Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dogs and Ticks: Myths vs Facts

Common areas to find ticks on your dog
By Steve Dale
Disease-carrying ticks pose health risks to dogs and people, no matter where they live.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that tick disease occurs in every U.S. state, and it seems tick population and therefore tick disease is actually on the rise.
Since signs of tick-borne diseases are difficult to recognize in both pets and humans, simple preventive measures and understanding as much as possible about these disease carrying aggravating arachnids are the best ways to keep everyone safe. Here from dogsandticks.com are some surprising truths on ticks.
MYTH: The best ways to remove a tick are with a lit match, fingernail polish or petroleum jelly. 
FACT: None of these methods cause the tick to “back out,” and all of them may actually result in the tick depositing more disease-carrying saliva into the wound, increasing the risk of infection. Experts say the best way to remove a tick is to grasp it as close to the skin as possible with tweezers and pull the tick’s body out with a steady motion. Wear rubber gloves, and still use soap and water to be sure. Dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.

MYTH: Lyme disease is the only illness that ticks can transmit to dogs and humans.
FACT: Lyme is the most widely-known and is the most common tick disease, but there are many others. These include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis (sometimes known as “dog fever”), ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and some emerging diseases with potentially devastating effects.
MYTH: If I find a tick on myself or someone in my family, Lyme and other tick diseases can be ruled out immediately with a blood test.
FACT: According to the CDC, laboratory results for tick-borne illness in people are often negative on the first sample and require a second test two to three weeks later to confirm infection. Further, children are more susceptible to infections due to their immature immune systems. Signs of Lyme in dogs may be lameness, and/or  flu-like symptoms such as fever and malaise with or without a bulls-eye rash in oth people and dogs. Though many people and dogs experience no discernible symptoms – especially in the early stages of the disease.
MYTH:Ticks aren't a problem in the winter, when it’s too cold for them to live outside.
FACT: In most areas of the country, high season for ticks runs from April to November. Experts recommend year-round preventives, however, as infection can occur at any time of the year. In the winter, for example, some tick species move indoors and are in even closer contact with pets and people, while others make a type of antifreeze to survive during the winter months.
MYTH:Ticks live in trees, so as long as I don’t live near or visit a wooded area, I don’t have to worry about them.
FACT: Ticks live on the ground. They typically crawl up from grass blades onto a host and migrate upwards, which is why they’re often found on the scalp.
MYTH:Ticks are insects.
FACT: Ticks are a species belong to the group known as arachnids (spiders are arachnids), and also belong to the same family as mites. Ticks are in the family of Ixodiad, which along with mites constitute the subclass acarina.
Source: Chicago Now

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