It’s difficult to tell what to expect from central Ohio weather during this time of year…cold, warm, snow, rain? Your guess, as “they” say, is as good as mine! One thing, however, that can be counted on happening? A sharp upswing in tick populations. So, if you don’t have your furry friend on year round prevention, it’s time to start for 2023!
“They” also say that bad things come in threes…well, when it comes to Ohio ticks, we’ll go one better. Allow me to introduce the four major reasons to have your pup on prevention!
Typically, March is when we start to see an increase in numbers of the American Dog ticks. They like to hang out along forest edges, or other areas that have little to no tree cover such as grassy fields, walkways, and trails. The two transmitted diseases to be aware of from them are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Tularemia (also known as Rabbit Fever).
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever has vague, non-specific signs such as poor appetite, muscle or joint pain, fever, coughing, abdominal pain, vomiting and/or diarrhea. There can also be swelling of the face or legs, and possibly depression.
Tularemia is a bacterial disease that creates tumor-like masses and abscesses in the liver. This can cause poor appetite, lethargy, and mild fever. On a less frequent basis, there may be conjunctivitis, uveitis (inflammation in their eyes), draining abscesses, and enlarged lymph nodes.
Our second tick, the Blacklegged Tick (also known as Deer Ticks), is active year-round in Ohio as long as the temperatures are above freezing. They’re primarily found in wooded areas and tend to hide in leaf litter. They can transmit Lyme disease, which we’ve covered in another Staff Chat. But we’ll sum it up here so you don’t have to leave – the dominant sign of Lyme disease is recurrent lameness due to joint inflammation. Other concurrent indications are a lack of appetite and depression. More serious long-term complications can include damage to the heart, kidneys, or nervous system.
March is also when we begin to see the Brown Dog ticks. These ticks are not only nationwide, but worldwide! They are most often found in human settlements – homes, animal pens, and dog kennels. An interesting fact is that they can spend their entire life cycle indoors! Once they’re in your house, however, they can be difficult to get rid of - not only do you have to treat your pets, you have to treat your house and yard…so prevention is definitely better than treatment.
They can transmit three separate diseases. The first is canine ehrlichiosis, which can cause a fever, swollen lymph nodes, respiratory distress, and weight loss. Your dog can also develop bleeding disorders such as spontaneous hemorrhage of bleeding and may also have neurological disturbances.
The second disease they are capable of transmitting is canine babesiosis. This can cause abnormally dark urine, fever, weakness, pale mucous membranes, swollen lymph nodes, an enlarged spleen, and depression.
The third strike they can deliver is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which we’ve discussed earlier.
We also start seeing an upswing in numbers during March of the last tick we’ll be discussing – the Lone Star tick. They get their name from a silvery-white spot on the back of females of the species – this spot somewhat resembles the shape of the state of Texas. These ticks originally were primarily in the southwest, but they’ve spread quite a bit – they been found as far northeast as Ontario, Canada.
The Lone Star tick likes to live in wooded areas, and is capable of transmitting three different diseases. We’ve discussed Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Tularemia (rabbit fever) previously, but we haven’t talked about Ehrlichia Ewingii. This bacterium can cause stiff or swollen joints, fever, and thrombocytopenia. This condition is a low blood platelet count – platelets are what help blood clot. Without these vital platelets, bleeding disorders can develop.
It amazing that such a small animal like a tick can cause these concerns in your dog – what’s nice to know, however, is that prevention against these tiny terrors is available and easy. Berwick Animal Clinic has several preventative options available – let’s talk about what would work best for you the next time you come to our clinic or call!
We offer both preventative care services (much like your visits to the dentist), along with dental x-rays and tooth extractions. Good oral hygiene is the best thing that you can do to ensure a longer life, with less health concerns, for your pet. Call us to schedule a dental exam or service.x
Laboratory services are a vital part of the diagnostic process when it comes to veterinarian care. This is because in many cases it is not possible to be able to give a firm diagnosis without undertaking additional tests to confirm the root of the problem. If you have any questions or concerns your vet will be happy to speak to you.x
This is the most effective way to assist in having your companion returned if they go missing. The microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) is placed under the skin between the shoulder blades. When scanned, it provides information that assists in reuniting you with your furry friend!x
Congratulations on the newest member of your household - we can’t wait to meet them! Call us today to schedule an initial visit – our team will conduct a thorough physical exam, in addition to discussing nutrition, training, and medical care. We’ll be more than happy to answer any other questions you may have, as wellx
Laser therapy is a holistic, non-invasive treatment that reduces inflammation, decreases pain, and accelerates healing for a variety of conditions. It is useful as a post-surgical treatment, for acute conditions such as sprains, strains, and wounds, and chronic conditions such as degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis.x