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Spring is finally making its entrance people are spending more time outside with their pets. It is often during this time of the year that pet parents start thinking about tick preventive options, but the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) wants pet owners to know that only providing tick prevention during the warmer months is not enough.

"Is there a season of the year where you don't need to worry about ticks? The answer is no," says WMA Member, Dr. Ed Loebach. "Your dog may not need tick control every day, but they need it every month."  tick

Ticks are most active on days where the temperature ranges from 40-70 degrees and there is moisture, which is why there is an increase in ticks in Spring and Fall. However, while there are fewer ticks in the dead of winter, the adult deer tick will be actively feeding during days when the high temperature trends over freezing, potentially exposing your dog to infection with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

And remember that ticks have three life stages; larva, nymph and adult. These stages will be active at different times of year for each of the four species of ticks common to Wisconsin. It is usually during the adult stage that you will find a tick on your dog. During the larval and nymph stages, ticks are often small enough to go unnoticed on a well-haired dog...but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

So what should you do if you find a tick on your dog?

"The best way to remove a tick that is attached is to grasp it as close to the skin as possible and pull straight back with steady, gentle pressure," says Dr. Loebach.
Don't squeeze the body, he warns, as it may force infection into your pet. Also, don't cover them in Vaseline as the tick could "vomit" from stress and transfer an infection. You also should never burn the ticks with lighters or cigarettes.

When deciding on the right tick preventive option, talk with your veterinarian and see what type of product they would recommend. They will already have taken into consideration the efficiency, safety, ease of use and value of different products.

During the decision process, the number one question to ask yourself is 'Which product am I most likely to use the highest number of months throughout the year?'.

"If you don't like the application process or residues of topical products, then I would recommend oral," says Dr. Loebach. "The product that works the best is the product that the dog owner is going to use most consistently."

If you have any question on which tick preventive option would be best for your pet, contact your local WVMA member veterinarian. To find a clinic near you, visit www.wvma.org/findaclinic.

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Madison, WI 53718
Phone: (608) 257-3665
Fax: (608) 257-8989
Email: wvma@wvma.org

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