Warmer days mean that we are seeing an increase in the number of ticks presenting themselves on pets. Nearly every dog and cat living in the Joplin area is exposed to ticks. Tick bites are itchy, painful, and inflamed areas that usually persist up to a month. It is critical that pet owners be aware of the number of diseases that can potentially be transmitted to their pets by ticks. The University of Missouri Extension Service says, “Ticks are the most important vectors (transmitters) of disease in domestic and wild animals throughout the world and are second only to mosquitoes as transmitters of human disease.”
In Missouri the following diseases are known to spread to our pets by ticks:
• Lyme Disease
• Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
• Coon Hound Paralysis
• Tick Bite Anemia
• Cytauxzoonosis (Cats only but a major problem in southwest Missouri)
Not every tick is a carrier of all these diseases. Unfortunately, many of our pets suffer from bites which their caretakers are unaware of. Tick size varies with species and age. Seed ticks are nymphal stages which go completely unnoticed in the haircoat of our pets, yet may still transmit disease. Such ticks transmit thousands of diseases annually. Special tests are required for diagnosis. Therefore, many more diseases go undiagnosed, untreated, or misdiagnosed, leading to incorrect treatment and persistence of disease.
Cornerstone Animal Hospital’s recommendation for tick control:
1. Bravecto for dogs and cats- This product of choice is a three month chewable for dogs and a topical for cats over 6 months of age.
2. Nexgard- Dogs only, this is a monthly chewable product that is equally effective as Bravecto. Nexgard is approved for puppies at 8 weeks of age. This is the product of choice for dogs too young for Bravecto. It my be used as an adjunct with Bravecto in some cases where tick loads are high.
3. Revolution Plus- A topical product of choice which is approved for cats, 8 weeks to 6 months. At 6 months of age, cats may be switched to Bravecto.
All of these products have a manufacturers’ satisfaction guarantee when purchased from your local veterinarian. Guarantee does not apply to online purchases from any source.