Surely you’ll agree that ticks are disgusting and creepy! There are a number of tick species in the Northern Indiana area, and lately, their populations have increased as our winters become more mild. The ticks most commonly seen in our area include the deer tick (or black-legged tick), American dog tick, and the brown dog tick. The lone star tick is the “new kid on the block,” and has started migrating up from the southern states. Normally, “tick season” is April through August, but lately, they’ve been found before and after that range. Most often, ticks are found in two places: forested areas and areas with grass taller than knee-high.
Besides the obvious icky blood-sucking, ticks can cause a much more sinister potential problem known collectively as tick-borne diseases. Normally, it takes between 24 and 48 hours of attachment on a pet or host before disease transmission can occur. The most common tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted to you and your pet are Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesia, Anaplasma, and Lyme disease. Most tick-borne diseases manifest themselves in pretty much the same way. The pet feels lethargic, with possible anemia (low red blood cell count), small pinpoint bruises on skin, eyes, and gums, and they can exhibit lameness or limping.
To try and avoid ticks, we have two options. One can evaluate their pet’s skin daily, looking for new “bumps”, especially in the head, ears, neck, and armpit region. However, this is often a time-consuming task because ticks–especially the deer tick–are sometimes very hard to find. Alternatively, one can use tick repellant. There are both tick collars and topical products available. Tick collars, unlike most flea collars, work remarkably well at repelling and killing ticks that have already attached themselves to your pet. Most monthly topical products also have the benefit of repelling fleas. We carry a variety of products that we feel are effective, and would be happy to help you decide which product is best suited for your family’s pets!