Winter is approaching, well, sort of, but it is still very important to keep your animals on flea/tick prevention! Certain ticks, such as the Blacklegged or Deer tick, survives well-below freezing temperatures by hiding in homes, piles of leaves, and on their hosts. They are extremely common in Oklahoma (see map below) and cause some nasty tick diseases.
This map shows the prevalence of the Blacklegged tick in the US. Most of Oklahoma is in the danger zone.
Why do we care so much about the blacklegged tick?
This tick, in particular, is pretty hazardous for our pets. They commonly carry a tick-borne disease called Ehrlichiosis. It is quite the mouthful but is extremely common in our area.
This map shows the percent of cases of Ehrlichiosis we see in Oklahoma. Every year we are in the worst possible prevalence category.
What does Ehrlichiosis do?
Canine Ehrlichiosis causes a variety of symptoms. The symptoms typically show up within a few weeks to a month later. They start mild, a little fever, not being as hungry as usual, not a big deal. They quickly develop into not eating with or without vomiting/diarrhea, painful arthritis, and lethargy.
What can you do to prevent tick dieases?
The absolute best way to prevent ticks and tick diseases is to use a quality tick preventative. Our personal favortie is Simparica Trio because it prevents ticks, fleas, AND heartworms. However there are several other good products as well. We would be happy to discuss your options.
Spraying your yard and house are also great ways to prevent ticks from infesting. Checking your animals when they come inside is an invaluable tool to prevent ticks from latching on long enough to transmit a disease. See below for common places ticks like to hide on your pet.