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FACTS ABOUT TICKS

Appearance

Small (1/8 - 1/2" long) dark brown, round, blood-sucking parasite. Adult ticks have eight legs, larvae or seed ticks have six.

Life Cycle

4 stages:

  • egg
  • larva
  • nymph
  • adult
Warning Signs

Ticks may appear as a small dark speck on your pet's fur, or may appear as small growths when engorged. Examine your pet's skin regularly, checking for the presence of ticks. Infestations are more common in dogs than cats.

Tick-Related Problems

Although not all ticks carry disease, it is important to note that certain ones can transmit various diseases. The brown dog tick and the American dog tick are the most common carriers of disease among dogs. This includes Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease and tick paralysis. All these diseases can be life threatening, so seek veterinary care immediately if you pet contracts any of them.

Lyme disease - serious disease usually transmitted by deer ticks to humans and animals. Signs include lameness, fever, weight loss, lethargy and fever. Condition may become chronic.

Ehrlichiosis - Most common disease transmitted by brown ticks. Characterized by anemia, bleeding, fever, lethargy, appetite loss, depression and stiffness and swelling in limbs and joints.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - Commonly diagnosed in outdoor pets. Characterized by fever, breathing difficulty and swelling of face or extremities. Neurologic and vascular irregularities may also occur.

Treatment

If bitten, ticks should be removed from skin promptly to minimize the amount of disease transmitted. Using tweezers, grasp the tick close to the skin and pull gently. Never remove ticks with your bare hand.

Prevent new ticks from biting and help detach already attached ticks with special collars or products applied topically. Avoid prolonged exposure to wooded spaces or areas with tall grasses. Check your clothes and your pet thoroughly after time spent outdoors. Advantage, Bio-spot, Hartz Advanced Care and Zodiac Spot On will kill and repel ticks at all stages.

If you suspect your pet has contracted any of the tick diseases, immediately contact your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

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