|Ticks hitting dogs hard this summer - learn how to treat and prevent them|
|Wednesday, 14 September 2011 07:01|
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- While some of us relish summer time, and long lazy days at the beach or out on the water, or just relaxing in the backyard, this summer particularly has not been so much fun for many of our furry friends.
Ticks - those pesky, insidious, stubborn and very hardy little pests - are far more prevalent this summer than the last few years. Sadly, we have had a fairly large number of dogs surrendered to the shelter simply because their owners were overwhelmed by the tick infestation and financially unable to deal with it.
Others are spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars to try and deal with the problem.
In addition to ticks being unsightly (especially on your canine companion!) and annoying, they pose a serious health risk to dogs. Tick-borne diseases such as Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasma, and Babesiosis can be life threatening diseases to our beloved dogs and it only takes one bite from an infected tick to transmit these diseases.
Severe tick infestation on a dog can also cause anaemia. All of these conditions are treatable but if a pet owner waits until a dog is sick, the treatment is not always effective, and the dog can die.
Signs and Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis
The acute phase occurs within the first few weeks of being infected and is rarely fatal. Recovery can occur, or the dog can enter a "subclinical phase" which can last for years, where there are no symptoms. Some dogs, but not all, eventually progress to the chronic phase, where very severe illness can develop. However, in practice is is difficult to distinguish these phases.
Signs and symptoms of ehrlichiosis may include:
Signs of other organ involvement can appear in the chronic form, especially kidney disease.
The only good news is that Lyme disease is not present on Grand Bahama. The very few cases of Lyme diagnosed locally in the last few years were from dogs brought in from the U.S. Tick borne diseases are not transmissible from dog to human, or even dog to dog.
Some startling facts about ticks might be helpful: (thanks to our friends at Town & Country for this info)
Tick and flea preventatives can be very helpful in warding off a tick infestation. Products like Frontline Plus, Advantix, and Preventic collars are readily available for purchase and should be budgeted for monthly in every dog owner's household. Keeping the grass in your yard cut regularly and spraying your yard and home can go a long way to preventing a tick outbreak.
As with almost everything, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The Humane Society of Grand Bahama is always glad to answer questions and give advice on this and other pet related issues. Call us at 352-2477 or stop by the shelter.
Meantime, while we often despair that many pet owners still do not understand the importance of spay/neuter, and while we continue to work on ways to get that message across ... we have some pretty adorable puppies coming in to the shelter lately and hope that our readers enjoy these photos taken Sunday by HSGB staffer Ana Carroll (a wonderful photographer) - and perhaps help us find loving homes for even a few of them!
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