Ticks and your Dog (or cat)

These horrific little blood suckers are spreading across Long Island and waiting for you and your dog. They live in long grass, even short grass, shrubbery and bushes, from which they can brush onto a passing host. Immature ticks (larvae and nymphs) are too small to be easily visible, while the adults range from 1/8th inch across (male) up to almost 1/2 and inch for a fully engorged female. They are distinguished by their 8 creepy legs and their mouth parts resembling a very tiny chainsaw (they have no head). Different species have different markings on their bodies, have different host preferences, seasons of peak activity and diseases that they carry. The three tick species that I see in Lindenhurst are the Deer Tick (Ixodes Scapularis), the American Dog Tick (Dermacentor Variailis), and a recent import, the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma Americanum). Larvae and nymphs often emerge in late Spring and may be active all Summer. Adult ticks are most active in the early Spring, even February and March, and the late Autumn. Larvae and Nymphs seek and are carried and spread by mice, rabbits, opossums, raccoons, even birds and lizzards. Adults target larger mammalsincluding dogs, foxes, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, cattle, horses and of course deer/ Between them, these reprehensible parasites carry a large number of infectious diseases including Lyme Disease, tick paralysis, fevers caused by different species of Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and Rickettsia, and more blood diseases caused by Babesia & Cytauxzoon Felis.


Please be aware that the relatively new and uncommon Powassan virus has spread to New York, is carried by Deer Ticks, and causes acute, rapidly fatal disease in humans. Furthermore, the Lone Star Tick is causing some human victims to develop a severe, life threatening allergy to meat, with a visit to the emergency room 3-6 hours after eating beef, pork or lamb. 


To avoid these repulsive creatures, firstly, avoid wooded areas, think underbrushy long grass and bushes, especially where wildlife has free access. Humans visiting such areas should wear pants tucked into socks, use tick repellent on skin and clothing, and check themselves carefully on returning home. Dogs should be protected with flea and tick killing products. The newest of these, NexGard and Bravecto, are pills, given 1 and 3 months apart respectively. Frontline and K9Advantix are topical solutions applied monthy to the skin. Seresto is an impregnated collar that lasts 8 months. For cats, only Frontline and the Seresto collar are appropriate.

To Control Ticks On Your Property 

1) Acaricide sprays can be effective in reducing tick populations, ie Bayer Advanced Garden Power Force Multi insect killer. A single application to the perimeter of the property at the end of may or early June can reduce tick populations by 70-100% for the rest of the year. It is necessary to spray open lawns.

2) Remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush from around homes and at the edges of lawns. Mow the lawn and repeat frequently.

3) Place wood chips or gravel between wooded areas and lawns.

4) Keep the ground under bird feeders clean.

5) Stack wood neatly in dry areas.

6) Do not feed wild animals including deer on the property; it may be necessary to construct barriers to keep deer out.


Removing Ticks From Cats And Dogs

It is important to remove the entire tick from the skin, including the mouthpart. An embedded tick can be carefully removed with tweezers, but it is much easier to use a specific device such as the “Tick-Off” spoon. Do not remove ticks with your fingers or play with matches!

If you believe your dog or cat has been exposed to ticks and have and questions, don’t hesitate to call us! 


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