Kick the Ticks!

As summer finally arrives, so do our least favorite bugs. Ticks are here, hiding in the woods and grass, eagerly waiting for a meal. The victim? You and your pet. 
Pet owners should keep in mind that it has to be VERY cold to kill a tick, at least 10 degrees F, and it has to stay at that temperature for some time. All it takes is temperatures of around 40 degrees F for ticks to be active. For that reason, we should take precautionary measures for ourselves and our pets should be on a flea and tick preventative year-round!
What’s worse than a tick? A boat load of ticks. According to Dr. Susan Little, expert in veterinary parasitology at Oklahoma State University, there has been a considerable increase in tick populations in the last ten years.
There are many reasons that the tick population has risen:

  • Warmer winters
  • Suburbanization
  • An increase in white-tailed deer
  • Migratory birds
  • The use of fewer insecticides

Not only are ticks nasty to look it, they carry several diseases that could infect you or your pet – the most well-known being Lyme disease.
The deer tick is the culprit. A good indicator of a deer tick carrying Lyme disease is a bull’s eye rash around the bite. Other symptoms of Lyme disease in humans include fatigue, fever, headache, joint pain, and enlarged lymph nodes. In your pet, you may notice lethargy, limping or stiffness when walking or laying down/getting up.
The good news is that Lyme is treatable in both humans and pets. Consult your doctor if a bull’s eye rash appears or if you have symptoms of the disease in the weeks following a bite. Contact your veterinarian if your pet has ticks or shows any of the symptoms of the disease.
There are things to do to reduce the chance of you or your pet getting a tick bite:

  • Wear long pants and long sleeves when out in the woods or tall grass.
  • Use monthly flea and tick preventative on your pets
  • Always check your pet and yourself for ticks after being outdoors.
  • If you find a tick, use tweezers to pull it out. Other methods, such as petroleum jelly, nail polish remover or burning matches, don’t work.

For more information about ticks and Lyme disease, go to the Centers for Disease Control website,