Friday, May 2, 2014


Ticks – Prevention and Diseases Carried by Ticks
By Jill Anne Sparapany

Tick…Tick…Tick…Time is Ticking down to Tick Season! Be prepared!

Summer is coming – along with pet parasites! Parasites can be external and internal. Let’s talk about one common external parasite and the diseases your pet and you can contract from ticks.

Where do ticks live and how are you and your pet exposed?
Ticks live in the Southern states and wooded areas in the Northeast, so outdoor cats living in these areas are at constant risk of exposure. Ticks are most active in late spring and summer, living in tall grasses and brush. When a suitable host animal walks by, the tick attaches itself to the fur and travels down to the skin, where it bites and buries its head. Once attached, it sucks on the animal’s blood until it becomes engorged. The tick’s presence is not noticed by the animal, so you must be on the lookout for them on your pet.

Strict indoor cats can also be at risk of exposure through transfer from the family dog or from your clothes after you take a walk through the woods. After you are outdoors in wooded areas, be sure to check your clothes carefully for presence of ticks. To prevent your exposure, wear long sleeves and long pants tucked into hiking socks. Check your clothes carefully for ticks before you go inside. If your dog is also in wooded areas or around tall grasses and bushes in your yard, check your dog by running your hands over your pet every time he comes inside. Be sure to pay special attention to the ears, head, neck, feet and inside the paws.

Ticks will attach to any fur-bearing animal in the wild, not just your dog or cat. Mice and rabbits which your cat may hunt can carry ticks. Ticks can be very opportunistic parasites – during the U.S. drought, they also attacked snakes. They will infest the ears, eyes, nose and mouths of animals in the wild. Once the tick attaches and there is blood access, serious illnesses can result.

Prevention of tick exposure:
There are many products on the market for prevention of flea and tick infestation on your pet. Many topical applications are available for dogs and cats, but be sure you purchase the treatment appropriate for cats. Some flea and tick preventatives for dogs are toxic to cats. Do not use the same medication on your dog and your cat. Your veterinarian can help you with product selection.
The best way to prevent tick exposure is to keep your cat inside. If you do allow your cat outdoors, monitor his wanderings and reduce risk of exposure by keeping the lawn cut regularly and by removing tall weeds and grasses. This will also make it less likely that tick hosts, such as rodents and other furry animals, will visit your yard bringing ticks into your yard.
To reduce ticks around your home and yard:

Remove leaf litter. Also remove old furniture, mattresses or trash that provide hiding places.
Mow lawn frequently. Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and edges of lawns.
Place 3-ft wide barrier of gravel or wood chips between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
Stack wood neatly and in dry areas to discourage rodents that may have ticks on them.
Keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from yard edges and trees.
If you choose to apply acaricide (pesticide for ticks), check with local health or agricultural officials about the best time to apply for your area. Usually once in May or early June. Depending upon your area, October applications may be used. Check with your EPA or state on the rules and regulations for pesticide application on residential properties.

How to remove a tick:
Wow! There are so many “methods” to remove a tick. You want to take special care to ensure you remove all of the tick, including the embedded head, and prevent squeezing blood from the tick into your pet. Using fine tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do noT twist or jerk the tick to remove because you can cause mouth parts of the tick to break off, remaining in the skin. If parts of the tick do remain in the skin, try to remove them. (The CDC, Centers for Disease Control, state to leave the mouth part alone and let the skin heal.) When the tick is removed, clean the bite area and your hands thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, iodine scrub or soap and water.

Do not attempt tick removal by “folklore remedies” using nail polish, petroleum jelly or heat!
Do not wait for the tick to detach.
Once the tick is removed, place it in alcohol in a plastic container with secure lid. Do not flush it down the toilet or burn it.
If your pet becomes sick, develops a rash or fever within several weeks of tick bite, see your vet. Inform them of the recent tick bite, when and where the tick bite probably occurred. The tick you saved may help the vet determine the illness. The same applies to any tick bite you may have!

Ticks and their geographic distribution.
You and your pets can be easily exposed anytime you are outdoors! “Dog ticks” also bite people, cats and other mammals. Except for the two western tick populations, the Southeast states have widespread tick populations!
NOTE:  If you remove a tick, place it in alcohol in a plastic container with secure lid. If you have a tick bite, see your doctor, take the tick with you as it may help identify any illness you may develop. Also let your vet know about any tick bite your pet may have had, save the tick. Your doctor or your pet’s veterinarian may want to start antibiotic treatment.

American Dog Tick – transmits Rickettsia rickettsii, which causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia.

Blacklegged Tick – transmits anaplasmosis, babesoisis, and Lyme disease.

Brown Dog Tick – widespread reservoir of R. rickettsii, causing Rocky Mountain spotted fever. 

Gulf Coast Tick – transmits several diseases, including a form of spotted fever, feeds on deer and other adult wildlife, nymph stage feed on birds and small rodents

Lone Star Tick – transmits several human diseases, including tularemia and STARI, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illnesses. STARI = rash accompanied by fatigue, fever, headache, muscle and joint pains.

Rocky Mountain Wood Tick – transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia to humans.

Western Blacklegged Tick – transmits pathogens causing anaplasmosis and Lyme disease, both the adult ticks and nymphal ticks can transmit diseases to humans.

Tick bites cause very serious illnesses in humans! They carry the organisms that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and Lyme disease, all potentially fatal diseases.

Tick bites cause the same illnesses in cats! Cats can develop Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and Lyme disease. Other illnesses include feline babisiosis, ehrlichosis, STARI, Colorado tick fever and Powassan encephalitis.
Symptoms of most of these diseases are fever, decreased appetite, swollen painful joints, rashes may be present, swollen lymph nodes, discharge from nose and eyes, fatigue and lethargy. Local irritation symptoms include itching, redness or pain near the bite. Hemorrhage or abscesses may also be present at the bite site.

Tick bites can be fatal for your cat!
Do not wait for symptoms to appear - Do not delay getting veterinary treatment!

Tick bites can be fatal to YOU!
Do not wait for symptoms to appear - Do not delay getting medical treatment!

 Thank you for the gifts from our Wish lists!

Thank you Jacqueline Day for the foods, water filters and toys!
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Thank you Maritza Adrover for the food, Gain and cleaner!

Chester in a box :)

Thank you Marc Schuh for the toys!
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Snicker loves the blankets

Thank you Yvonne Holland for the freshstep!
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If I fit I ship  :)

Thank you Theresa Reno for the freshstep!
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Emily loves the catnip toys!
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