Warmer days at Cornerstone Animal Hospital means 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 are 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. ” Some of the following list may also be transmitted to humans (not all inclusive).
In Missouri the following diseases are known to spread to our pets by ticks:
• Lymes 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 of which their caretakers are unaware. 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 2018 recommendation for tick control are:
1. Bravecto- this product of choice is a three month chewable (topical for cats) that works effectively for dogs and cats over 6 months of age.
2. Nexgard- dogs only, 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- Topical product of choice which is approved for cats, 8 weeks to 6 months. At 6 months of age, cats should 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.