Tick Territory

by Dr. Eduardo Mardones

It’s summer in Minnesota, which means that school is out and the sun is shining!  Whether you and your family head up north or stay in town; you should consider protecting your fur friend from ticks.  Ticks are found anywhere you find deer, other mammals and birds to mention a few. I’ve personally seen deer throughout the Twin Cities and Minnesota.  This means that not only is this “Twins Territory,” it’s also “Tick Territory.” 

Ticks can carry many diseases that can affect your pet’s health such as Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Fever.  Finding a deer tick on your fur friend is like looking for a needle in a haystack. After all, some stages of deer ticks can be about the size of the tip of a pen.  Therefore, it’s important to protect your pet from ticks by using flea and tick products recommended by your veterinarian.  The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can be vague and confusing. Some pets present with painful joints, lameness or lethargy and fever.  However, the symptoms are not always obvious with tick borne diseases, as I’ve also had owners say that “my pet just isn’t acting like himself”. In some cases Lyme disease proves to be fatal when the bacteria attach kidneys (Lyme nephritis) or other vital organs. Be sure to bring your pet in for an exam if you have any concerns, and after running some tests, the diagnosis can be clear.

The good news is that Lyme disease can be prevented. First, bring your pet every year for annual or bi-annual physical examinations to your local veterinarian, discusses exposure to ticks and what to do if ticks are attached.  Second, use a monthly flea and tick product recommended by your veterinarian. If found, remove ticks immediately and call your veterinarian. And third, ask if Lyme vaccine is appropriate for your pet.

Now, enjoy the rest of the summer free of ticks in our Twins - Tick TERRITORY!

Dr Mardones.