Ticks

Ticks are in the arachnid family, i.e. spiders, scorpions, mites and not an insect i.e. fleas, flies and lice. Since they have no wings, they can only crawl, they cannot fly or jump. They find their only food source, blood, by sensing heat, odor and humidity. They climb to the top of tall grass and wait to sense and crawl onto their prey.

Both male and female Ticks need to feed on blood before they can have sex and get pregnant. Once the males copulate, they die. Once Females are pregnant, she will drop to the ground and start depositing eggs. Depending on the type of tick, she may or may not need to feed in between her egg droppings. Once all of her eggs are deposited, she dies.  A newborn tick, larve stage, are not carriers of the bacteria unless they feed off of a small varmin, i.e. field mouse, that is infected.

Egg, Larva, nymph then adult are the life stages of a tick. Life cycle is completed in 2 years and require a different host for each stage. Lyme disease is caused by a type of bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi , whose primary carrier is the common dear in the NE and upper Midwest.

A dog or person usually acquires Lyme disease through the bite of an infected nymph or adult tick. An bacteria infected tick must be attached to the host (dog) for about  48 hours  for  bacteria transmission to occur.  If removed < 48 hours, chances of your dog being infected are nil. Even if the tick bites and isn’t removed til  after 48 hours there is still a chance the dog will not contract lyme disease.  Studies have shown approximately 10% of dogs exposed to the bacteria will contract the disease.  A dogs natural immune system may fight off the infection.

An infected dog poses no threat to human family members. They are only a food source for the tick. The problem arises if the tick detaches from the dog without having a full meal, then  they may seek a substitute human to finish dinner.

Tick Removal

Remove ticks by carefully using tweezers to firmly grip the tick as close to the pet’s skin as possible and gently and steadily pulling the tick free without twisting it or crushing the tick during removal. Crushing, twisting or jerking the tick out of the skin while its head is still buried could result in leaving the tick’s mouth parts in your pet’s skin; this can cause a reaction and may become infected. After removing the tick, crush it while avoiding contact with tick fluids that can carry disease. Do not attempt to smother the tick with alcohol or petroleum jelly, or apply a hot match to it, as this may cause the tick to regurgitate saliva into the wound and increase the risk of disease if the tick is infected. Wash the affected area with soap and water, and disinfect the bite site and your hands. Ordinary household brands of 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol or 2% tincture of iodine are adequate skin-surface disinfectants.

Symptoms

In dogs:

Sign appear 2-5 months after an infected tick bite
fever between 103 and 105°
lameness
swelling in the joints
swollen lymph nodes
lethargy
loss of appetite

Prevention of ticks:

K9 advantix and Frontline are the more popular chemical formula choices. Below are the differences between the two (Based on label claims).

k9 Advantix Frontline Plus
Repels Kills Repels Kills
X X ticks X
X X fleas X
X X mosquitoes
X biting flies
X chewing lice X

Holistic approach:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can be used as a bath or as an oral medication. As a bath, simply add three to four cups of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s bath. Be sure to clean your dog entirely, focusing on the paws, ears, and neck areas. Apple cider vinegar can also be added to your pet’s water. Add three tablespoons to your dog’s water daily.

2. Neem Oil

Neem oil is a natural insecticide. It has both antiseptic and antibacterial properties so you can basically apply it on your dog’s body with confidence and ease. What’s more, it can repel insects like mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.

3. Eucalyptus

If you want an all-natural insect repellent for your pet, eucalyptus can greatly help. Eucalyptus acts like a natural deodorizer and can keep ticks away because they won’t be inclined to attach to your dog.

4. Lavender

Lavender is a light-scented oil that can be used to repel ticks in dogs. When added with other essential oils such as thyme, St. John’s Wort, and base oil, your dog can experience healing, rejuvenating relief in no time. Lavender is effective against bacteria while thyme can stimulate your pet’s immune system.

Pork Chop’s Way

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