Each evening after walking my bird dog through the prairie and woods, I’ve pulled dozens of deer and wood ticks off each of us.  Hours later, at 3AM, I wake up in a cold sweat and find what I hope is the last one crawling up my arm.

Unfortunately, ticks aren’t just annoying; they can be serious health hazards for humans and dogs alike.  Here are a few key factors to be aware of in keeping your bird dog healthy during tick season.  Special thanks to my veterinarian at White Bear Animal Hospital for the tick guidance.

  • Most commonly connected to Lyme disease, ticks also carry a very serious disease called anaplasmosis, also known as “dog fever.” Anaplasmosis symptoms may include arthritic-like stiffness in your dogs’ joints, lameness, fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and even seizure.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is another tick transmitted disease problematic for dogs.  In fact, severe cases can lead to death.  Although the disease is most common in the Rocky Mountain states, it is prevalent across the country.
  • According to my vet, Frontline kills ticks that bite your dog and K9 Advantix repels and kills ticks.  To me, the combo platter of repellant and killer made K9 Advantix sound more attractive, which led me to question why my vet didn’t even carry the product.  Her explanation was a number of the clinic’s doggy patients had shown allergic reactions to K9 Advantix, while Frontline users never encountered those problems.
  • My vet also recommended applying my tick preventative every three weeks as opposed to the four week-cycle recommended on the packaging.  According to my vet, some research has shown the medication’s power tends to fade beginning at three weeks, and she thought it’d be worthwhile for me to err on the side of over-protection considering my dog’s propensity to run through thick cover and encounter a bunch of ticks.
  • I also asked about the theory a tick had to be biting your dog for at least 24 hours before a disease could be transmitted.  She said that was mostly false and added that some recent research concluded the primary disease agents are juvenile deer ticks so tiny they’d likely go undetected on the dog’s fur before they had successfully burrowed underneath your dog’s skin.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.

 

 

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