In this blog post from our “From the Vet” series, learn more about recommendations on how to find quality caregivers for your pup and when to introduce them to form the best relationships.
External parasites are not a summer time only problem. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (https://capcvet.org) records and tracks parasite prevalence by state and county. This will provide monthly updates of disease transmission and dogs/cats affected. Based on surveillance and trends reported it is advised that dogs and cats (indoor, outdoor, or both) be protected from parasites every month of the year (dosing frequency depends on the product your pet is on). Every wonder why we advise heartworm prevention all year round? In Summit county, November 2019 there we 12 new cases of heartworm disease, 24 new cases of roundworm infections, and 11 new whipworm infections….What about Lyme disease (tick transmitted)? 31 new cases in the month of November! No prevention is 100% perfect but they are safe and effective. If you buy prevention from your veterinarian on a regular basis and your pet still develops on of these problems the company will often cover some costs related to treatment and follow up testing (this varies by company).
You will find varying opinions on the internet regarding the use of routine parasite prevention but I urge you to discuss concerns related to medications and what is best for your pet with you veterinarian. I have not lost a patient to an adverse drug reaction but I have lost patients due to disease. If you are worried discuss concerns with medical professionals they spend years studying in school and likely have many more years of clinical experience.
A look at the regulars
- The Blacklegged Tick: this tick is found widely distributed among the eastern United States. It is most active in spring, summer, and fall. However, bites also occur in the winter time. This tick can transmit two causative agents of Lyme disease, Erlichia, and Anaplasma. All life stages of these tick can bite
- Lone Star Tick: widely distributed in the eastern United States but more common in the south. This tick can transmit Erlichia, Tularemia, Heartland virus, Bourbon virus, and Southern tick associated rash illness. This tick is very aggressive when it comes to biting and is most active spring through fall.
- American Dog Tick: found east of the Rocky Mountains and in limited areas of the Pacific coast. This tick transmits Tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. This tick is most active during spring and summer
- Brown Dog Tick: found worldwide. This tick transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Dogs are the primary host of the brown dog tick in each life stage but the tick can bite humans or other mammals
These are just a few of the tick species we can see and there are more that transmit disease. If you find a tick attached to your pet and you are not familiar with removal call your veterinarian so they can safely remove the entire tick (even the mouthparts embedded in the skin). Then the tick can be tested for disease by a lab. If you can safely remove the entire tick you can find testing information at Tick Encounter (https://tickencounter.org/tick_testing). If the tick test positive for disease let your veterinarian know and we can recommend appropriate treatment. It is also a good idea to re-evaluate your parasite prevention/ vaccine needs with your veterinarian.