Deer Run Animal Hospital

308 E. US Hwy 30
Schererville, IN 46375

(219)864-7180

deerrunanimalhospital.com

What Should You Do If You Find Ticks on Your Pet??



Increase your knowledge to prevent tick-borne disease

From University of Rhode Island's TickEncounter website

 

It is important to check your pet frequently for ticks and remove them as soon as possible.  Ticks must attach and feed usually for 36-48 hours before they can transmit tick borne diseases such as Lyme Disease.  The faster you remove a tick, the less the risk of disease transmission. 

 

Click below for a great animated video demonstrating the proper way to remove a tick
If you are unable to remove the tick yourself, please bring your pet to us and we can do it for you.
You will need a small pointy tweezer to remove the tick.  But please, do not use matches or cigarettes to burn out a tick! 

 

TickEncounter's How to Remove a Tick Video


Commonly there will be a small red area in the skin after the tick is removed.  The tick's saliva will cause a skin reaction for several days.

Here is a great resource to help you identify the tick you removed.


TickEncounter's Tick Identification Guide

Veterinary Partner Photo 


Ticks can transmit serious diseases like
Lyme Disease,  Ehrlichia Infection, and Babesia Infection in Dogs

 

 
If you know your dog has been exposed to ticks you should monitor for symptoms of tick borne illnesses which include fever, lameness, lethargy, and loss of appetite.  If symptoms of illness are noted, you should have your pet examined as soon as possible. 

  • If your pet is feeling fine but you know ticks have been present, running screening blood tests for potential exposure is recommended about 8-10 weeks after the tick bite.
     
  • We also recommend annual screening for tick borne diseases at the time of annual heartworm blood testing to monitor for possible tick exposure that owner's may not have detected.


Not all tick bites will transmit infectious disease. There are blood tests that can help us dectect if your pet has been infected with a tick borne organism.  If infectious agents have been transferred from a tick bite, your pet's body will produce antibodies to try to fight off the infection.  Checking your pet's blood for the presence of these antibodies can be used to monitor and screen for the potential for tick borne diseases.

These antibody tests are fairly inexpensive.  However, they can be negative if exposure is recent.  For example, antibodies against the organism that causes Lyme Disease may not be detected for up to 10 weeks after exposure.   


It is also important to realize that a positive antibody test does not automatically indicate that your pet has disease.  

  • A positive result indicates that a pet has been exposed to an infectious agent.  
  • It also indicates that there has been a break in tick protection and that tick control needs to be instituted. 
  • A positive antibody test may indicate that your pet was able to fight off the disease.  


Further testing is needed to confirm that disease exists and needs treatment.  For example only about ten percent of dogs that have produced antibodies against the organism that causes Lyme Diease, truly have Lyme Disease.  Additional testing such as a complete blood count (CBC), serum chemistry panel and urinalysis will be needed to investigate further.  


If If you pet has symptoms (fever, lethargy, lameness, loss of appetite),  a blood test called a PCR Test may be run.  This test is able to detect small amounts of DNA from the actual infectious organisms.  PCR tests may be able to detect disease even before antibody levels can be detected in the blood.  However PCR tests are much more expensive than antibody tests and usually are not done unless a pet is ill with suspicious symptoms. 


Click to learn more about Ticks and Fleas