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Protecting Your Pet from Ticks

 by jaime on 27 Jun 2014 |
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Ticks are tiny, blood-sucking parasites that attach to your pet. Ticks feed on the blood of their hosts and can transmit several infectious organisms to your pet. Pets that live in wooded areas are at an increased risk of a tick infestation. Dogs are more commonly infected than cats, however outdoor felines in rural areas are susceptible to ticks as well. Although ticks can be found anywhere, they thrive in wooded areas, with thick brush and high grasses.

There are several types of ticks including the American dog tick, the brown dog tick, the Lone Star tick, the Gulf Coast tick, the black-legged tick, the Western black-legged tick, the Spinose ear tick and the Rocky Mountain wood tick. Ticks can cause several infectious diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and feline infectious anemia. Black-legged ticks are the carriers of Lyme disease.

When a tick bites your pet, it can transmit bacteria to the animal while it is sucking its blood. However, the tick must remain attached to the animal for a time period of 24 to 48 hours for the bacteria to enter into the pet's bloodstream. If a tick is found on your pet, it is important to remove it as soon as possible. Ticks can be removed with a pair of tweezers or a device designed for tick removal. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible where it is attached and pull back with gentle pressure. Don't try to burn the tick since it can release organisms into the body.

If your pet has contracted a tick transmitted disease, there are several symptoms that could be present, depending on the type of tick and bacteria. Signs may include malaise, decreased appetite, fever, swollen lymph nodes, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal discharge and joint pain. If you notice any of these symptoms or spot a tick on your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately. If a tick is present, remove it, place it in a small plastic bag or container and take it with you.

Anemia is another danger that ticks can pose to pets. An adult female tick can ingest large amounts of blood. If an animal has a severe tick infestation, severe blood loss could result. Ticks also inject chemicals into the body that can cause allergic reactions resulting in severe itching and skin irritation. Ticks can also secrete a toxin that affects the nervous system and causes a type of paralysis. Symptoms usually begin with weakness in the limbs, followed by difficulty breathing and swallowing. Death may result if the condition progresses.

If you live in an area where tick infestation poses a threat to your pet and family, it is important to take preventative measures to control ticks. Ticks are most active during the summer months through early fall. However, they may continue to be active throughout mild winters as well. There are several yard products that can kill and repel both fleas and tick. Consult your veterinarian for information in determining which products would be best for your pet and environment. You can also reduce the risk of tick infestation by keeping your yard clean, keeping the grass cut and pulling weeds. If necessary, limit your pet's roaming range, to keep the animal away from tick prevalent areas.

Want to protect your furry friend from ticks? Our online store stocks heavily discounted (up to 75% off) tick treatments from leading brands.

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