Spring in the Treasure Valley is finally here and with it comes tick season. We have already seen numerous dogs AND cats at Snake River Veterinary Center with tick infestations. Not only are these nasty little blood suckers disgusting to find on your pet, the are also potential disease transmitters. Ticks crawl up plants and trees and wait for an animal to walk through the brush. When the opportunity arises,they attach themselves to the unsuspecting victim and settle in for a long meal of blood at your pet’s expense.
If you find a tick on your pet, it can be removed by gently pulling it away from the skin. Grasp the tick near the head with a pair of tweezers and gently pull. Don’t worry, although there are many “old wives” tales about the dangers of removing ticks, pulling them out is probably the quickest and safest method. After the tick is removed, clean the area with gentle soap and water and watch it carefully for redness or swelling. If you have any concerns, call a veterinarian.
Of course, it is best if we can keep the ticks from ever getting on our pets or attaching to them at all. We can recommend several different products that are effective in killing ticks that try to attach to our pets. Many of the products are effective against fleas also. I would like to add a few words of caution here. There are many different products available. You can find them at a variety of stores and the internet. The thing to keep in mind is that just because you can buy them at a local pet shop or big box store, doesn’t mean they are safe to use. Some products are safe for dogs, but not cats. Others have questionable safety for either. We recently treated two dogs for toxicity caused by an over the counter flea and tick product purchased at a discount store. The product was labeled for dogs and the pet owner had no idea it was potentially toxic. Fortunately we were able to successfully treat the dogs but we see these cases every year.
Some of the brand names of these products are ones many of us are familiar with and have been on the market for years. Just because you are familiar with the name, doesn’t make it safe to use. We highly recommend you contact a veterinarian before purchasing and applying any flea and tick product to your pets. The staff at Snake River Veterinary Center can advise you on the proper medication for the type, breed, and age of your pet. An important advantage to purchasing products from a veterinarian is the manufacturer guarantees the product. Manufacturers will often not back products purchased through online or discount retailers. It is not worth saving a few dollars when the safety of your pet is at risk.
If you have any questions regarding flea and tick protection, call Snake River Veterinary Center at 208 452-7950. We are happy to answer your questions and help you out as best we can. The comfort and safety of your pets is our utmost concern.