4 Ways to Protect Your Pet from Tick-borne Diseases

Let’s make it a mission to keep those nasty ticks off your pet this year! Preventing ticks may or may not be something you put thought into when it comes to your pet, but a little prevention can go a long way in keeping your pet healthy and comfortable. Here are 4 ways to keep your pet safe from ticks and tick-borne diseases.

1. Use broad spectrum prevention every 30 days.
“Broad spectrum” is just a fancy phrase for using prevention that helps knock out more than one variety of pests. Most tick prevention does double duty and keeps fleas away as well. Simparica is one of those medications. These products reduce the risk of Lyme disease transmission, each in their own special way. And because all pets are different, we recommend consulting with our veterinarians to choose the best preventive method for your pet based on his or her lifestyle. Please note, tick prevention products intended for dogs ARE NOT safe for cats.

2. Get a Lyme vaccine for your dog.
While broad spectrum prevention does do wonders for pets at risk for getting bitten by ticks, it is not 100% effective in preventing the actual disease that comes from a tick bite (if the tick is carrying bacteria). A Lyme vaccine is an extra level of protection for dogs in areas with a high tick rates. If you take your dog to areas with tall grasses, thick brush, marshes or woods, a Lyme vaccine could be a good option for your dog. VIP Petcare clinics offer these vaccines. Remember, a booster is required the first time your pet is vaccinated for Lyme.

A Lyme vaccine has not been developed for cats at this time, so to provide protection for your cat we recommend giving them a monthly broad spectrum preventive.

3. If your pet spends time outdoors, check them daily for ticks.
After a nice hike in the woods, time out in the meadows, or even after playing in your own backyard, check your pet for ticks before they go inside. Pay close attention to the head/chin, ears, shoulders, armpits, groin and upper leg areas. If you see a tick on your pet remove it promptly so the tick has less of a chance of passing on disease. Cats should be checked as well. Remember, ticks are a risk to humans as well and pets can bring them in to your home.

4. Get your dog tested.
A simple blood test can detect the presence of Lyme disease and other common tick-borne diseases in your dog, such as ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. We do not offer testing for cats at this time. Cats are unlikely to get Lyme disease, but can get other tick-borne diseases, so monthly tick prevention should be given to your cat to keep them safe.

Our veterinarians will be happy to answer any questions you have about Lyme disease during your visit to a clinic. If you have questions, feel free to visit our staff at a Community Clinic or Wellness Center near you.