Ticks, This Vampire May Be Right at Your Feet
Many pet owners who have watched the American drama "House M.D." pay attention to two cases in particular.
One case sees a 16-year-old boy undergo reconstruction surgery to correct a severe facial deformity in the hospital. Complication arise when the patient suffers from cardiac arrest on the operating table. He experiences various symptoms including skin poisoning, vomiting, liver failure, intracranial hypertension, and was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease, with eventual rescue.
The other episode sees a girl experiencing post-surgery allergies after undergoing a heart transplant. She felt suffocated while chatting with her boyfriend and was taken immediately to the hospital. Investigation unveiled damage to the immune system, drug allergies, sudden heart failure, physical paralysis and respiratory paralysis.
In an extremely urgent situation, House unscrupulously found ticks hidden in the girl's body with consequential diagnosis of tick paralysis, allowing for swift treatment and rescue.
Why do these two cases capture the attention of pet owners? The common cause of the afflicted disease is caused by the same bug-- ticks.
These dramatized episodes are extreme cases in humans and are relatively rare, but ticks are indeed a common threat to cats and dogs at home!
Victims of pets:
Common tick species:
Ticks expand up to 20 times their original size after sucking blood.
How fast / large can ticks grow? Understanding visually:
How serious are tick bites?
Ticks parasitize most living mammals including humans, cats, and dogs, sucking blood from their surfaces. Toxins are released simultaneously, causing pain, dermatitis, anemia, weight loss, paralysis, and in extreme cases, cause serious health problems such as tick-borne encephalitis, Lyme disease, and Babesia.
Lyme disease may lead to localized erythema and pimples on the skin of the patient, gradually developing into round skin lesions, accompanied by symptoms such as headache, fever, and muscle and joint pain. If not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, it may lead to neuritis, chronic atrophic myoedermatitis, etc., and pose a threat to heart health. Various accompanying symptoms may manifest throughout the course of the patient’s life if not treated.
Famous singer Avril Lavigne also suffered from Lyme disease. In five years of fighting against Lyme disease, her career and life were seriously affected.
How do ticks get to cats and dogs?
Ticks are two main categories of ticks, soft ticks and hard ticks. Among them, hard ticks usually hide in plants during the daytime and use their special mouthparts to penetrate the skin of passing dogs, cats and even humans.
Soft ticks living in animal nests or crevices wait for the night to suck blood as a vampire would. Due to the small size of ticks (it may be only 2mm when no blood is sucked), pet owners may be confused as to why there are no visible signs of these parasites due their miniscule size and nocturnal feeding.
Where do ticks usually bite?
Nowhere is safe, the whole body (even humans) are a buffet dinner for tick bites. Affected areas are normally in the neck and head area.
Precaution For pet
- The key to preventing tick-borne diseases in pets is to stop ticks stickingto their body, or to quickly kill / remove upper body ticks before they can spread the pathogen.
- Preventive deworming regularly, both drops,and oral medicines are Introducing a drug concentration in the sebaceous glands will kill / repel ticks;
- Dropsand oral medications are distributed in the sebaceous glands, ticks will be killed/expelled after pets are touched or bitten by ticks. Drops and oral medications do not prevent ticks from crawling onto animals. The recommended preventive measures are as follows:
Cats: Avoid outdoor keeping of household cats, and try to keep them strictly indoors;
Dogs: Use a dog leash when going out to avoid playing in the grass, trees, and contact with stray animals in the wild that may be infected.
If you cannot avoid your cat or dog encountering grass and trees, it’s recommended:
1. Use a spray containing non-pironi (such as Flynn) to spray the legs, feet, lower abdomen, head and other exposed body parts before going out (note: except under special circumstances, it cannot be used for cats);
2. Try to stay away from areas with thick grass and dead leaves;
3. After going out, thoroughly check the whole body of your pet before going home.
Some of you may ask:
Are tick sprays the only solution, can I use drops instead? Is oral medicine useful?
These drugs can be used for the prevention and treatment of ticks. However, due to different mechanisms of action, ticks will not be killed or expelled until they start to suck blood and come into contact with the drug. Drops and oral medications tend to be suited for daily regular use to maintain their effectiveness in the sebaceous glands.
Sprays have an immediate effect, they are intended for single use prevention, supporting the use of regular deworming.
Precaution For Human
When playing in wild and urban green environment, especially after rain, try to wear light-colored tight-fitting long pants and trousers instead of shorts and short skirts. Thoroughly check your whole body before entering your home.
What to do if I find ticks on my pet?
The best method is to go directly to the vet for treatment. Do not simply remove or crush the visible ticks by hand, The stimulation of forced tick removal will increase their saliva or harmful contents in the digestive tract, increasing the risk of infection. Tick bites need to be strategically remove without forcibly dislodging the bites that have been lodged to the skin surface.
If an immediate visit to the vet is not possible, handling tick bites at home is possible, but consultation over the phone for advice and direction from a vet is essential.
** Even with tweezers, forceful removal will cause the tick mouthparts to break, remaining in or tearing the skin, causing inflammation!
This is a gadget that specializes in pulling ticks
Thoroughly disinfect pet wounds after removing ticks, soak and seal ticks in alcohol to kill them. Do not throw away immediately, in case your pet has a harmful reaction, the offending tick can be taken to the veterinarian, which will help to make a definitive diagnosis. Always observe your pet’s response.
Usually tick-borne diseases have an incubation period of 3-30 days. After removing ticks that are visible to the naked eye, use of drops, oral medications, systemic sprays or medicated baths as soon as possible for systemic deworming are recommended.
Ticks do not suck blood immediately after latching on to an animal. It takes 4-6 hours to find a suitable blood-sucking site, so body spray or medicated baths are effective ways to instantly kill body ticks; Some drops or sprays can quickly enter blood circulation to reach an effective blood drug concentration before the tick starts to suck blood.
It’s worth remembering that deworming medicines such as dimethypam in medicated baths are usually more toxic and need to be handled with caution in hospitals. Cats are not allowed to use dimethypam.
After removing the ticks, observe whether there are similar red spots on the pet’s skin surface.
Don’t hesitate to act once you find a sore red spot on your pets’ body or any of the following suspected symptoms!
Symptoms of tick infection in pets:
- Increased/irregular body temperature
- Loss ofappetite
- Persistent cough
- Pain in body parts
- Skin infections
- Pale oral mucosa
Immediately seek medical attention at your local vet.
Spring, summer and autumn are tick-prone seasons. Their threat to the health of cats and dogs cannot be underestimated, and may even affect the health of family members and friends living together. Parents must be vigilant!
Giving freedom to the outdoors is wonderful for your pet but the threat of a vampire tick invasion is not to be taken lightly, every exposure in the outdoors increases the likelihood for a tick infestation. If your animal is kept indoors the risks are reduced significantly but ticks latch onto humans too and constant surveillance is required to remedy the situation should one arise.
Regular Deworming is key! Prevention is above all else!