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Tick season in full rage! Tips from Lake County Veterinarian Dr. Grace K. Brown

by Rosella Stewart

It’s that time of year again! Tick season on the North Shore is already in full rage. Be­ginning in early March and sticking through the tourist season until the end of November, tick season is a unique battle for families of the area. Newcomers to the North Shore area are most at risk of finding ticks around. With the proper information and preventative care, summer fun doesn’t have to revolve around tick maintenance.

Furry friends and yards are especially pop­ular breeding grounds for ticks this time of year. Dr. Grace K. Brown, Medical Direc­tor of the Lake County Veterinary Clinics, PLLC, informs that one of the simplest ways to prevent tick migration through the yard and home is creating a “tick safe zone” around the house and frequently used outdoor areas like sidewalks, gardens, or dog fences.

Tick safe zones aim to reduce the mobili­ty of blacklegged ticks, which spread lyme disease the most frequently. Owners should remove brush, leaves, branches, and litter from tick safe zones and ensure that there is nothing obstructing the openness of the space that would allow ticks to jump from object to object.

Dr. Brown also recommends that a barrier of wood chips or gravel be placed between lawns and wooded areas, at least three feet wide, to keep ticks even further from recre­ational areas.

Dogs are the most at risk of contracting tick bites and tick borne illnesses. Vaccines are unfortunately not available for most tick borne diseases, so prevention is key. Ticks found on pets can be smaller than a pinhead, so checking your pets before entering the tick safe zones will allow for early prevention. Ticks like easy access to blood, so they will perch as close to the skin as possible. Check your pets’ scalp and look for any dark bugs or spots against the whiteness of the scalp for easy recognition.

If there is any risk of a tick bite on your pets, watch for any emotional changes they may exhibit over the next two weeks. Many symptoms of tick borne disease will not ap­pear until up to twenty days after infection, so noting any behavioral changes will assist in the prevention of the illness. Watch for fe­ver, lethargy, inability to walk normally, or any other changes in your pets’ normal be­havior.

If you plan to take your pets outside at all during tick season, Dr. Brown highly encour­ages the appropriate flea and tick prevention treatment for each animal. Recommended flea and tick prevention treatments available at Lake County Veterinary Clinics, PLLC, in­clude Bravecto and Simparica as oral supple­ments for dogs, Vectra 3D as a topical treat­ment for dogs, and Bravecto Plus for cats.

Do note, cats are very sensitive to a wide variety of chemicals. In order to keep your cats safest, Dr. Brown urges pet owners to seek the advice of a veterinarian on safe prod­ucts for their cats before applying anything.

If you notice a tick head becomes embed­ded in the skin, seek care from a veterinary clinic at your earliest convenience. They have special tools at hand to allow the tick head to be released in one piece and remove any embedded mouth parts, which can cause disease. It is necessary for both people and pets that tick heads be removed from the skin to reduce the chances of infection and trans­mission.

Keep a clean pair of fine-tipped tweezers in the home for tick removal. If the head has not yet gotten into the skin, grasp the tick with the tweezers as close to the head as pos­sible. Pulling upward with steady and con­sistent pressure, the tick should be removed. Dr. Brown notes not to twist or jerk the tick during the removal process, as this could al­low the mouth pieces to break off and reenter the skin.

After removal, clean the bite area and wash your hands. Dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol in a sealed container and either wrapping it with tape or flushing it down the toilet. Squeezing or attempting to crush a tick will not kill it.

Call the nearest veterinarian about the lo­cation and reaction of the skin to the tick bite after removal. This will allow the clinic to ensure that your pet is on the best possible preventative products.

Symptoms of tick borne diseases in pets in­clude fever, chills, aches and pains, lameness, restless limbs, and out of the ordinary behav­ioral and neurological symptoms. Reach out to your local veterinary clinic as soon as you notice any!

With the right preventative measures, sum­mers outdoors with your pets can be as care­free and adventurous as ever. Get started on preparing your homes and yards and take your dog out for some summer fun!

For any veterinary assistance or questions, reach out to Dr. Grace K. Brown or the other veterinary experts at Lake County Veterinary Clinics, PLLC.


(218) 834-4234 or (218) 387-1383

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