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May 2015: The Truth About Ticks

Ticks are pet owner’s indisputable dreaded enemy.  None of us want to find a tick on our pets, ourselves or any member of our family. Besides the obvious “ick” factor, ticks are bad news because they emit pathogens and can transmit diseases which can cause fever, fatigue and serious pain in humans.  This month we put ticks under the microscope, bust some myths and show you how these parasites have no place on our pets!

Lyme disease is the only illness that ticks can transmit to dogs and humans.

Lyme disease is the most widely known and common tick disease but there are others that ticks can carry and transmit.  These include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularaemia (American Dog tick) and ehrlichiosis (Lone Star tick).


All Deer tick bites result in Lyme disease

Not all Deer ticks are infected with the Lyme disease bacterium.  It’s been reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that one in every four to five ticks might be infected in areas where Lyme disease is common however, in other areas where it’s rarer, the figure may be like one in one hundred.  Possible infection also drops dramatically if a tick is removed within 24 hours.


All ticks carry Lyme disease.

Lone star ticks, the American dog tick, and the brown dog tick do not transmit Lyme disease.  According to the CDC only Deer ticks (a.k.a Blacklegged ticks) carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. 


The best way to remove a tick is with fingernail polish, petroleum jelly, freezing it off or burning it off.

These so called tricks you’ve heard about removing ticks are unnecessary and possibly dangerous.  Your pet’s hair is highly flammable so using a lighter or a match around your pet is high risk.  Another risk associated with burning a tick off your pet is poisonous fumes are released into the air when ticks are burnt and these toxins can be harmful to pets and children.  The only tool you need to successfully remove a tick is set of tweezers.  Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and gently pull it out without twisting or jerking.


Ticks die in winter.

No such luck! Contrary to popular belief ticks can survive the cooler winter months. For example adult Deer ticks actually begin their feeding activity around the time of the first frost and will latch onto your pet anytime the temperature is above freezing.  Even though high season for ticks runs from April through to November, a tick infection can occur anytime throughout the year.


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