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Changing of the Seasons

In one week, on March 10th, we will “Spring Forward” and move our clocks ahead one hour thereby ushering in the new unofficial Spring season, even though it is technically still winter.

As we think ahead to milder weather, buds forming on trees and bushes and bulbs sprouting and flowers beginning to bloom, we also need to keep our focus on our beloved pets.

As the temperatures climb and stay above the freezing point, not only do the plants and flowers begin to emerge and grow, but so do ticks.

If you don’t keep your pet on a tick preventative medication year round, you need to see your vet in the very near future and have him or her prescribe a medication that is best suited to your pet.

There are several varieties of tick medication available and your vet will prescribe one best suited to your pet, depending on his size, age, other medication your pet may be on or other allergies.

One of the best known products is Bravecto, which comes in a chewable tablet and is given once every twelve weeks.  Bravecto is also available in a liquid form and is administered once a month.

There is also Nexgard, Simparica and Advantix, all of which are topical solutions applied to the back of the neck once a month.

I would suggest that you discuss Tick and Flea control with your vet and do not try to buy an over-the-counter medication or something you may see advertised on the internet.  While these products may be useful, they may not give the full protection that your pet needs.

Ticks come in different varieties and can be black, brown or tan and have eight legs, and some can be extremely tiny. However, in all cases they can easily attach themselves to a host, either a dog, cat or human, and feed on the blood of the host. If your pet is on medication, the tick should die and fall off. If not, a tick can feed on the blood of the host and, as ticks feed slowly, the feeding can last up to three days.

Whenever you are out with your pet and the temperature is above the freezing point, always be sure to check your pet carefully to see if he has picked up a tick on your travels. You should run your fingers slowly over your pup’s body and, if you feel a bump or swollen area, check carefully to see if a tick has burrowed into the skin. Also, be sure to check your dog’s paws, between the toes, inside their ears and all around the face, chin and neck.

If you do find a tick, be sure to remove it immediately.  You can use a pair of tweezers or a Tick Tool and you need to grasp the body of the tick and, using a steady, slow motion, try to pull the tick straight out, being careful not to have the head of the tick come away from the body. Once the tick is removed, you can preserve it in a small container of alcohol to show to your vet. You should then clean and disinfect the area where the tick was imbedded.

Ticks can carry many types of bacteria and disease, all of which can be very dangerous, and your pet can suffer greatly if not protected.

So, as the weather rises and we start looking forward to a change of the seasons, be sure that your beloved furry friend is protected and stays safe from any ticks that may try to get a meal from him.


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