(PET CARE) Earlier this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning about a rise in diseases from ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas. In the last 13 years, diagnoses of tick-born diseases alone have more than doubled.

Given this increase, prevention should be everyone’s priority–especially during the spring, summer, and early-fall when ticks are most active. Read the tips below to help your pet stay tick-free all year long. — Global Animal

Warmer weather is the main cause of the recent surge in ticks. Photo Credit: Cesar’s Way

Tick Prevention

Products and medications

Numerous products and medications to prevent ticks on your dog are available both over the counter and from your veterinarian. Some veterinarians suggest putting a tick collar on your pet; some will also vaccinate to prevent Lyme disease in dogs. But no method offers 100 percent protection.

Check your dog

Check your dog for ticks every day, especially during tick season: spring, summer and fall, or year-round in warmer climates. Brush your fingers through their fur, applying enough pressure to feel any small bumps. If you do feel a bump, pull the fur apart to identify it. An embedded tick will vary in size, from a pinhead to a grape. Ticks are usually black or dark brown. Depending on the size and location of the tick, its legs may also be visible. Ticks need to be embedded for 24–48 hours to spread infections.

Tick removal

Removing embedded ticks is a delicate operation, because a piece might break off and remain in your dog’s skin if removal is done improperly. Follow the steps to the right or consider bringing your dog to a veterinary clinic where a veterinarian or technician can perform the task safely and show you how it’s done. Make sure the tick is removed promptly, as infection can occur after 24 hours.

Annual Screening for Tick Diseases

The broad spectrum of possible symptoms associated with tick-borne diseases in dogs (including no symptoms) makes screening a vital component of your pet’s annual veterinary exam. Tests are fast, with results while you wait. Regular screening for infection is not only important for disease identification, it’s necessary so that a treatment program can begin as quickly as possible. Be sure to ask your veterinarian to perform the test.

Signs of Common Diseases

Tick diseases, such as Lyme disease or anaplasmosis, can show up in your pet in a number of ways, often mimicking other ailments. Sometimes, dogs infected with one or even multiple tick-borne diseases display no signs at all.

Treatment of Tick Disease

Several broad-spectrum antibiotics are available to treat Lyme disease and are generally effective, especially in the early stages of the disease. Response to antibiotics is typically seen within 3 to 5 days. Be sure to follow the treatment plan recommended by your veterinarian and continue to have your dog(s) screened at annual checkups.

Ticks, Dogs and Your Family

Humans and other noncanine family members can become infected with the same tick-borne diseases that threaten dogs. If you live in a tick-infested area or if you’ve ever found a tick on your dog, you should be as diligent checking yourself and your family as you are checking your dogs. Make it a habit after spending time outdoors. If tick exposure is followed by a fever and/or rash, contact your physician. Click here to read more about tick-borne diseases and humans at the Centers for Disease Control Web Site.

More Dogs And Ticks: http://www.dogsandticks.com/tips-protect-your-dog-from-tick-diseases/#prevention

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  1. Readers should be mindful that finding and promptly removing ticks (from a person or pet) can dramatically reduce risk of infection. Once the tick has been removed, have it identified. Only certain kinds of ticks can transmit the agent of Lyme disease. Physical samples can be sent, or digital images uploaded, for a rapid, confidential, independent and expert evaluation. For more information, visit https://identify.us.com.  The results can be helpful to people, pets and their clinicians.
    Richard Pollack, PhD (IdentifyUS LLC)