Ticks, ticks and ticks…
Ticks are eight legged little buggers that attach to a host and suck blood for feeding and to advance to their next life-stage. In their habitat, they climb up on stalks of grass and shrubs and stick out their front legs waiting for a host to pass along (called questing), they then grab hold and start looking for a place to start feeding. Dogs are very susceptible to ticks as they are constantly brushing against grass and shrubs.
Checking with our Veterinarian team for your pets best treatment options is recommended as there are several options.
When hiking, it is a good idea to inspect and comb your dog before entering the car. If not, you can bring ticks home and infect your household.
If your pet (or you) does get a tick, do not use the old wives remedies of a lit match, WD40, toe nail polish and such. The best way to remove a tick is by firmly grasping the tick’s mouthparts at the skin with tweezers, and pulling straight out. A “Pro-Tick” removal tool works as well (available at REI). Be sure to wash your hands with soap and the use antiseptic on the bite area afterwards. Be careful trying to “dig” out the head if the body becomes detached, this can result an increased risk of infection. It is always good to have the Vet check out the wound, especially if the tick breaks.
A common thought is that ticks die in winter, they do not. They just become inactive and dig into the foliage. When it warms up, they become active again.
Ticks, in particular, the Western Black-Legged Tick, (two-thirds the size of the more common Wood, or “dog”, tick), can carry Lyme disease. It is not that common in Oregon, but there are established cases on record. If you suspect any infection, see our Vet.
(Information on Lyme Disease can be found at oregonvma.org/care-health/lyme-disease)