It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options for flea and tick control on the market! Celebrity vets, James Carroll and Anthony Bennett from the popular TV show, Village Vets are here to make protecting your puppy as easy as, one, two, flea!
Here are James and Anthony’s tips for tick prevention.
1. Checking for ticks
If you live in an area, or travel with your dog to an area where the paralysis tick is prevalent e.g. the eastern seaboard, it is important that you search your dog daily. It is best to do while your dog is relaxed and calm and to search against the grain of the coat to get as close as you can to the skin. It is much more likely that you will feel a tick rather than see one, so pay close attention to what you are feeling! The majority of ticks are found in front of the shoulders however they can be found anywhere.
2. What you’ll find
The most common thing that is felt when finding a tick is a small lump that is hard. If felt it is important to part the coat and visualise the lump. There are many different types of tick and they can vary in size. The deadly paralysis tick is usually grey in colour and has four pairs of legs – the front pair and the back pair are brown and the middle two pairs are white. This can be difficult to see with the naked eye so if you have any doubts ask your vet – they are experts at identifying ticks.
There are many old wives tales when it comes to removing ticks. Ticks excrete their toxin in their saliva, so the sooner they are removed the better. It is not necessary to kill a tick before removing it, and it is impossible to squeeze more toxin in! It is important to remove all of the tick to ensure no foreign body reaction, which can be done with a pair of tweezers or a special tick hook or twister. Essentially the tick is grasped in a pincer like movement at the base, right near skin level and pulled out.
4. What to look out for
The symptoms of tick paralysis can vary but classically involve muscle weakness, often starting with the hind legs. Other symptoms are laboured breathing, coughing, retching, gagging, regurgitation, vomiting, inappetence, lethargy, changes in vocalisation and changes around the eyes. If you find a large tick or the above symptoms are evident then it is important to take your dog straight to a vet. There is a direct correlation between the time from onset of clinical signs and treatment to recovery. The quicker your dog is treated, the quicker it will get better
As always prevention is better than a cure! NexGard Chewables for Dogs are the most advanced flea and tick prevention that we have in the dog. It is important that the products are used in accordance with the instructions.
How are you protecting your dog from ticks? Tell us below…