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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Ticks View In Cats

First Aid Condition

First aid health condition

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Condition Overview

Ticks are found in nearly all parts of the United States and are especially prevalent in the spring and fall.

Symptoms

Ticks are visible to the naked eye. The saliva of ticks can also produce an allergic hypersensitivity reaction, and in the case of the female wood tick, lone star tick, and Gulf Coast tick, cause a disease called tick paralysis.

Causes

Ticks do not run and jump as fleas do. They are very slow moving. They climb up grass and plants and hold their legs up to sense passing hosts. When a warm blooded animal passes by, the adult tick crawls onto them and begins feeding.

Ticks can fasten to any part of the dogs skin, but are commonly found around the ears, between the toes, and sometimes in the armpits. A severely infested dog may have hundreds of ticks all over their body. The ticks insert their mouths, attach to their host, and engorge themselves with a blood meal. During feeding, tick saliva can get into the host's body and blood stream and this is how disease is transmitted.

Ticks may drop off a dog and transfer to people, although this is uncommon. Once a tick begins feeding on a dog, it will feed until it is engorged and will not seek a second host.

Tick paralysis is believed to be caused by a neurotoxin in the tick saliva that slowly paralyzes the dog over a 48 - 72 hour period. If you remove all the ticks, the paralysis will usually go away within a day or two.

Diagnosis

If your dog has ticks, you will be able to see them. Always examine your dog after hiking in tick-infested areas. Areas of particular interest are around the ears, between the toes, and in the armpit. Keep in mind that ticks may reside on any part of your pet's body.

Treatment

If you find only 1 or 2 ticks, the easiest thing to do is remove them, Keep in mind that the blood of ticks can be dangerous to humans. DO NOT CRUSH or squeeze a tick with your bare fingers. Always wear gloves when removing ticks.

To remove a tick: Ticks that are not attached to the skin are easily removed with a pair of tweezers. There are a few specialty tick removal tools on the market from Ticked Off, Protick Remedy, and Tick Nipper, however, a standard pair of tweezers will do the job just as well.

Ticks that are attached to the skin (head is buried in the skin) must be handled with care. Grasp the head of the tick, as close to the dogs skin as possible and pull straight out slowly and gently. You will see the skin pull slightly with this action, this is normal. Your goal is to remove the entire tick (including its head). If the head happens to come off and remain buried in the skin, it will generally not cause problems for most pets. The pets body will wither absorb the material or eject it within a few days. Redness and swelling are likely to occur at the site of the bite, but in most cases, this reaction clears up in 2 - 3 days. A dab of antibiotic ointment will help prevent most skin infections. However, if it does not, or if the redness seems to be getting worse, consult your vet for advice.

Use the tweezers to place the tick in a jar or plastic dish with a little alcohol. Seal this container well and either dispose of it in an outdoor garbage can, or retain it for a veterinarian examination. Ask your vet whether or not it is necessary to bring this tick in for testing.

If the dog hs many ticks, treatment involves an insecticide dip containing natural or synthetic pyrethrins labeled for ticks, or organophosphate dip such as Paramite. With heavy infestation, dip the dog every week for 4 - 6 weeks. Be sure to eliminate all ticks from the dogs sleeping quarters as well.

Ticks can work their way deep into the ear canals. These ticks should be removed by a vet.

Prevention

Ticks must attach for several hours before they can transmit diseases. If you remove all ticks promptly after your dog has been running in fields or woods, you can prevent may tick-borne infections. Ticks like being warm and protected, so pay special attention to the areas under your pet's legs and in or around the ears.

Keep grass and weeds trimmed below ankle height, as ticks will position themselves off the ground on vegetation. Remove brushy cover and rock piles, secure trash can lids, relocate wood piles and bird feeders away from the home. These steps will reduce the instance of tick carrying rodents being attracted to your property. Stick to trails while on hikes and avoid the longer grasses where ticks tend to hide.

Treating a yard with tick control agents will help reduce the occurrence of ticks. Frontline Plus, Advantix, and Advantage all help to control flea and tick infestations.

Support

Please contact your veterinarian if you are unsure of how to remove a tick.

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Dogs, Dog Breeds and Dog Care

Publisher: Anness Publishing Limited, 1999

Website: http://www.southwaterbooks.com/

Authors: Dr. Peter Larkin, Mike Stockman

The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats

Publisher: Bantam Dell Publishing, 1996

Website: http://www.randomhouse.com/bantamdell/

Authors: Matthew Hoffman, Laura Catalano, Maryanne Dell

The First Aid Companion for Dogs And Cats

Publisher: Rodale Inc, 2001

Website: http://www.rodalebooks.com/

Authors: Amy D. Shojai, Shane Bateman DVM

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