The Tick Problem | University Animal Hospital NYC

Everyone has a tick story. Several years ago I was on a cleaning frenzy tackling the nightmare that had become my apartment. Okay, nightmare might be a bit of an overstatement. It wasn’t like my place had become an un-filmed episode of Hoarders (though the bathroom did slightly resemble a set from the SAW franchise…)

I mean, there weren’t piles of newspapers from the 1950s littering the floors nor did I have a collection of old coffee cans making towers to the ceilings. I had limited my collection of doll heads to just three shoe-boxes and I’d thrown out all nine of my old tire swings. There was, however, a fine layer of dust on nearly every item that wasn’t my coffee maker. It was time to vacuum, mop and possibly even clean under the stove and refrigerator — activities I had read about and was curious to try. I set about getting to work and soon found myself on a chair wiping down the walls because if I’m going to do a total clean then I’m going to do it right.

 

THE MONSTER ARRIVES
So there I was balancing on a chair and using a washcloth on my walls when my eyes focused on a tiny monster crawling slowly down from the ceiling toward the floor. At first I thought it was a spider but a closer glance revealed the creature to be something far worse = A TICK!

How could this be? I was living in Queens (Elmhurst, to be exact) and there wasn’t much in the way of grass or trees around. Where had this little monster come from and why was he in my apartment? I asked him but he kept silent for fear of further incriminating himself. I already had him on home invasion and attempted blood-suckery. There he was, slowly moving down the white wall on a path for the hardwood floor and I knew his destination was likely the flesh of my adorable cocker spaniel, Emeril.

The first thing I did was “take care of” this invader but fearing he had accomplices I immediately inspected my dog and, thankfully, found him to be free of any other parasites. I was still nervous though. There are over a dozen diseases that can be transmitted by ticks to our fuzzy kids. The big one: Lyme disease and many more (Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, ehrlichiosis, ect.) so I was obviously concerned.

I’m often asked by clients at University Animal Hospital if it’s important for their pet to be on Nexgard or Frontline. The common belief is that because their pet resides in Manhattan and they don’t travel to Connecticut or upstate their pet is not at risk for flea and tick exposure. These pests, however, can easily be found in Upper East Side dwellings as easily as any other neighborhood or borough surrounding Manhattan. They can live up to a year without feeding and like to hang out on the tops of blades of grass waiting to grab onto unsuspecting warm-blooded beings. You don’t need to leave the city to encounter these creepers.

Your fuzzy child should be on flea/tick preventative year round. Fleas and ticks might not be able to survive in cold weather but there are plenty of warm places around this city they can survive in during the winter months so that doesn’t really matter much. It was February when I found that tick crawling down my wall.
There are two fantastic options for flea/tick preventative available at University Animal Hospital.

Frontline Plus

Topical options are effective.

1. Frontline. Chances are you’ve tried this before or have at least heard of it. It’s a topical that is placed on the skin of your pet (between the shoulder blades) once every month. This is a highly effective treatment. If purchased from University Animal Hospital you can get 8 months for the price of 6.

Nexgard

Chewables are growing in popularity.

2. Nexgard. This is a once-a-month chewable from the makers of Frontline that is just as effective — if not more.

Nexgard - Chew

It’ s a chewable treat and thus there is no chance the medication will rub off on your hands or come off if your pet gets wet. It’s also beef flavored so dogs tend to love them. If purchased from University Animal Hospital you can get 7 months for the price of 6.

3. Braveco. Like Nexgard this is a chewable but it only needs to be given every three months. That’s just four doses a year.

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These items are also available for purchase through the University Animal Hospital Online Store. There’s really no reason you shouldn’t take measures to protect your dog or cat from these creatures. The cost of the medications is minor and the peace-of-mind they provide should be more than worth it. Trust me when I say you don’t want to have to treat your pet for Lyme disease if you can avoid it. Not to mention dealing with fleas is a burden I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (okay, maybe I would but only because I have firsthand knowledge of how terrible it is). You’ll get that story next week…

Tune in next time for Part II: The Fleas of Bushwick…

Vaccinate Your Dog Against Lyme Disease

Last week while lavishing my dog with some behind-the-ear scratches after a walk together in the woods, I found a tick.

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This was alarming for a couple of reasons. Not much larger than a freckle, the critter nearly escaped my notice. Even when I did see it, I almost dismissed it as a speck of dirt. Then I remembered: it’s summer, the weather is warm, and here are the ticks. Especially the tiny, easily-overlooked deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.

Ticks Reaching Unprecedented Levels in 2014

Tick populations are increasing and are poised to reach unprecedented levels in 2014, due to a number of factors including warmer winters, decreased insecticide usage, and the white-tailed deer population, which has swelled as a result of successful conservation efforts. White-tailed deer are ticks’ primary mode of travel and the main reason they are so widespread, although other migratory animals such as birds and coyotes transport ticks as well.

Vaccinate Your Dog Against Lyme Disease

When it comes to illnesses, prevention is generally the least costly and most successful option, and Lyme disease is no exception. Given the statistics about tick population and increase in Lyme disease, prevention should be considered a standard part of pet care, as important as wellness exams, vaccinations and even fresh water and food.

Ticks are generally found in wooded or grassy locations. If your dog never visits these areas, he or she is not at high risk for Lyme disease. However, if you take your dog for occasional visits in the country, there is a strong possibility that a tick will attach itself to his or her skin. Under these circumstances, even if you and your canine companion live in NYC, there is a good chance that he or she can contract Lyme disease.

Talk To a Staff Member at University Animal Hospital

Talk to a veterinarian or staff member at University Animal Hospital about vaccinating your dog against Lyme disease and implementing an effective protection plan against ticks.

Regardless of the method or combination of methods you choose, it is a good idea to always thoroughly check your dog after being outside, especially in woodsy, grassy or brushy areas. If a tick is attached to your dog’s skin, remove it carefully and wash the affected area and your hands with soap and water.

For more information or to schedule a Lyme disease vaccination for your dog, please call University Animal Hospital today.