Protect Your Dog (and Yourself) from Ticks

Oskee and Dr. Drew Sullivan

Over the past few months, ticks and tick-borne diseases have been all over the news. This year is supposed to be a very bad year for ticks as we had a very mild winter. Do your part to help keep your dogs safe. In protecting your dogs, you are also protecting yourself.

Ticks are small arachnids, belonging to the same class as spiders, scorpions, and mites. Ticks are parasites that rely on blood from other animals for survival. Unlike fleas, who rarely leave their host, ticks will have a blood meal and then drop off and wait for their next host. You could be the next meal for the ticks your dog brings into your yard or even indoors.

In the Chicago area, there are four main types of ticks: brown dog tick, blacklegged tick (deer tick), Lone Star tick, and American dog tick. These ticks are known to spread diseases such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Ehrlichia. These diseases can present with anemia, bleeding disorders, lethargy, loss of appetite, weakness, joint swelling, and limping.

Dogs typically do not get the target skin lesions seen in people infected with Lyme disease, so dogs’ tick bites often go unnoticed. If your dog has had previous tick exposure or if your pet is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, we recommend having your pet examined and screened for tick-borne diseases.

To protect your dog, there are multiple options on the market. Unfortunately, there is not a single product that protects again heartworms, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites, so we recommend all our clients use two products for complete protection.

For tick protection, there are topical products, chewable products, and collars on the market. Here at Medical District Veterinary Clinic our most popular tick preventative is NexGard. It is a chewable labeled to kill all four types of ticks as well as kill fleas. If your dog doesn’t take oral chews or if you prefer a topical, we carry the new and improved Frontline Gold.

Both these products are currently buy 3 get 1 free, so it is cheaper to purchase them from us compared to online retailers. Give us a call today to get your dog protected.

If you have cats that need to be protected, ask us for a recommendation because many of the tick preventatives on the market for dogs are toxic to cats. Never use a dog product on your cats. We would be happy to discuss a safe, effective tick preventative for your cat.

Drew Sullivan, DVM, Director
Medical District Veterinary Clinic

Pictured above are Oskee and Dr. Sullivan, who enjoy running in the woods together.