Tick season strikes fear in pet owners! Ok it strikes fear in me anyway.

Posted By elaine on March 15, 2010

rockymtnwoodtick

Ick!!!! The Rocky Mountain wood tick is looking to latch on to your pet.. yea, and maybe you!

 The weather is starting to warm up, and if you are like me and most Colorado dog owners you are itching to hit the trail with your four legged hiking partner, but you will want to make sure that “itching” is just a figure of speech.  In my opinion there is not a lot of things I found more disturbing than ticks.  They horrify me.  In fact the last time my vet pulled out blood engorged ticks from deep within my dog’s ear canal, I nearly fainted.  I normally can handle just about any medical proceedure, but the wiggly little legs about had me on the floor.  So here are some tips that I learned that hopefully can help you too!  According to Colorado State University Extension, Tick season in Colorado starts in March and usually peaks sometime in May and continues through the summer months.  There 30 different kinds of ticks that can be found in Colorado, but the most common is the Rocky Mountain wood tick.
   If you are out in the backcountry a lot you may want to consider a preventative medication like K9 Advantix, Frontline, or Biospot, but they are not 100% effective. Tick checks are very important when you are done with your hike. I start by looking in the ears and then go over their whole body with your fingers. If you feel a bump pull apart the hair and take a close look. Make sure to check their bellies and armpits, I have often found the little bloodsuckers there. An embedded tick will vary in size, from a pinhead to a grape. Ticks are usually black or dark brown. Depending on the size and location of the tick, its legs may also be visible.
Once a tick has become firmly attached to the skin, removal can be difficult and should be done with care. The mouthparts are barbed, so they may remain after removal and allow infection. To remove a tick:
1. Grasp the tick with blunt tweezers, as close to the skin as possible. If tweezers are not available and you must use your fingers, cover them with tissue or thin plastic to avoid the possible transmission of any disease organisms, such as tularemia, that the tick may harbor.
2. Pull the tick slowly and steadily, straight away from the skin. Try not to crush the tick as you remove it.
3. After the tick is removed, treat the feeding site with a disinfectant. Wash your hands when done.
     Many other methods have been rumored to remove ticks, such as covering them with petroleum jelly or touching them with a hot match. These methods are not effective!
If you do miss them often times your dog will start scratching and if they are in the ear you may see your dog tilting their head. A rare but potentially serious condition from ticks is “tick paralysis”. This occurs when certain ticks (in Colorado, particularly the Rocky Mountain wood tick) remain attached for a long period and produce an ascending paralysis. Early symptoms, such as difficulty walking, progress to more generalized symptoms, such as limb numbness and difficulty breathing. This condition is completely reversible when the tick is removed. There are several other diseases that can be caused by ticks so if your dog shows stiffness, has a fever, or is lethargic take him to your veterinarian right away,

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