I think it’s safe to say that this spring has been nothing close to normal. The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting isolation has turned life as we know it upside down! Even though our lives have been put on hold during this time, Mother Nature has not, and spring is here. This means that ticks, fleas, and mosquitos are on their way- and likely won’t respect social distancing guidelines!
Ticks, fleas, and mosquitos are annoying pests, and they can all cause medical issues for our pets (and us!). Certain ticks in MN carry diseases such as Lyme, Anaplasma, and Babesiosis. Fleas are often the cause of tapeworm infection in dogs and cats, and mosquitos can give pets deadly heartworm disease. It is important to remember that if you find a tick on your pet, you are at risk as well! Everyone, animal and person, should be checked for ticks before bed each night. If a tick is removed within 24 hours from attaching, the chance of disease spread is close to zero. Contact us to purchase Seresto collars or other flea/tick medication to be applied every month from now until fall.
On a side note, we often see spots on our dogs that look like the classic bullseye rash of Lyme disease in humans. Dogs don’t typically develop this type of rash with Lyme disease. These spots on dogs are usually caused not by a tick but by a gnat or black fly and should go away without treatment in 3-5 days.
If you do find an attached tick on your pet, the best way to remove it is to grasp it as close to the skin with a tweezers and pull in the direction of the tick’s body. Do not put anything on or over the tick such as alcohol or Vaseline to see if it will let go. These methods don’t work and can introduce infection or irritate the skin. If you pull the tick off and part of the mouth pieces or “head” is left in the skin, don’t worry! The body will push it out on its own in time. As long as you have removed the majority of the tick, you have stopped it from passing disease to your pet.
Below are links to more information about ticks and other pests that we see this time of year. Please contact us with any concerns or to get flea/tick preventatives. Stay safe! We can’t wait to see you all at the next clinic!