Arts & Life
8:45 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Ticks

Ticks are more than just a nuisance; they can be a threat to the health and well-being of both animals and humans. 

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The poet Ogden Nash said, "God in His wisdom made the fly and then forgot to tell us why."

Sometimes I wonder the same thing about ticks, those pesky critters that seem to plague our pets – and us, as well.

While fleas are bothersome because there are so many of them, ticks can cause serious health problems.

They can transmit diseases to our pets, including Lyme disease and Rock Mountain Spotted Fever.

Tick paralysis can be caused by a toxin injected by a female tick when she bites.

We learned about that when we came home to find our dog unable to walk. We thought she had suffered a stroke, and rushed her to the veterinarian. He calmly and methodically searched her body until finally he found the tick and removed it. She was almost fully recovered within twenty-four hours, but could have died had the tick not been removed.

The first step to protecting your pet is to get rid of any ticks in residence and keep them away.

You can find a variety of products that will combat ticks, including dusts and sprays, and tick collars. Many topical treatments for fleas also contain tick preventatives.

Your veterinarian can advise you about which product is likely to work best in your area and for your type of pet.

Keep in mind that the tick population still exists outside your door. Unlike fleas, ticks cannot jump, but they can climb. They like to find their way up tall grass, like monkey grass, and wait for a tasty host to come by so they can climb aboard.

We have found that using a product for outdoor use that is dispensed by attaching it to a water hose has been very effective in reducing the tick problem in our yard. Read the label to make sure that whatever you use is safe for pets.

Even so, we keep our cats indoors. Dogs and any other pets that go outdoors still should be checked regularly for the presence of ticks, even when using a tick prevention product.

The tick population is reportedly booming after the mild winter we had, so keeping ticks away from you and your best friend will help both of you stay safe, protected and healthy, when you're speaking of pets.

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