Tick borne diseases: prevention and treatment

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April is a great month to play outside, whether it’s on the Farm, at a park, or in the backyard. But look out for ticks! Donna, the Dogs On The Farm pet groomer, has already started to see dogs coming in for their regular grooming appointments with ticks. When she spots a tick she removes it with a tick spoon and gives the dog a flea and tick bath.

New Jersey has several common tick borne diseases that can be spread to dogs and humans. We have three types of ticks that carry diseases: Black-legged “deer” ticks, Lone star ticks, and the American dog tick. Disease spread by these ticks include: Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, and Rocky Mt. spotted fever. Read more about these diseases.
The best way to keep your pets safe from tick borne diseases is to prevent the ticks from biting in the first place. Keep your dog well-groomed and brush him out well when he comes in from a walk or from playing outside. It can be difficult to spot ticks especially in a thick coated dog, so a chemical barrier is a good way to repel ticks and prevent bites. Frontline or other topical treatments, flea and tick collars, and monthly pills can all be effective. It is important to discuss with your vet the best tick prevention for your pet and your lifestyle. Be aware that cats are very sensitive to chemicals so make sure to only use treatments approved for cats on cats. There are also treatments, both chemical and natural that can be used on your yard if you notice ticks outside. There is a vaccination available for Lyme disease that you can request at your pet’s yearly exam.
Removing a tick is tricky but can usually be accomplished at home and does not require a vet visit. The best method for removal is to use tweezers to carefully grab the tick close to the skin, then gently but firmly pull straight up, removing the tick. Clean the area and your hands and tweezers afterward with soap and water. If your pet has been bitten by a tick or if you expect he could have been, watch for symptoms of tick borne diseases, which can start anytime up to a few weeks after exposure. Watch for lethargy, lameness, fever, lack of appetite, or other signs that your dog is feeling under the weather.
Most tick borne illnesses are detectable by blood test and treatable with a long course of antibiotics so don’t panic if it turns out your pet has contracted Lyme Disease.

 

April is a great month to play outside, whether it’s on the Farm, at a park, or in the backyard. But look out for ticks! Donna, the Dogs On The Farm pet groomer, has already started to see dogs coming in for their regular grooming appointments with ticks. When she spots a tick she removes it with… Read more »

Sneezy and Itchy? Must be Spring Allergies!

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The weather in our area is starting to warm up as we head into the spring.  People and dogs alike are loving the opportunity to get outside and play more.  And we live a great area for outdoor play! Monmouth County is a wonderful place to be a dog in the spring, with many interesting dog friendly parks and beaches to explore.  Monmouth County Parks

Spring weather and more outdoor time means it’s time to make sure your dog is up to date on his flea and tick and heart worm prevention. It also sometimes means an itchy, scratchy, sneezy dog.

As humans know all too well, spring is a time of seasonal allergies. But did you know that just as humans suffer from allergies, dogs and cats can too?  Some breeds are more inclined than others to display allergy symptoms, but any dog can be affected.

Seasonal allergy symptoms in dogs include many of the same symptoms as human allergies like sneezing and watery eyes.  The most common sign of allergies in pets though is scratching, rubbing, and licking.  Grass can make a dog sneeze, but if he is sensitive to it will also make his feet itch, his skin itch, and his ears itch.  Scratching and chewing can become quite severe. Some dogs will start chewing their itchy feet and a couple days later will be hobbling around on swollen and bloody pads.  Other allergies may progress to a hotspot, leaving a section of your dog’s skin raw and oozing.  Allergies are also linked to recurrent ear infections.

While many types of allergies in dogs can manifest themselves as scratching and chewing, seasonal allergies will come up seasonally then fade as the allergen lessens.  If your dog or cat is showing signs of allergies for more than a couple weeks, it may be time to consider other sources of allergies (have you switched his food recently?).

Treatment for seasonal allergies is much like in humans.  Prevention is the first line of defense, so make sure your dog gets regular baths and brushing to remove pollen and other allergens.  It may help to wipe or rinse his paws when he comes inside.  Clean your air conditioner filters regularly and consider investing in an air purifier.  If the symptoms are increasing or troublesome your vet might recommend an over the counter antihistamine until symptoms let up.

Read more about seasonal allergies.

The weather in our area is starting to warm up as we head into the spring.  People and dogs alike are loving the opportunity to get outside and play more.  And we live a great area for outdoor play! Monmouth County is a wonderful place to be a dog in the spring, with many interesting… Read more »