Ticks are parasites, small, flat, dark colored, and oval in shape that feed on blood. They transmit deadly diseases to animals and humans alike.
A tick feels like a little bump on your dog’s skin when you run your hands over its body. Some ticks are very tiny and easy to overlook until they have fed and are full of blood. This happens when they have been feeding for days. So it’s very important give your dog an inspection for ticks after taking outdoor excursions in wooded or tall grasses areas. This should be done immediately you get home from your excursion because most tick borne diseases need a tick to feed for a few hours to be able to transmit infection.
So the risk of transmission is low if the ticks are located and removed promptly. Check your dog’s head, feet, ears, armpits and in between the toes thoroughly by running your hands over your canine’s body. See if you can feel any swollen areas or bumps because many times ticks are hidden under the fur and not readily visible. If your dog has light colored fur it is easy to spot a dark protrusion from the skin. If found, the tick will most likely have started feeding and will be engorged with the bite site looking red and irritated. When you are done checking your dog, inspect yourself for ticks also since ticks can transfer to you too.
Ticks are disgusting and a tick bite can transmit diseases. Being a dog owner it important to know symptoms of tick borne diseases. One also needs to know how to prevent and remove ticks and also how to handle tick bites.
Ticks transmit diseases which include:
- Rocky mountain spotted fever
- Tick paralysis
- Lyme disease
These diseases present symptoms which include lethargy and fever. Also lameness, anaemia and joint swelling. A clumsy gait which moves on to paralysis might occur with Tick paralysis. After ticks are removed the paralysis gradually disappears.
If your dog has been bitten and starts exhibiting signs of illness call on a veterinarian pronto for testing and proper diagnosis so treatment can begin.
Why ticks bite
Ticks are parasites that feed on their host’s blood. They are attracted to movement and will attach themselves to dogs, cats, cows, people and other mammals. After the tick egg hatches, the larva in order to grow into the next stages of nymph and adult must have blood meals throughout. It must have blood to survive.
You will need a pair of fine point tweezers to remove ticks from your dog. After locating the tick, clamp down on it carefully as close as possible to the dogs skin. With gentle pressure pull straight out until the tick loosens its grip and get it off the skin. Don’t grip it too tightly otherwise you run the risk of the tick rapturing and releasing pathogens. Clean the wound using alcohol and apply a topical antibiotic on it.
Prevention of tick bites
Inspect your dog every time you come in from outdoor excursions. Ask your veterinarian for tick bite preventative medication that suits your breed of dog. Clear the area around your house of shrubbery and long grass to deny ticks safe haven.