There are 4 common ticks in the Southeast that can cause disease in dogs and humans. They are the American dog tick, Lonestar tick, Deer tick and Brown dog tick. These ticks trasmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Erhlichia, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI), Tuleremia and Tick Paralysis. I used to think that Lyme disease was seen only in the Northeast but over the past several years this illness has steadily moved south and is now almost as common in North Carolina as in Pennsylvania. In fact, my father and husband have both contracted Lyme disease- luckily they were treated and have recovered!
Many people don’t know that Deer ticks are active all year round in our climate. Anytime the temperature is above freezing these ticks are moving around!
As you can see, it is important to take steps to control and prevent parasites on our pets and in our environment, especially since dogs come in contact with ticks almost 50% more frequently than humans!
Parasite Prevention for dogs/cats:
Topical treatments are the most commonly used method of prevention. You have to be cautious with certain ingredients with cats- always read the label directions carefully. Bathing and swimming may reduce the efficacy of the treaments.
Collars are also used and some are better than others, of course. The best for flea and tick control is the Seresto collar which provides 8 months of protection. The Preventic collar is also effective for tick control only.
The newest preventative is a chewable tablet called Nexgard. This is a very effective treatment for fleas and ticks that will not wash off. It is also great if you are concerned about any topical preventatives/pesticides coming in contact with kids since it is not topical.
Some Environmental control tips:
Keep the grass mowed short and keep the leaf litter cleared. Ticks love to live and lay eggs in leaf litter and debris. Ticks will climb up the grass to help them reach their hosts to attach. Environmental pesticides can help in the natural areas of your yard.
We hope you have a tick free summer but don’t hesitate to call us if you need any help with your flea and tick preventatives this season.