The country life: fields of corn growing in the sun as a warm breeze stirs. Cows leisurely chewing, chewing, chewing, as they rest under the shade of maple trees. Lazy bees navigating a crooked path from flower to flower. A drowsy cat resting in an open window. A dog licking ice cream drips from a toddler’s knees. A teensy tick burrowing under the skin of a few-weeks-old kitten: hardly the bucolic image of a warm day in May.
But pet parents should include tick checks for pets on a routine basis. On a human it’s relatively easy, compared to sorting through your pet’s fur. Ticks can attach to some awkward places, so it can get a little warped hunting them down. But you’d better prepare yourself, because tick season has arrived.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends you:
— Check your pet for ticks daily. Make it a habit after spending time outdoors.
— If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away.
— Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam.
— Talk to your veterinarian about tickborne diseases in your area.
— Reduce tick habitat in your yard.
— Use a tick preventative on your dogs and outdoor cats. Talk with your veterinarian.
— Cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals. Do not apply any insect acaricides or repellents to your cats without first consulting your veterinarian!
Diseases in the Northeastern U.S. that are tick-borne include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
The Centers for Disease Control Web site has information about ticks and their control, including instructions for removing ticks safely and preventing their return.
As for me, I’m ready for battle now – armed with a flea comb, magnifying glass, and tweezers.