Fleas and Ticks
Ticks are annoying and stupid. When one tick is found, there are likely other ticks elsewhere on the body. Do a thorough exam throughout the entire surface area of the dogs skin/fur when a tick is found! Ticks frequently latch on around the neck, head, behind the ears, and even inside the ears.
Ticks can carry many infectious diseases such as bacterial diseases Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and transmission can occur as soon as 24 hours within latching on to the dog. These are not common in Central Texas, but precautions should always be taken to reduce likelihood of disease transmission from the tick the the puppy.
It is important to remove the tick carefully and properly, as bacterial diseases can be transmitted faster than if the tick stayed latched on if done wrong. The following [edited] protocol was provided by PetMD.com
- Step 1: Put on your gloves. Ticks carry infectious agents that can seep into a human’s bloodstream through breaks in the skin. It’s better to play it safe and wear protective gear.
- Step 2: Position your tweezers. Take a pair of tweezers or hemostats and grab hold of the tick as close to the dog’s skin as possible. Be careful not to pinch the skin.
- Step 3: Pull out the tick. Using steady pressure, pull the tick out using a straight motion. Do not twist or jerk the tick because you want to avoid leaving the tick’s mouthparts behind. Also, make sure not to squeeze or crush the tick, since its fluids may contain infectious material. After removing the tick, examine it to make sure the head and mouthparts were removed.
- Step 4: Kill the tick. Kill the tick by placing it in a container with rubbing alcohol. Once the tick is dead, most veterinarians recommend keeping it in the container with a lid in case your pet begins displaying symptoms of disease.
- Step 5: Disinfect the bite site. Use alcohol spray or wipes to disinfect the bite site and keep an eye on it for signs of infection. Note on the chart the site where the tick was removed, so other volunteers and the doctors can monitor the site.
All animals should be treated with flea preventative on intake. Parvo intakes can be treated preventatively after they leave the ICU or as needed if fleas are seen.
Fleas are generally only a nuisance (and uncomfortable!), however, severe flea infestations can result in anemia, especially in smaller patients and puppies.