Dog scratching themselves behind their ear

Fleas are a small blood-sucking parasite that can infect both cats and dogs. They cause extreme pruritus or itching and, in extreme circumstances, can cause severe rashes. Luckily, these can easily be treated with medication.

Deer ticks are highly prevalent in the country, specifically in the Oakbank and Bird’s Hill area, and may spread multiple diseases including Lyme’s disease. Ticks are very hardy creatures and are present in the environment once it is consistently above 4°C. Dogs will begin to develop clinical signs such as lethargy, inappetence, sore joints and fever 2 to 5 months after being bitten by an infected tick. Tick-borne diseases are tested via an in-hospital blood test. When caught early, it can be treated with a targeted antibiotic. If left untreated, it may eventually cause damage to vital internal organs. At Oakbank Animal Hospital, we highly recommend seasonal oral or topical tick prevention for dogs who have an at-risk lifestyle.

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How can I tell if my dog has fleas or ticks?

Fleas can sometimes be tricky to spot because not all dogs will react the same to them. If your dog has fleas, you may notice several small black flecks throughout their fur known as the “flea dirt” which is, in fact, the flea’s feces.

Ticks can be found just about anywhere on the body. If seen, you can grasp the tick as close to the dogs’ body as possible and pull out with firm constant tension. Ensure the entire tick has been removed. Ticks do not always stay attached to one dog or one site until they are fully engorged; as such, they can be easily be missed if they fall off early.

How can I prevent fleas and ticks on my dog?

Fleas and ticks can both be avoided with preventative medication.

What are the treatment options for dogs who have ticks?

The most effective, safe and proven preventative option for dogs is with oral chewable pills. Treatment for dogs who test positive for a tick-borne disease is specific to the type of disease and the severity.

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