Lifestyle

Ticks: The Summertime Peril! | Pets

Don
Don't let your little guy get ambushed by Lyme Disease.
— image credit: File Photo

With summer months not too far off, pet owners are once again preparing to let their dogs spend more time outdoors. Just like adults, dogs no doubt look forward to the return of warm weather after a long winter spent largely indoors.

As rejuvenating as spring and summer can be, it can also be dangerous. Ticks are most active in spring through fall, and can easily attach to dogs who play in tall brush or grass, potentially leading to Lyme disease. Dog owners who understand ticks and Lyme disease can likely reduce their dog's risk for tick infestation or illness. Learning about each and taking preventive measures ensures the pooch's spring fling is a safe one.

What Do Ticks Want?

Ticks are external parasites that hope to feed on the blood of host animals. There are several types of ticks, but the brown dog tick and the American dog tick are common culprits when a dog is infested with ticks.

Where Are Ticks On a Dog's Body?

When dogs have a tick infestation, the ticks typically stay near the head, neck, feet, and ears. However, if a dog has a severe infestation the ticks could very well be found anywhere on a dog's body.

Are Ticks Visible?

Ticks are visible to the naked eye. When the weather is warm, dog owners should routinely inspect their dogs for ticks. If you find a tick on your dog, be especially careful when removing it. Treat the area with rubbing alcohol and remove the tick with tweezers, being sure to remove the biting head and other body parts. Once the tick or ticks have been removed, take the dog to a veterinarian for a closer examination and for tips to prevent another infestation.

Can My Dog Get Lyme Disease?

Dogs are capable of getting Lyme disease, the signs of which are swelling of the lymph nodes, loss of appetite, fever, lameness, and swollen, painful joints. Dogs suffering from Lyme disease may also experience renal failure. For dog owners worried their dog might have Lyme disease, visit the veterinarian immediately. The vet will give the dog a physical exam and likely order blood tests.

Can Lyme Disease Be Treated?

Canine Lyme disease is not difficult to treat if it's detected early. Many cases are treated effectively with antibiotics. Once treatment begins, the dog's condition could begin to improve in as little as 48 hours.

Dog owners who suspect their dog might have a tick infestation should examine the dog's body and consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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