provide required nutritional elements that often deteriorate once a bag of food has been opened.

6)    Brush your pet every day to maintain its hair coat. Heat in your house may dry the skin. Moisturizers , such as Dermal Soothe Anti-Itch Spray for Dogs & Cats, are available to maintain a healthy coat.
7)    Provide adequate shelter. Supplying adequate shelter from the elements is the key to a healthy outdoor pet. The pet that has a cozy refuge where he can seek shelter from the cold wind, driving rain, sleet, and snow will be much better able to tolerate the cold temperatures. Pet shelters should be tightly constructed and no larger than three times the size of the pet. The doorway should be just large sufficient for the pet to enter and positioned away from the prevailing wind direction. Building the shelter off the ground a couple of inches and adding insulation underneath will significantly add to the pet’s comfort. Be sure all insulation is sealed away from the pet. Position the shelter where it’ll get the most sunlight in the winter. Cedar shavings make the very best bedding. No pet should be out in zero or sub-zero weather for more than a few minutes without adequate shelter. Winter is no time to Begin keeping a pet outside. Acclimatization should begin in warm weather, permitting gradual improve in hair growth as temperatures turn out to be cooler.The best thing to do for your pet is to keep them indoors.
8)    Other Suggestions:
a.    Antifreeze can be deadly. It’s sweet tasting to your pet. Always clean up any spills in the garage or driveway. Contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect even a “few licks” by the pet.
b.    Cats like to sleep close to warm car engines. Know where your cat is and honk your horn before beginning the automobile to make sure no neighborhood cats are taking a snooze under the hood.
c.    Chocolate may be fatal. Keep those giant chocolate kisses and other sweets out of reach from your pet.
d.    Salt can hurt paws. Clean the foot pads instantly when coming back inside.There are dog booties available for your pooch.
e. Heated pet beds may help with your pet’s arthritis and keep the chill off.
f. Sweaters and coats can also help dogs maintain their body temperature better.
Cold Fighter Dog Jacket $69.00 – 20% Discount + Free Shipping