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Learn From My Fail

September 29, 2015
by Jami Stromberg, DVM
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I am sure you’ve all heard of the phrase about the shoemaker’s shoe-less kids. Well, that happens in a lot of professions. My pets receive good care – mostly on-time exams and vaccines, a good diet, heartworm preventative, dental care. But…

I have a 2 year old border collie named Gus. As are most border collies, Gus is high energy and requires a lot of attention. So I was very excited to be able to rent a pet-friendly cabin in the heart of Wisconsin last October. Gus loved it! He ran in the woods and played ball for HOURS. And the weather was perfect! Beautiful fall colors and moderate temperatures meant spending lots and lots of time outside.

However, as soon as we arrived at the cabin I remembered that I forgot to apply flea and tick control to Gus before we left (specifically Vectra, the brand I normally use). In fact, it had been a couple of months since I applied the product. Oh, well, I thought. It’s late-October and there have already been some cold nights, so I’m sure the ticks are now in hibernation. Right?

Well, 2 days after getting home we found at least 10 engorged ticks on Gus. We ran him to my clinic for an emergency bath and Vectra application. However, the damage was done. And over the next few days we found at least another 10 attached ticks on my poor dog.

Now I was worried about Lyme (and other tick-borne) disease. Now Gus had a bunch of swollen, inflamed skin lesions where the ticks had attached. Now I felt really, really, guilty.
Please, learn from my fail. Make sure your pet is adequately protected against parasites, because prevention is far easier than treatment. And know for a FACT that even in late fall, the ticks are out there.

Jami Stromberg, DVM