Tick Borne Disease
Ticks are very common in this area and even more prevalent if you are near open space. They are carried by deer and other mammals and can be in your yard even if it is fenced. Ticks can vary in size and often your pet can be bit and you will never even know it. Other times you may find a large, engorged tick attached to your pet and after you have removed it there may be a hard bump with hair loss and skin irritation. Not only are ticks gross and irritating, they can spread diseases such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These diseases can make your pet very sick and require treatment by your veterinarian. Some pets can have been exposed not and not shown signs.
What to do if you find a tick attached to your pet
Firstly, we recommend removing the tick immediately using a tool designed for the task. It’s best not to use your bare hands because infection can spread from the tick into you through cuts on your skin and mucous membranes. We love the De-Ticker and sell them here at the clinic. This great tool grabs the tick at its base where it’s attached and doesn’t let go which allows you to remove it easily. Once removed the tick cannot get away because it’s trapped in the De-Ticker so you can attend to your pet.
After removing the tick you should wash the area where it was attached with mild soap and water. You can also use some Hexadene shampoo or ear flush (if you have that on hand from your vet). After washing and drying the area you can apply a little Neosporin. Lastly, you should wash your hands thoroughly.
You may notice hair loss, a small bump or some skin irritation when the tick was attached and that can last a few weeks. It is important to call us and schedule an appointment right away if you notice any of the following signs. These signs could indicate and local skin infection or a tick- related disease.
- Ulceration of the skin where the tick was attached
- Oozing from the tick bite area
- Decreased Appetite
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
- Trouble getting up or refuses to go on walks
- Pain – either all over or just in one limb
- Pale gums
Should I get the tick tested for Lyme?
In general, we do not recommend that our clients send ticks off for testing by the health department. Our reasons are:
Even if the tick comes back positive for Lyme you still won’t know if your pet has picked it up without testing your pets blood
Many of the tick-related diseases we see are NOT Lyme so a negative result doesn’t mean you still won’t need to watch for signs of illness.