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FOLEY BLVD. ANIMAL HOSPITAL

Flea and Tick Prevention

Ticks

Minnesota is Heaven for Ticks!

There are three main species of ticks present in Minnesota—Dermacentor (American dog tick), Ixodes (deer tick or blacklegged tick), and Rhipicephalus (brown dog tick). They are commonly found in grassy areas, forests, and trails. A dog can also pick up ticks in a wooded back yard or during a walk in the park. Any dog can be affected— even long hair does not provide protection. Therefore, during spring, summer, and fall months, all dogs should be on an adequate tick preventive product.

Ticks are more than just a nuisance for you and your dog. More importantly to your dog's health, ticks frequently spread diseases. All three kinds of ticks can carry disease, but the biggest culprit in our area is the deer tick. These ticks are so tiny that they can attach to your dog and spread infection before they are even noticed. The two most common tick-borne diseases in the Twin Cities are Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. These diseases can cause some severe illnesses and, in the case of Lyme disease, can be the cause of kidney failure and death. Fortunately, we can screen for each of these diseases and several more with our 4DX Plus Heartworm-tick-borne disease panel. We recommend this test yearly to discover infection early in the disease process before there is long-term illness.

There are many flea and tick products available to the consumer—some are highly recommended and others leave much to be desired. At Foley Blvd Animal Hospital, we do not recommend using any over-the-counter flea and tick treatments. They can be ineffective at best and toxic or harmful to some pets at worst. Our veterinarians will have a specific recommendation of a product that can kill the ticks before they pass on disease.

Please check your dog for ticks daily. You can do this by feeling all over your dog for small lumps on its skin. The ticks can be variably-sized once they begin to feed. Once you determine that the lump you have found is a tick, you can remove it by grasping the base of the head with a tweezers and pulling straight out. For more information about removing ticks, please visit http://www.dogsandticks.com/protect_your_pet/remove_ticks.php

Fleas

Fleas are found in almost all parts of the country including here in Minnesota. Signs of fleas include intense itching with red skin and hair loss. Adult fleas can sometimes be seen crawling on the animal. Often the only external sign of the fleas is flea dirt on the coat—more apparent in light-colored animals than on those with dark coats. Flea dirt (actually digested blood) can be distinguished from regular dirt by placing a small piece on a while background and adding water. Flea dirt will begin to dissolve back into a reddish color.

No one wants to deal with fleas in their house, but fortunately there are now many excellent treatment options on the market. Treatment of active flea infestation can be accomplished with several types of products and environmental control. Please keep in mind that all animals in the house need to be treated, or treatment will be ineffective. Our current recommendations include oral medications and topical products, which can be used together to improve results. Our veterinarians will have specific recommendations for your situation.