Tick Prevention Tips from Our Animal Hospital
Kryder Veterinary Clinic in Granger just happens to be in a hot spot of tick activity—deer ticks, to be exact. Tick season is generally from late May to August, but it has started earlier this year. What’s more, deer ticks are known for carrying the Lyme disease-causing bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. With increasing reports of ticks throughout St. Joseph and surrounding counties, our veterinarians strongly recommend getting adequate tick protection for your pet and taking additional steps to keep your family safe.
Types of Ticks Seen in Indiana
The American dog tick is common in northern Indiana, but deer ticks are also becoming more widespread. There is also the Lone Star tick, which is more common in southern Indiana.
Deer ticks are also called black-legged ticks. They are a mahogany color with a dark brown/black head and upper body. Go here to see the difference between an American dog tick and a blacklegged tick.
Diseases Ticks Can Transmit to Pets and People
Lyme disease is classified as a zoonotic disease, meaning people as well as animals can be infected. Other diseases transmitted by ticks include:
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Tick-bite paralysis
Lyme disease can be dangerous because clinical signs often do not appear for several months. Ehrlichiosis has three clinical stages, and the second usually involves no clinical signs either, which could give pet parents the false impression that their companion is healthy when they really aren’t.
Preventing Tick Bites
The best way to prevent tick-borne diseases is to prevent ticks from biting altogether. Ticks are tricky pests due to their very small size, and the fact that they can easily attach to a host as they’re passing by.
Here’s what you can do to reduce the likelihood of tick bites and a tick infestation:
- Keep your grass trimmed short
- Remove tall weeds an clear away underbrush and leaf litter from your yard
- Trim down shrubs and other low-level vegetation
- Give your pet their tick preventative regularly as directed
- Have your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease
- Avoid walking with your pet through heavily wooded areas, where ticks often dwell
- Wear light-colored clothing that has been treated with permethrin (do not apply to skin)
- Tuck your shirt into your pants and tuck your pants into your socks, and wear a hat to cover your hair
- Use EPA-registered insect repellent
Before you go inside, be sure to:
- Check your pet around their tail, ears, eyelids, under the collar, under the front legs, between their back legs, and between their toes for ticks
- Remove your shoes and socks just in case
Also make sure to wash your clothes in hot water and tumble dry them on high heat in case any ticks are clinging to the fibers.