Prevention is key to protect both owner's and pets.

General Information
If you have pets that go outside you will want to start with looking at our Prevention Tab under the heading Yard.  Dogs, Cats, animals that go outside are at the highest risk in coming in contact with ticks and tickborn disease. 

  1.  Keep in mind to treat bedding, stalls, sleeping areas, blankets that pets sleep on and use outside or inside you're home.
  2.  If you're walking you're dog outside with you're prevention products applied, please do you're tick checks for you and you're pet before you go inside.  You want to prevent any ticks from delatching from you're pet and getting into you're home.  As with most pets they sleep with us.  You don't want ticks on you're bedding and biting you.
  3.  In the last couple of years, new pet products for tick/flea prevention have been made available to the public since certain products have stopped being affective like Frontline.  Please talk to you're vet about these new more effective choices.
  4.  Please keep in mind what you can give to dog, you cannot give to a cat.  All labels and directions need to be read before application.
  5.  There is a Lyme Vaccination for Dogs but not for cats.  And keep in mind ticks carry several pathogens other than Lyme that can make you're pets sick.
  6.  If you adopt any animals, make sure you know if they have been exposed to ticks/tickborn disease at any time.  Their health after exposure will need to be monitored.
  7.  Make sure you have you're MLDSE tick spoon with you so if you do find any ticks on you're pets you can remove the whole tick easily.  Directions on removal are restated below. 
  8.  Most sites suggest brushing pets thoroughly and often to look for ticks that may have been missed.    

How to Remove a Tick

To remove an attached tick, use a tick spoon or fine tipped tweezers. These special devices allow one to remove the tick without squeezing the tick body. This is important as you do not want to crush or twist the tick and force harmful bacteria to leave the tick and enter your pet's bloodstream.
  1. Grab the tick by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin. Do not grasp the tick by the body.
  2. Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward. Do not twist the tick as you are pulling.
  3. Using methods such as applying petroleum jelly, a hot match, or alcohol will NOT cause the tick to 'back out.' In fact, these irritants may cause the tick to deposit more disease-carrying saliva in the wound.
  4. After removing the tick, place it in a jar of alcohol to kill it. Ticks are NOT killed by flushing them down the toilet.
  5. Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant. If you want to, apply a small amount of a triple antibiotic ointment.
  6. Wash your hands thoroughly.
Please do not use your fingers to remove or dispose of the tick. We do not want you in contact with a potentially disease-carrying tick. Do NOT squash the tick with your fingers. The contents of the tick can transmit disease. Once an embedded tick is manually removed, it is not uncommon for a welt and skin reaction to occur. A little hydrocortisone spray will help alleviate the irritation (make sure the product is safe for cats), but it may take a week or more for healing to take place. In some cases, the tick bite may permanently scar leaving a hairless area. This skin irritation is due to a reaction to tick saliva. 

Tick spoon use on a human.   Tickspoon use on an animal.


What are the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs? 

Lyme disease is unfortunately a fairly common canine disease. Symptoms can include fever, reduced energy, and lameness.

Typical symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced energy
  • Lameness (can be shifting, intermittent, and recurring)
  • Generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain
  • Swelling of joints
Symptoms can progress to kidney failure, which can be fatal. Serious cardiac and neurological effects can also occur.  If you suspect you're dog has Lyme Disease or another tickborn illness please talk to you're veterinarian immediately.  Dogs need specific blood tests, medications and treatment. 
Ticks can also carry several other less common but serious bacterial diseases affecting dogs, including anaplasmosis and babesiosis.  Anaplasmosis can involve symptoms similar to those for Lyme disease. Babesiosis can present with a wide range of symptoms, from sudden and severe shock, high fever, and dark urine to a slowly progressing infection with more subtle clinical signs. Diagnosis of both diseases includes blood tests similar to those used to check for Lyme disease.


What are some of the symptoms of tickborn diseases in Cats?
Stiff and swollen joints, lethargy, diminished appetite, and fever are among the salient clinical signs of countless feline health disorders. In the warmer months of the year, these signs may indicate that a cat has been bitten by a tick—or a whole lot of ticks—and is in the throes of a serious illness calling for prompt veterinary treatment. 
Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that, if treatment for it is delayed, can lead to extensive joint damage, cardiac complications, kidney failure, and neurologic dysfunction.  Cats seem to be resistant to the bacteria causing Lyme disease and don't always show signs of the disease.  But other tickborn diseases such as hemobartonellosis and the much rarer cytauxzoonosis, as well as tularemia can cause them severe symptoms.  Hemobartonellosis is caused by a bacterial parasite that invades a cat’s red blood cells and fosters development of severe, life-threatening anemia, signs of which are pale gums, lethargy, inappetance and rapid or open mouth breathing.  Cytauxzoonosis  results from infection by a one-celled protozoan parasite that causes severe anemia, fever, lethargy, and breathing difficulties and is usually fatal.  Tularemia, a comparatively uncommon but deadly bacterial infection results in fever, lymph node enlargement and abscess formation. In addition to the diseases noted above, other rare tick-borne disorders—such as ehrlichiosis, and babeseosis, —can affect cats and may cause fever, anemia, lethargy, and inappetance or weight loss.  If you suspect you're cat has been exposed to tickborn disease please bring them into you're vet promply.  Cats need specific blood tests and treatments.

Above all else please talk with your local veterinarian about your pets care regarding tick prevention and tickborne disease.  The resources provided above are to be a guide on pet care but we are not professionals.

Page Sources and Additional Articles

Lyme Disease in Horses

Published Articles on how to Protect Your Pets from Vector Bourne Illness