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Ticks And How It Impacts Your Pets

Ticks And How It Impacts Your Pets

Our goal at The Pet Clinic is to continue to provide the best care for your pet. To do that we attend multiple continuing education (or C.E.) events, seminars, etc. At these events we learn what is new in the ever changing world of veterinary medicine.

Last week, Audrey (our head registered veterinary technician), and Brittany (our practice manager) attended "Ticks And How They Impact The Upper Midwest: An Update". The presentation was given by Glen Needham, Professor Emeritus of Entomology and Acarology from The Ohio State University. A large part of our job includes parasites and the diseases that they transmit to our pets. The list we usually see includes heartworms, internal parasites, fleas and ticks.

Wednesday at 4:15 we received a call, a yellow lab puppy had torn her paw pad. Dr. Williamson, Audrey and Brittany prepared for the puppy to arrive at 4:30 , luckily it was a non weight bearing paw pad, and she was very cooperative. After assessing the patient, and deciding on a treatment plan, we numbed the paw pad and Dr. Williamson sutured the cut closed. She went home with an e-collar, and was doing much better.

That left us a few minutes to get ready and head to Worthington. We hit some traffic, and made it to J Liu Restaurant just in time! Dinner was served first, and was delicious. Then Glen Needham spoke about ticks, and how their environments are changing. He discussed the effects this had on veterinary medicine and the diseases ticks can transmit to our pets. There was a lot of great information discussed, that applies directly to our jobs as pet advocates. We wanted to share the top five things we learned.

1. There are three main ticks in Ohio, each of which carry separate diseases. Ticks transmit those diseases when they are feeding on their host (your pet), the disease goes out of the ticks gut, passes through the saliva of the tick, and at that time becomes a form of the disease that can effect the host. It has always been the perception that each species of tick carries its own specific diseases. DID YOU KNOW? Through research in Coshocton County, Ohio, it was found if two separate tick species were feeding on the same host, and in close proximity, they can trade diseases. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? If your pet has American Dogs Ticks (common in Champaign County), most people think Lyme Disease wouldn't be a big concern. With this new research, an American Dog Tick could be feeding on the same mouse as a Black Legged Tick (which carries Lyme Disease) when they are babies (or nymphs). During this feeding the dog tick could get Lyme Disease, and when it feeds on your pet, your pet would then get Lyme Disease.

2. The CDC (Center of Disease Control) originally published that ticks transmit diseases to there hosts after 24 hours of feeding. DID YOU KNOW? This has been found recently to be inaccurate. It is now thought that disease transmission happens around 18 hours or less of feeding. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? The prevention you use for ticks matters. It is important to know what ticks they kill, and how quickly. Some brands of prevention advertise they start killing ticks in as little as two hours, while that is great, we need to know when the last ones are killed. The quicker ALL the ticks are killed, the smaller the chance of disease transmission is.

3. Following the above point, since the CDC doesn't have an exact time of when diseases are transmitted from tick to your pet, the best protection against Lyme Disease specifically is to get your pet vaccinated. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? Even in the cases when you are using a prescription oral flea and tick prevention (which are the fastest tick kill), it is the safest for your pet to be vaccinated as well. That way, even if the disease is transmitted immediately after contact, your pet is still protected.

4. Ticks have 2000-6000 larvae at one time. DO YOU KNOW? Ticks don't actually jump out of trees, they live on the ground. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? Ticks get on you, or your pets when you walk through the grass and look for exposed skin and hair. That means when they are on your head, they have climbed all the way up your body.

5. Most people don't use effective tick prevention. DO YOU KNOW? There are other diseases that ticks transmit. Those diseases do not have vaccines like Lyme Disease does. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? Even if you pet is only near ticks in some situations (when you are traveling, camping, etc.) then they should be on prevention. It takes one tick bite from an infected pest, and your pet can get many diseases such as Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and others.   

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