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Tick Prevention

Ticks are becoming more prevalent in northern Indiana every year. It is important to protect your pet from tick infestation because ticks can transmit numerous diseases that can affect dogs, cats, and humans. Not only will you protect your pet from contracting a tick-borne disease, but you will also be protecting your family.

 

Species of Ticks

 

There are several species of ticks found throughout the United States. The most commonly identified ticks in northern Indiana are the Black-legged tick or Deer tick, the American dog tick, and the Brown dog tick. On rare occasions, the Lone-Star tick has been identified. If you find a tick on your pet, identification can be helpful in determining their risk for different tick-borne diseases. Some diseases are transmitted by a specific species of tick.

 

Tick-borne Diseases

  • Anaplasmosis: Anaplasmosis is a bacteria transmitted by Deer ticks and Brown dog ticks. It can cause fever, depression, lethargy, weakness, and an enlarged spleen

  • Babesiosis: This disease is caused by a bacteria transmitted by many species of ticks. It can cause fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, anemia, low platelet count, enlarged spleen, vomiting, swollen abdomen (ascites), edema, and bleeding of the gums. 

  • Ehrlichiosis: Ehrlichiosis is caused by a bacteria transmitted by the Brown dog tick and American dog tick. It can cause fever, anorexia, weight loss, lethargy, depression, discharge from the eyes and nose, swollen lymph nodes, anemia, low platelet count, and low white blood cell count.

  • Feline Infectious Anemia (FIA): This disease of cats is caused by a bacteria called Mycoplasma hemofelis. It is transmitted by different species of ticks and can cause anemia ranging from mild to severe depending on the stage of the infection. Cats affected by FIA may show signs of anorexia, weight loss, lethargy, weakness, pale gums, vomiting, fever, rapid breathing, heart arrhythmias, icterus, and kidney failure. FIA can be fatal if it goes untreated.

  • Lyme Disease: This disease is caused by a bacteria transmitted by the Deer tick. See our page on Lyme disease for more information.

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: RMSF is caused by a bacteria that can be transmitted by the American dog tick and Brown dog tick. It can be transmitted to dogs and humans. In dogs, signs of disease include fever, anorexia, depression, lethargy, stiffness, edema, swollen lymph nodes, and neurologic signs.

  • Tick Paralysis - This condition is caused by a neurotoxin produced in the saliva of some female ticks. An affected dog will have ascending limb paralysis, change or loss of voice, coughing, vomiting, and pooling saliva in the mouth. Clinical signs will resolve once the attached tick is identified and removed.

 

Tick Prevention

 

We recommend that tick prevention be used on all pets that are at risk of tick exposure. This includes pets that spend time in wooded areas, long grass, ditches, brush, or near bodies of water. Ticks are most prevalent in the late spring to early fall. We recommend starting a tick preventative when the temperature is consistently above 50 and continuing until a hard frost occurs in the fall. Typically, this is April-November in northern Indiana, but variation can occur.

Dog Tick Preventatives

The mode of action refers to how the flea is affected by the preventative product. “Bite” means that the flea must bite the dog to be affected while “repellant” means that the product helps to repel fleas.

Cat Tick Preventatives

The mode of action refers to how the flea is affected by the preventative product. “Bite” means that the flea must bite the cat to be affected while “repellant” means that the product helps to repel fleas.

How to remove a tick

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.

  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure (as shown in diagram below). DO NOT twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. Also be sure to contact your veterinarian to let them know about the tick found on your pet.

 
Removing Ticks