Tick Tactics

American dog tickTick Tactics
by Holly Ocasio Rizzo for Dog Fancy, June 2012

New tools for pet owners are now available on a long-established, authoritative web site on ticks: DogsAndTicks.com
The creator of the site, IDEXX Laboratories of Westbrook, Maine, also makes screening tests for diseases spread by ticks.
The site now features interactive maps, updated with data weekly , of reported tick-borne diseases in the U.S. and Canada. These include Lyme disease, which infects tissues and can affect a dog’s ability to walk; ehrlichiosis, an infection of white blood cells that can lead to nosebleeds and joint pain , among other symptoms; and anaplasmosis, which comes in two forms: one infects the white blood cells, and the other infects the blood platelets and can lead to bleeding disorders. The maps pinpoint diseases by ZIP code but also provide an overview of each illness’ prevalence. For example, more than half of all U.S. states have had at least 500 reported cases of heartworm since 2007.
DogsAndTicks.com also offers a risk assessment for dogs based on parasite prevention guidelines developed by the nonprofit Companion Animal Parasite Council. Ticks in every U.S. state carry disease, but infection can be prevented – and the site offers tips on this, too, such as using tick preventatives and vaccines, and removing ticks that have embedded themselves in a dog’s skin. A caution from the site: “Never use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products to remove a tick. Doing so can harm your dog and may cause an embedded tick to release more disease-carrying saliva.”

Get to know the ticks and diseases in your community. Are the deerwestern black-leggedbrown doglone starAmerican dog or Gulf Coast tick living among you?

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