Tick Prevention for Dogs & Cats in Tucson, Arizona
There are 25 species of ticks in Arizona alone, but you and your pet are likely to encounter only three. Still, while the number might seem small, the danger could be serious. These three ticks, the brown dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the western black-legged tick are all carriers of serious tick-borne illnesses. Luckily, there are tick protection options that can reduce your pet’s (and your own!) risk to these diseases. Our animal hospital has provided tips for tick prevention for dogs and cats.
Tick-Borne Illnesses in Arizona
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever: Spread by both the Rocky Mountain wood tick and the brown dog tick, this disease can be deadly if left untreated.
- Lyme disease: While not a huge problem in Arizona, the changing climate is allowing the vector for this disease, the western black-legged tick, to be more widespread.
- Ehrlichiosis: Spread by the brown dog tick, ehrlichiosis is treatable in its early phases, but once in the chronic phase, your pet could have a difficult time recovering.
Tick Prevention Tips
The best way to combat tick-borne illnesses is to avoid them altogether. Follow these tips to reduce your exposure to ticks:
- Keep up your pet’s tick preventatives! Tick preventatives are usually given once a month and protect your pet by making their skin a hostile environment for ticks.
- Clear your yard of any tick-friendly environments including leaf litter, brush, and grass clippings.
- Consider the Lyme vaccine for your dog. If they frequently hike with you in areas with Lyme disease or travel often with you, this vaccine can protect from contracting this debilitating disease.
Even after all your tick prevention efforts, one can sometimes sneak through and bury itself in your pet’s skin. Removing it safely is a vital part of preventing the contraction of tick-borne illnesses.
- First, protect yourself by wearing latex or rubber gloves.
- With tweezers, firmly grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Do not go over the body, but from the side so you only grab the mouthparts.
- Use steady, firm pressure to pull straight up on the tick. Avoid any jerky movements, as this can cause the tick’s body to break off, leaving the mouthparts still embedded in your pet.
- Disinfect the bite area with rubbing alcohol and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Disinfect the tweezers to be used another day.
- Watch your pet for any signs of infection and save the tick in a jar or plastic bag labeled with the date and area where the tick was picked up to bring to your veterinarian if your pet develops symptoms.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pet or their tick protection, please get in touch today at (520) 722-2771.