It can be concerning to watch your dog whine and wither in pain. If something is bothering them, the first place you should look is your dog’s coat. There are a surprising number of bugs that hide in the coat of your dog and can cause severe issues.
Deer ticks can bring illnesses and diseases to your furry friend, causing health concerns. It is not always possible to avoid these small and yet aggressive bugs. Read our Marinette, WI, animal hospital‘s article to learn more about deer ticks and what to do if you see one on your dog.
What are Deer Ticks?
So, what exactly are deer ticks? Ticks are tiny bugs or animals no more significant than an inch. They like to hide and are typically brown or red, making deer and long-haired dogs a perfect hiding spot!
Another name for these pesky bugs is the American dog tick. These bugs require a blood and an active host to live. They also quickly spread as they jump from animal to animal spreading eggs through their bites. Sadly, it is hard to find these minor bugs as they often don’t make a sound or appear until they are swarming on a dog.
How Do Deer Ticks Affect Dogs?
If possible, you need to avoid your dog getting deer ticks. These small pests affect dogs a lot! While not all ticks carry diseases, most of them do and can be life-threatening.
They leave significant gaps and wounds in a dog’s skin from biting and latching on. These wounds are open and susceptible to exposure to harmful bacteria. Sometimes, the deer ticks themselves carry the bacteria. However, if your dog has anything on its paws or nails and tries to scratch open wounds, it can introduce the bacteria and spread widely, eventually leading to a skin infection.
Lyme disease, however, is the biggest concern. This is a disease found in humans and adults and shows similar symptoms. Lyme disease is a bacterial illness that can develop and worsen into a lifelong condition. If it worsens, your dog can be left with Lyme nephritis. This leads to kidney disease and failure in young puppies.
Signs of Lyme Disease
How do you know if your dog has been affected or infected by the bacteria that causes Lyme disease? The majority of the time, this disease is not life-threatening and shows signs in the early stages. This means you can catch and treat bacterial infections quickly!
Some signs you should look out for include:
- swollen legs
Since the majority of the symptoms also match with many other health conditions, it is important to immediately bring your dog to a vet for testing. This way, your veterinarian can rule out other conditions or Lyme disease.
How to Get Rid of Deer Ticks
Deer ticks are not easy to get rid of. They lay eggs, which quickly hatch and make their home in the skin and coat of dogs. When they latch on, they do so roughly. Their little legs and teeth stick onto your dog’s skin, which makes pulling at the tick painful and uncomfortable.
Knowing this, how do you get rid of deer tricks? You can try to stretch your dog’s skin so that it is easier to access the tick. With a thin tweezer, squeeze the tick and lift up slowly. The tick should start to let go. It is important to use a tweezer that is thin and light. If it is too thick, the tweezer can accidentally scratch at the open wounds from the ticks’ bites.
Some people have also had better luck using warm water to pressure the ticks to let go. Ticks are not like fleas, though! You cannot use a special shampoo and a comb to get rid of them as they harshly attach to a dog’s skin. A metallic comb could hurt a dog as it passes directly on the skin.
Preventing Lyme Disease
Experts recommend placing your dog on a Lyme disease and tick prevention plan. You can prevent Lyme disease with a vaccination that puppies receive. This does not completely eliminate the possibility but decreases the chances as it helps your dog build up the antibodies for the bacteria.
What about the prevention of ticks? There are also tick medications that you can give your dog, but always ask your dog’s vet before you start a preventative technique. In the summer, you should also avoid heavily wooded areas with tall grass. As these small bugs jump from host to host, they also enjoy being in tall grass to stay hidden.
Reach Out to Our Marinette, WI, Animal Hospital for Your Dog’s Tick Preventatives
Deer ticks are not fun to handle, but they can be easy to get rid of and prevent when taken the correct measures. Your dog is your best friend, which is why you should focus on looking for deer ticks on their skin, especially during the hot summer months.
If you do see any ticks, let us know during your next visit at our Marinette, WI, animal hospital. It is possible that your dog has been infected by the bacteria that causes Lyme disease! Not all dogs show symptoms, though.
To schedule your dog’s next appointment or if you need a refill on your dog’s tick prevention, give our veterinary team a call at (715) 735-9511.