Know Your Enemy: Ticks

  1. uvengwa
    In the summer, I was strolling through the North Georgia woods with my dog, and I came back home to find a tick affixed to my white socks. I plucked them away, flushed them down the toilet and checked my dog immediately. Now my dog was protected with flea and tick medication at the time, but it reminded me how careful I needed to be extra when taking my dog with me in the woods. Ticks and fleas will manifest during the winter, which is why it is so imperative that dogs are protected throughout the entire year.

    And rabbit dogs can be susceptible to tick infestations when sifting through bushes, shrubs and grass for the prey. Ticks are also something hunters need to watch out for, since ticks can spread diseases to humans as well. Here are the types of ticks to watch out for.

    Lone Star Tick

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    Image from Bug Guide

    You may think this little bugger is strictly relegated to the great state of Texas, but this form of tick can be found in 35 states on the East Coast, and parts of the Midwest. This is a tick that can spread ehrlichiosis (a bacterial infection that can compromise the immune system in humans) and tularemia, another form of bacteria that is commonly found in rabbits, but can also be highly infections to humans. You'll normally see the Lone Star is grassy meadows and forests. And these ticks can cause symptoms similar to Lyme disease, such as fatigue, fever and headache. Lyme disease is the most common ailment to be aware of when dealing with ticks. It is also very difficult to treat, and can lead to further complications if not given proper medical attention.

    Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks

    [​IMG]Image from Feline Press

    These ticks can spread the same types of ailments, only they are mostly found in the Rocky Mountain area. However, spotted fever is one of the main sicknesses they can spread to people and dogs. Spotted fever (or Rocky Mountain spotted fever) can spawn fever, fatigue, and most notably, severe rashes. If not treated immediately, it can certainly lead to death. This is a type of tick that can be found throughout the year. You can also find these ticks in meadows and forests.

    Brown Dog Tick

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    Image from Wikipedia

    This is one of the most common ticks you'll come across, being found in 49 states. You may also find them in garages, in ceilings and around dog areas. They are also decent hiders that can sequester themselves in cracks and crevices. You can also be found in the shade, along with sandy areas. This is another tick that can be found throughout all seasons, and they can spread diseases like ehrlichiosis, thrombocytopenia (an illnesses that can cause loss of platelets in the blood) and babesoiosis, a parasite that can infect the blood of dogs and can lead organ failure if not treated.

    Deer Tick

    deer-tick-512-600x450-40.jpg Image from National Geographic

    This is a common form of tick that is mainly known for spreading Lyme disease. They also spread babesoiosis, thrombocytopenia and ehrlichiosis. They are usually found throughout the Midwest, East Coast and southern portions of the US, but they have recently began to show on the West Coast. You can find them in grasslands and woodland areas.

    Tick Protection

    The easiest way to protect your dog against ticks is to have them on a flea or tick medication all year around. You can get these types of medicines for your pet from the vet. When it comes to your house, keep your grass mowed and clear any debris or piles you may have in the area.

    Dogs that tend to shed or have flaky skin can be susceptible to tick infestation. You can give them probiotics and/or salmon oil, but always check with your vet before doing this. B-complex vitamins and zinc will also keep your pet healthy enough to naturally fend off ticks, but again, this should be in consultation with a vet. For the home, I use an organic flea/tick spray that works well for me.

    When it comes to the hunt, always wear protective clothing, if ticks are known to frequent the area. There are also a number of dog jackets and other protective coating for your pet is with you on the hunt. Ticks are one of the easier parasites to spot, but it requires some vigilance on your part in keeping them away.

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