Spring is here! The weather is getting warmer. Flowers are blooming. The grass is getting green and tall….and ticks are everywhere looking for their next meal and ride. Did you know that 1 in 5 dogs in our area gets infected with Borrelia, the organism that causes Lyme Disease? Ehrlichia canis is another very common canine tick-borne infection in this area. Less commonly we see infections with Anaplasma and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever. Cytauxzoonosis is a fatal feline tick-borne disease that is also seen in our area. These diseases not only make your pet sick but can also be fatal.
Preventing the attachment of ticks is essential to avoiding tick borne illnesses in you and your pets. Always check yourself and your pets for ticks after walking in the woods, tall grass, or brush, especially in the spring and fall months. Be sure your pet is on a monthly tick preventative medicine like Simparica in dogs and Revolution Plus in cats. Since 2013, we have had the new class of flea and tick preventatives known as Isoxalines for which Simparica is one brand. These new preventatives are highly effective for up to 30 days and very safe. Many of the older flea and tick preventatives are now starting to show some resistance so it is important to have your pet on an Isoxaline.
Every year we test dogs for Heartworm disease, Lyme, Ehrlichia and Anaplasma. If your pet is positive for one of the tick-borne diseases and is not sick, we may elect to not treat the infection believing the immune system is actively and adequately fighting the infection. We will always recommend treating the pet if there is a co-infection with two or more diseases or if the pet is actively ill from the infection.
Enjoy the spring and please work at keeping the ticks off you and your pet.