Thursday, June 8, 2017

Keep Your Family and Pet Safe From Ticks

Ticks, ticks disease

Ticks bring disease to people and pets, they pose great risk to human health and your pets. There are a sudden upsurge in reported tick cases this year. As of June 1, there have been 2,162 positive cases of Lyme disease in 2017. According to experts the sudden upsurge is caused by the unusually mild winter. There are a lot of tall grass for them to hide in, it's rainy and wet.

A tick bite is no cause for panic. But if you get bitten you must be vigilant for the onset of illness. Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever get the headlines, but there seems to be no end to the litany of tick pathogens. Almost all can be effectively addressed with prompt medical treatment.

Outdoor cats are most at risk for contracting tick-borne diseases, but all animals are at risk, especially those with fur. Ticks are among the more dangerous pests.

There are ways to tell if your pet does have a tick but prevention is key to avoiding these problems. Over the counter collars and topical preventatives are the classic ways of preventing ticks on your pets, but chewables are a newer alternative option.

While Lyme disease is the most commonly known tick-borne illness, there are other diseases that ticks can spread as well. Signs to watch for are vague flu-like symptoms, fever, and lethargy.

If you find ticks on your pets use a tick key or tweezers, to aid with removal and avoid disease. Make sure that it is removed with the body. Applying oils or a freshly blown-out match is not necessary or recommended.

It is also helpful to take a picture of the tick just before removal, for medical purposes. Removal should not be delayed to go find a cell phone or camera. If you do get sick, you can show the picture to the doctors, and they can get a better idea about what disease you might have.

Prevention is possible through use of insect repellent containing DEET.

Other diseases known to be carried by ticks include:

- Tick paralysis which can be caused by an allergic reaction to tick saliva, paralysis progresses and can lead to death in as little as 24 hours. But if the tick is removed, symptoms usually clear. If a person displays unexplained symptoms of paralysis, seek medical treatment and check for ticks immediately.

- Human granulocytic anaplasmosis is a disease recently linked to ticks. It has flu-like symptoms, but there is usually no rash.

- Human monocytic ehrlichiosis is carried by the Lone Star tick and displays fever, joint pain, headache, eye pain, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite, but rashes are rare. Some patients are hospitalized.

- Heartland virus is a rare disease linked to the Lone Star tick. In the first 10 cases reported, there were two fatalities. Symptoms are similar to monocytic ehrlichiosis, but because the disease is caused by a virus, antibiotic treatments are not effective.

- Tularemia can be contracted by handling infected rabbit carcasses or drinking contaminated water, but it is usually transmitted by ticks. It is rare, with cases usually numbering less than 200 per year. Flu-like symptoms may improve, then return with localized lesions after a couple of weeks. Breathing can become difficult.

- Southern tick-associated rash illness results in the same initial symptoms and bullseye rash as Lyme disease, but is not accompanied by the long-term risks.

- The alpha-gal allergy - a reaction to the ingestion of red mammal meat - has recently been linked to the Lone Star tick in the U.S. Respiratory distress occurs three to eight hours after eating read meat in 70 percent of those afflicted. The alpha-gal carbohydrate is present in all mammals but apes and humans. If a tick bites another animal, then bites a person allergic to the carbohydrate, symptoms can manifest.

Damminix 27203 Tick Tube, 24-Pack $79.00
Thermacell TC-24 Tick Control Tubes, 24-Count $74.99
Adventure Medical Kits Tick Nipper $11.25
Repel HG-94138 Tick Defense Unscented Aerosol-6.5 ounce 
Merial Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control for 45 to 88-Pound Dogs and Puppies, 3-Doses $34.19

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