We have been focusing on fleas all week – it is Flea Week, after all – but we couldn’t let the week end without mentioning the other blood-sucking parasite, ticks. If your pet is a tick magnet, like one of my dogs, these nasty creatures may be more of an issue for you than fleas! Let’s face it: Ticks are ugly, they can transmit disease, and they are just plain creepy! Every year, tick-borne diseases become endemic in new areas.
There are many flea products that also kill or repel ticks, including topicals, collars, and sprays. Regardless of which method you use, please keep in mind that if your pets play in wooded areas, it is almost certain that at least once in a while he/she will probably pick up a tick (or two).
The good news (if there is such regarding ticks) is that most tick-borne diseases are not transmitted immediately, so if you get the ticks off your pet within 24 to 36 hours of being bitten, they will hopefully not be able to infect your pet. That’s one reason it is really important to check your pet for ticks and remove them promptly.
Here is some information about the most common tick-borne diseases (in dogs), which ticks carry those diseases, and in which geographical areas these ticks are usually found.
6 Tick-Borne Diseases
Lyme disease – Deer ticks or black-legged ticks are the most common carriers of Lyme disease. These ticks are most prevalent in the northeastern and upper Midwestern United States, and are now becoming endemic in western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh, PA area.
Ehrlichiosis – The lone star tick carries Ehrlichiosis with the highest incidence in the south-central and eastern United States.
Anaplasmosis – Once again, the black-legged tick or deer tick carries this disease, and they are most prevalent in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific coast.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) – The American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick all carry RMSF. Areas of highest incidence include Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
Babesiosis – The black-legged tick carries this disease, mainly in the Northeast and upper Midwest.
An emerging disease that’s quite rare but worth mentioning because it’s not spread by a tick bite, but by dogs that ingest infected ticks, is called American canine hepatozoonosis (ACH). This can happen when a dog removes a tick off his own body, or if he eats prey that is carrying ticks. This can be an extremely debilitating disease, so it’s especially important to remove ticks from your dog before he does. ACH is found in the south-central and southeastern US.
Tracking Tick-Borne Diseases in Your Area
If you want to check your area for incidences of tick disease, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) the below link has a nice interactive map for the US and Canada. http://www.petsandparasites.org/parasite-prevalence-maps/#2017/all/lyme-disease/dog/united-states/
Remember, getting ticks off your pets quickly is an essential part of the prevention of tick-borne diseases. Check your pet regularly when he’s been in the woods or any tick-infested area. There are several items manufactured to aid a pet owner in the removal of ticks, and I’m going to tell you about my personal experience with one such product – Resultix™ Tick Killer for Dogs and Cats.
My Tick Tale
When Jeffers Pet decided to carry the Resultix spray-on tick-killing solution by Bayer, I was… ambivalent, to say the least. At the time, my dogs were on a popular topical flea and tick prevention that had always been very effective… until I moved to the middle of 10 acres of woods. For some reason, Steele, one of my three dogs, began bringing in one tick, every evening, after going out to play and potty. And the most disgusting aspect of bringing in an icky tick is that it was always right on his big, beautiful head! Eeeewwwww!
To say that ticks gross me out is a HUGE understatement… I get goosebumps just thinking about removing one! I decided to try the Resultix. It could NOT have been easier! Simply direct the nozzle at the tick and spray until the tick is covered (usually just two sprays will do it). The tick will die within three hours, and either fall off your pet or will be immobile when removed. Honestly, in my own experience, I was able to watch the tick let go and fall off within a few minutes. The best part is that this product is free of conventional pesticides and can be used as often as needed! Plus, it really works! Ticks still gross me out, but if one of my crew DOES show up with one, I just grab my Resultix, and it’s dead!
Full disclosure: My three dogs wear Seresto collars now, and since Steele’s been wearing his, I’ve seen no more ticks! Still, I keep Resultix on hand, just in case.
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Information given here is meant to be helpful and/or educational. It is, in no way, intended to supersede, challenge or supplant the diagnosis, treatment or advice of a licensed veterinarian.
Renee Jones, CPDT-KSA, is a certified professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers: Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, and Jean Donaldson, to name a few. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She serves as a Pet Marketing and Canine Specialist for JeffersPet and JeffersPet.com.
Questions about this article, training, or non-emergent health concerns are welcome. Renee can be reached most days from 9am – 5pm Central Time (Mon-Fri) at 1-800-JEFFERS (533-3377) ext 381 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.