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