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Posted on 04-15-2013
Ticks. Nobody likes them; they are sneaky, ugly, not to mention they pose serious helath concerns.
We typically start to see ticks on pets in the early part of spring or just before and this year is no different. Since the beginning of March we have already seen several of our four legged pals carrying these little critters around.
According to experts we can expect to see higher than normal tick populations this year, and with that we may see ticks in areas we don't noramally find them. The upsurge in tick populations is triggered by several factors. First we have been having much milder winters. Without cold weather (below 10 degrees F) ticks will remain alive through the season. Another cause is wildlife. There are an estimated 30 million white tail deer in the U.S., all of whom carry ticks. There are also coyotes, rodents, and migratory birds all with the potential of carying ticks into our backyards. In Santa Cruz County in particular we see more ticks because of suburbanization and the preservation of open spaces. We treasure our wild areas here in Santa Cruz, which means not only do we conserve them, but we visit them often. In essence we are safeguarding a habitat for ticks and allowing ourselves and our pets to come into contact with them. Hopefully for most of us the benfit outweighs the sonsequence and we will continue to keep our green spaces green and our pets free of ticks at the same time. We have lots of tips and tricks to help you out along the way.
If you are an avid hiker you have probably seen your fair share of ticks. If not, don't feel left out-we'll let you know what and where to look for them. Imagine your pet as he cruises through a planted area. He heads face first into the grasses as the shrubs hit his body over his chest and belly. These are the places where ticks are likely to jump on and attach first. Doing a tick check 2-3 times per week, or at the very least after a walk in a wooded or grassy area, is a great habit for avoiding tick borne illness. Focusing on the face, chest, and belly run your fingers through your pet's fur. Go over their enitre body, be thorough-be sure to check around the ears, armpits, neck, and groin. If you feel a small bump or nodule, parts your pet's fur and investigate. If you have found a tick you need to remove it right away. The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it close to the skin using tweezers or you fingers and pull it out with on swift motion. Dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol or flushing down the toilet. clean you pet's skin with soap and warm water and montior the area. If you are uneasy about removal or have concerns please don not hesitate to call us.
Many ticks are quite small when they forst attach making detection difficult. This is one reason we offer preventatives such as Advantix and Frontline Plus. These product are not repellents, but they will start to kill a tick that has attatched to your pet. If you live in or visit often an area known to have ticks or if your pet has a thick coat it is highly recommended that you keep your pet on these preventatives year round.
So what is the big reason we want you and your pet to avoid ticks? Tick borne illness of course!Most people have heard about Lyme disease, but this only one of many diseases that ticks can transmit. These diseases are life threatening and can be transmitted in as little as 48 hours of a tick being attached to your pet. If your pet experiences lameness, lethargy, loss of appetite, or you notice swollen lymph nodes within weeks after a tick bite make an appointment right away. However, not all anomals show outward symptoms making diagnosis difficult. Snce signs of these diseases are not always easy to recognize in both pets and people, simple preventative measures and understanding as much as possible about ticks are the best ways to keep everyone safe.
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