Tick Prevention for Dogs and Cats in River North
If you go camping frequently or are an avid hiker, chances are you’ve encountered ticks before. Even if you aren’t an outdoor enthusiast, chances are more and more likely that you’ll run into these bloodsucking arachnids. Tick populations are on the rise, and to protect ourselves and our pets, we need to be more vigilant. With these tick prevention tips from our animal hospital, we hope to encourage a more proactive approach to ticks.
Know Your Tick
While there are some 15 species of ticks in Illinois alone, only four are a risk to us and our pets. These include:
- American dog tick – most active from April-June
- Diseases they carry: Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, ehrlichiosis
- Black-legged tick – larvae/nymphs: most active from April-June; adults: may be active in both the spring and fall
- Diseases they carry: Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis
- Lone Star tick – most active from April-July
- Diseases they carry: Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis
- Brown dog tick – most active during the summer as it is tropical in origin
- Diseases they carry: Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Tick Prevention Tips for Your Pet
Don’t let ticks make a meal out of your pet. Use these tips to prevent bites:
- Keep your pet’s tick preventative medication up to date all year long. Ticks, like the brown dog tick, can live their entire lifecycle indoors. Ask your veterinarian about our parasite prevention options if your dog or cat is currently unprotected.
- If you will be hiking with your dog in an area known for ticks, you can add another layer of protection with pet-safe tick repellants such as Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Spray.
- Check your pet frequently when outdoors, and after you come inside, for any ticks that may be crawling around, or attached.
- Clear your yard of tick-friendly habitats such as leaf litter, grass clippings, tall grass, and brush.
Tick-borne diseases usually take up to several hours to be transmitted to their host, so prompt removal is very important! Here’s how to do it safely.
- Use rubber gloves, latex, or even a paper towel on your hands to avoid handling the tick with your bare hands.
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull up straight with gentle, but steady pressure to keep the tick’s body from tearing.
- Place the tick in a sealable container to keep in case symptoms develop and your vet needs to identify it.
- Monitor the bite wound for signs of infection. Keep in mind that pets will not develop the classic bulls-eye rash that humans develop, so other signs of illness need to be observed.
- If your pet begins acting strangely, develops a fever, or other signs of illness, bring them to your veterinarian right away.
If you have any questions or concerns about ticks, prevention, or removal, please contact our animal hospital at (312) 643-2901.